Psychology of a Christmas Tree

Psychology of a Christmas Tree

Every year there’s a mental shift that takes place in my mind, when a physical shift takes place in our living room. We have a tradition of trekking out to North Bend, walking through row after row of crisp green evergreens and finally, finally – blurry-eyed because all trees looks EXACTLY THE SAME after you’ve looked at 300 of them– we choose one to chop down, shake, bale and tie to our car. (*I should mention that this year, for the first time ever, the process was shortened significantly due to the virtual SQUALL we rode in on. Aaron essentially pointed to the first tree he saw and began sawing it down, while I nonstop chased Anderson through the mud, almost guaranteeing a round two of his already endless cold. But, I digress.)

THIS is how excited Aaron gets when we go to the tree farm (AKA a rare day out in the country with manly tools):


I, on the other hand, play it cool at all times.


Then we head home, I decorate the tree pretty much entirely by myself, and Aaron contributes to the festive spirit by agreeing to be “tortured” by Christmas music of the 90s pop singer variety.

And then this magical thing happens. This huge, dead, dry, expensive TREE makes its home next to our couch and magazine basket for the next month. I mean, if you really think about it – the whole thing is a pretty funny tradition we Christmas-celebrators have.

The even weirder thing is how deliriously HAPPY it makes people to put plastic lights and other shiny things all over an increasingly dead tree and just sit there and stare at it for a month. I think I might be at risk for whiplash simply from the number of times I’ve already turned to observe our Noble Fir in all its glory while writing this.

So, I don’t know why these dead trees affect us so much, but they do. When my tree is sending the scent of pine wafting through my house and little pinpricks of lights are shining through my windows for these few fragile weeks each year, I feel safer. I feel like life itself is warmer and softer and gentler. Like this tree with 100 balls hanging from it will protect me from all harm, and will force my life to be more profound and meaningful and rose-colored.

And I think because we tend to attach this kind of illogical but really sweet meaning to these enormous green things in our living rooms, it just kind of becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Life tends to be sweeter and slower and more meaningful for these weeks when the Christmas tree moves in.

People need this month. People need these lights, and this slow-down, and these traditions that just ARE. People need pure little joys that they’re not intended to over-think. It all means something uniquely different to each of us. And that’s the beauty, and the magic, of this season.

This was our first Christmas tree in our first little house the year we were married (I know, I know – it’s hard to see it, in such fierce competition with the AWESOME paint colors):


And this is our current tree (please note the all-grown-up neutral color palette):


Merry Christmas, everyone.  Cheers to the mystery behind the things that bring us joy.

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