The Christmas fir tree
The tradition of the Christmas fir has its roots in the most varied European cultures: the Celts and the northern populations revered the evergreen conifers, symbol of eternal life, cosmic trees that allow us to communicate with the otherworldly; the ancient Romans used to celebrate the winter solstice using fronds of evergreen plants adorned with bows and colored ribbons; the Teutons used to celebrate the winter solstice by decorating a large fir tree and burning a log of fir wood in the fire.
The ancient populations that lived in Europe have always venerated the evergreen trees, as immortals, and celebrated the winter solstice as a sign of the advancing spring, of the new sun is born; these symbologies have been absorbed by Christianity, which in fact has established to celebrate the birth of Jesus in the period of the winter solstice. Clearly the pagan symbols of the new sun are clearly well assimilable to this important event of Christianity, and we can easily rejoin the meaning of new sun and new light to the figure of Christ.
Ancient Christmas tree traditions
For the ancient traditions it was common to adorn the evergreen plants with fruits, colored ribbons and berries during the winter solstice, as a propitiatory gesture of the new harvest, which would come during the summer, announced by the solstice. From these uses derive the habit of decorating a fir or other conifer with ribbons, colored balls (to symbolize the fruits), flakes.
In reality these ancient customs have been lost over the centuries in most of Europe; they remained mostly in areas inhabited by Germanic peoples. The reintroduction in homes around the world takes place starting from 1700-1800, when the European nobles started again to place sumptuous Christmas trees in their homes.
Only in the 1900s in Italy too the custom of decorating a fir tree in every home took hold; in fact for a long time this custom in our country remains public: only in the great Italian squares were Christmas trees present.
True or fake?
In Europe it is common to grow fir trees and other conifers specifically for use during the Christmas period; we can find whole trees on the market, equipped with roots, or just "tips", or the plant cut to the ground of the soil. In the first case, if we can grow the fir at best, after the Christmas period it will be possible to reposition it; in the second case, instead, our spruce will be ground to make composter.
If we want to prepare a real fir tree for the Christmas holidays, it is advisable to place it outdoors, perhaps on the terrace, so as to be able to keep the plant in the cold, as would occur in nature; placing the Christmas tree at home will surely lead to an excessive suffering of the plant, which therefore cannot survive in any way the Christmas festivities.
Christmas tree: Christmas tree at home
If we place it at home, whether it is a plant with roots or just a point, we remind you that it is essential to keep the plant alive, to avoid losing most of the needles; to do this it is important to place our fir in a large vase, filled with good soil, to keep it slightly damp throughout the Christmas period. Then we place our fir in a little heated room, in any case far from heat sources, possibly near a window; if possible every day we spray the foliage with demineralized water.
If instead we prefer to avoid these inconveniences we will have to equip ourselves with a synthetic tree, which is certainly much less poetic than a real conifer, which in addition to being aesthetically very beautiful, will brighten up the house giving off the typical resinous scent.