Revisiting the colors of Christmas: Green

I’m super late this year in getting a tree and other decorations put up, almost to the point that I’m wondering if it’s worth the effort (though I know the answer to that is, “Yes!”).

I originally wrote this post right after the shootings at the elementary school in Newtown, Conn. I needed to read this one again as we reach the winter solstice, the longest night of the year. Perhaps you, too, need to hear the words again?

The color green, especially in winter when so much is gray and brown, reminds us of this jumble of emotions and helps bring us hope that life will bloom again.

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The colors of Christmas: green

“O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree, how lovely are your branches!” If you’ve missed the other posts in this series, you can go back and read all about white Christmases and red poinsettias. But today’s color is one of my favorites: green.

This little green tree decorates the table where we put all our Christmas cards.

This little green tree decorates the table where we put all our Christmas cards.

That green is one of my favorite colors shouldn’t surprise you, given the title of my blog and the fact that I write so frequently about trees. And unless you walk around with blinders on these days, you can’t go far without seeing some green of Christmas: trees, elf costumes, candy wrappers.

There are many conjectures about why green is one of the traditional colors of Christmas. Perhaps it’s because Italy’s flag had green in it. Or maybe the church set Christmas to coincide with pagan winter solstice celebrations, complete with their evergreen trees. Some sources suggest we celebrate with green trees because the German church in the 1300s used pines decorated with red apples to suggest a “paradise tree” in plays about Adam and Eve and the tree in the garden of Eden. Or maybe green is so popularly associated with Christmas because of holly plants, with their green, waxy leaves and bright red berries: Continue reading