Differences in Christmas Tree Traditions

Katie Lanham and Michlynn Churchwell

If your family celebrates Christmas, then you are sure to be familiar with the Christmas tree. Although it was originally a pagan tradition, Christians and those who just celebrate the holiday traditionally put up a tree and decorate it to celebrate the holiday season. But really, who needs a reason to decorate? They can be beautiful, and putting up the tree can be a perfect excuse for family time.

At PHS, we have some beautiful trees, and a lot of Pioneers carry that same spirit home with them. Everyone has their own opinions about what the perfect tree looks like, but some traditions overlap. For example, most people agree that it shouldn’t go up before Thanksgiving, but in senior Krescene Holscher’s family, it doesn’t go up until, “the day before the first round of company comes.”

One thing that tends to differ slightly among families is what they choose to top the Christmas tree. Halle Piper and Makinley Bonesteel both have stars atop their trees, and Mr. Ochs did, until the star refused to cooperate and fell off. Some choose angels, and some have less traditional toppers, like Dannika Fulling’s tree, with the red bow on top.

Another difference in family preference is in what kind of tree to decorate. The contrast between real trees and artificial ones is pretty drastic, and there are compelling arguments for both sides. Real trees smell great, but they’re a lot of work, and artificial trees are less messy, but they also can feel less authentic.

Some traditions are unique to individual families. Some families do the tree on the same day every year. Dannika said, “We always listen to Nat King Cole on vinyl.”

Regardless of family traditions, most people have a favorite part of putting up their tree. For some, like Halle and Krescene, the best part is putting on the topper at the end. Mr. Ochs’ favorite part is, “the multicolored lights.” Makinley Bonesteel agrees with Mr. Ochs, and adds that the finished product, “makes the living room feel nice and homey.”

The main concern for some is less the tree itself, and more the presents under it. Traditions vary between families here too. In some houses, presents don’t arrive until Santa Claus does, on Christmas Eve. In Halle Piper’s house, they appear, “about a week before Christmas.”

No matter what your Christmas traditions are, they’re coming up quick! Christmas break is almost upon us, so it’s time to do that last bit of gift shopping. Tis’ the season to be grateful and kind, and to wish each other Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!