So today was the day. I looked forward to it, and didn't look forward to it. Time to take down the tree.
Bringing a tree into the home in the winter is an ages old tradition. "O Tannebaum" does not mean "O Christmas Tree". It means "Sacred Tree". It was believed that evergreen trees were magical. Back-in-the-day, it wasn't understood why some trees lost foliage in autumn and others didn't. Even in this-day, I would guess most people would answer, "well! Because they are evergreens!", if pressed to explain why. Evergreens speak of endurance and perserverance. Magic qualities.
Evergreen trees were brought into the home and decorated with shiny baubles and lit candles in the darkest part of winter to encourage the light to return. And magically, the days began to get longer, the nights shorter. Small gifts were given to show appreciation, not to drive an economy.
I contemplate this as I pull off the ornaments; family Shiny Brights and lots of thin shimmering tinsel (like my Omama did). I always plug my lights on as I un-decorate, the twinkling multi colors delighting me.
I think about how awesome trees are and how honored I am to have "hosted" one in my house. It will go outside and be lashed to the deck to provide additional winter shelter for the birds. In spring, it will be lashed to the compost bin, where a bird will make it's nest. Next autumn it will be part of my first warming fires.
I wandered off in my thoughts, "honoring the return of the light." It doesn't need to stop with the removal of the winter tree. Shine your own light. Send a get well card or maybe a mail a box with some chicken soup and a few packs of ginger tea. Pick up some flowers to give to someone who needs cheered up. Winter can feel like a very long season. No wonder back-in-the-day they knew to appreciate and make magic. Create your own soon! :)