Guess what...the tree is a PAGAN SYMBOL, for chris'sake! Jeez, I thought everybody knew that, but perhaps people who routinely condemn the beliefs of others without bothering to actually come to any real understanding of those beliefs just haven't spent much time studying their history...
Anyway, just thought I'd share some interesting bits I found while looking up the origins of the "Christmas" tree:
Pagan traditions: Many Pagan cultures used to cut down evergreen trees in December, moved them into the home or temple and decorated them. Modern-day Pagans still do. This was to recognize the winter solstice -- the time of the year that had the shortest daylight hours, and longest night of the year. This occurs annually sometime between DEC-20 to 23. They noticed that the days were gradually getting shorter; many feared that the sun would eventually disappear forever, and everyone would freeze. But, even though deciduous trees, bushes, and crops died or hibernated for the winter, the evergreen trees remained green. They seemed to have magical powers that enabled them to withstand the rigors of winter. Not having evergreen trees, the ancient Egyptians considered the palm tree to symbolize resurrection. They decorated their homes with its branches during the winter solstice.
"The first decorating of an evergreen tree began with the heathen Greeks and their worship of their god Adonia, who allegedly was brought back to life by the serpent Aessulapius after having been slain."
The ancient Pagan Romans decorated their "trees with bits of metal and replicas of their god, Bacchus [a fertility god]. They also placed 12 candles on the tree in honor of their sun god" Their mid-winter festival of Saturnalia started on DEC-17 and often lasted until a few days after the Solstice.
In Northern Europe, the ancient Druids tied fruit and attached candles to evergreen tree branches, in honor of their god Woden. Trees were viewed as symbolizing eternal life. This is the deity after which Wednesday was named. The trees joined holly, mistletoe, the wassail bowl and the Yule log as symbols of the season. All predated Christianity.
And I guess (contrary to what I'd thought), there are references to holiday trees in the B-I-B-L-E:
The Prophet Jeremiah condemned as Pagan the practice of cutting down trees, bringing them into the home and decorating them:(from religioustolerance.org)
Jeremiah 10:2-4: "Thus saith the LORD, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them. For the customs of the people are vain: for one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe. They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not." (KJV).
Happy Holidays from your resident heathen,