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Melody Schubert

Enrich The Holidays With Glorious Color & Lore
By Melody Schubert
Nov 23, 2004 - 1:58:00 AM

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The bright autumn leaves have fallen, but nature’s beauty has not faded completely. With the holidays come a variety of plants to brighten our lives. The fresh scent of Christmas trees covered in twinkling lights enhances our spirits and homes. Evergreens have been regard as symbols of undying life because they flourish when everything else in nature is withered and dead. As with other traditions brought to America by immigrants, the Christmas tree also represents the Holy Trinity.
Add A Little Color To The Holiday Season

While spreading the word of God in Germany during the 7th century, a monk from Devonshire, used the triangular shape of the Fir Tree to describe the Holy Trinity, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit to his pupils. Afterwards the people then revered the Fir tree as God's Tree.

One of the legends concerning the decorating an evergreen goes back to the 1600's when Martin Luther looked up into bright night sky on Christmas Eve. The beauty of the stars in the heavens above inspired him to share this heavenly sight with his children by decorating the tree with lit candles. The introduction of electric light bulbs replaced candles, allowing the public to celebrate the season with festive and bright trees across the country. The first recording of a tree decorated for the public with electric lights was in California in 1909.

Here are a few tips for caring for live trees this season:

  1. A six foot tree can consume a gallon of water every two days so be sure check the water container often to prevent the needles from drying out.
  2. The heat off a light bulb can easily Dry needles can be lit off by the heat of a nearby electric light bulb, once ignited, it only takes three seconds for a tree to be engulfed in flames. Such a tragedy can easily be prevented by keeping the tree watered and away from sources of heat such as a fire place or space heater.
  3. When selecting bulbs, miniature lights are best because they have cool burning bulbs. Avoid connecting more than three strands of lights together on a plug to prevent an overload and potential risk for fire.
  4. Securing the tree before decorating will help prevent unexpected accidents by curious children and pets.

After the holidays are over disposal of the tree can be as easy as taking it to one of the local drop off locations in your area; unusually city parks accept trees after the holidays. Please remove all ornaments and tinsel from the trees before drop off. Many times, people call asking for whole trees to place in their ponds, which make good habitats for fish. They position the trees on the ponds while frozen, and in the spring the trees settle into the water. To find out whether whole trees may be available call your local parks office.

Adding a touch of vibrant color to our lives during the winter is the poinsettia, native to Mexico, and named after Joel Roberts Poinsett, first U.S. Ambassador to Mexico. The legend of the poinsettia demonstrates how the prayers of the faithful are answered. In Mexico, a poor village boy wanted to give the Holy Child a gift. Without any money to buy a gift he picked a bouquet of weeds in desperation on the way to church. The child prayed to for a sign of God's love, and God is said to have answered his prayer by transforming the weeds into a beautiful star-shaped flower with bright red leaves.

One misconception about this lush plant is that they are poisonous when in fact they actually help remove pollutants from indoor air. Like any other precautions taken with children and pets though it's best to keep all plants out of reach. To preserve poinsettias after the holidays keep them in a location with indirect sunlight, and away from cold drafts or excessive heat. Water the plant when the soil feels dry, and use an all-purpose fertilizer once a month after the blooming season is over.

During the holidays many take advantage of the romantic tradition of hanging mistletoe in their homes. A kiss shared under the mistletoe is thought to increase the chances of marriage in the New Year. Mistletoe represents peace, romance, and rumored to ward off misfortune when hung over doorways. Use caution with Mistletoe because the berries are poisonous. Check with the Florists when buying mistletoe to see if they offer plants with artificial berries to protect children and pets.

Another plant traditional used during the holiday season is Holly, said to be a symbol of immortality. Its rich green pointed leave represent the crown of thorns Jesus wore; the red berries symbolize the blood he shed on the cross. Cut holly lasts longer indoors if kept away from excessive heat while in cool water.

Have a wonderful Holiday Season & a Happy New Year!

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Melody Schubert
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