I have a confession to make

christmas tree, originally uploaded by Michael Anderson’s.

I am suffering this holiday season from Christmas tree envy.

I should back up. I was raised Catholic. While I don’t practice and consider myself agnostic, I understand the community role that religions fill and when it is non-harmful to others and non-hate preaching, I respect that. Sadly, I think the Church I grew up in gets it wrong an awful lot.

But, I love the holidays. I love the memories I have with my family. I loved going to chop down a tree with my parents, decorate it with my friends, and smell it throughout the house. I love the Christmas cookies, the big dinner with friends and family, the giving and receiving gifts, and listening to A Christmas in Wales before bed.

My husband is atheist. He has never celebrated anything.

We are raising our daughter without any religion. I accept that and it is what I want to do. At the same time, Christmas can be celebrated (and often is) completely devoid of religion.

Last year we exchanged gifts at my insistence (Hubby insists that gifts are appropriate every day of the year). My daughter (6 months at the time) loved ripping the paper. She didn’t care all that much what was inside. This year, we have more planned and my parents will join us.

So what is the problem?

I am watching Christmas trees pop up in the houses all around me. I am seeing them sold in the mall with the lights, the balls, the ornaments, the star and the fairy for the top of the tree. And, I am positively green with envy. I want the tree. I want the ornaments. I want the lights. I want the wreath. The whole shebang. And I want to smell real pine in my house.

Its funny, I didn’t have these yearnings last year. Perhaps because we visited our neighbors often and I knew we would celebrate with them and their little tree. Perhaps because Little Elephant is older. While she won’t remember this Christmas per se, she would be excited by the tree.

On the other hand, maybe a really big tree with all its dangerous ornaments aren’t sure a good idea with a toddler.

***Footnote: Even if we did get a tree here in Albania, I would have to get something plastic so I wouldn’t get my real tree smell. There is no sustainability built into tree sales here and I would never want to contribute to furthering the ecological degradation just to satisfy my desire for a tree for a month.



  1. I vote: Get the tree! This year, as we are in the middle of moving and won’t be here for the holidays, we’re not doing the big tree we usually buy. (We always get our trees sourced from local NC farms from programs where the proceeds benefit charities, even if it means forking out an extra $20.) But this year we decided no, no tree, it’s a silly waste of money since it would only be for 2 weeks. But I was sad because I have all these ornaments I love. So I am getting a potted tabletop tree, and sticking it in my car with me! There’s also a really cool tree donation program (where if you are leaving for the holidays, you can donate your tree to a family before Christmas that cannot afford a tree), so I might do that. But you’re right, there’s a special nostalgia in traditions, even if they are shaped to you and your family. Some of my favorite bonding experiences with my step-daughter have been doing holiday crafts. 🙂 So I say, go for it if it makes you happy!

  2. I was raised Lutheran and went to Catholic school. I largely reject the church’s teachings, but I consider myself religious. I love Christmas. They are not mutually exclusive and I still find myself getting excited as Christmas approaches. It is such a cozy time of year – especially if you are from an area where it snows.

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