Tree of the Month: Joy

John Swanson | Photo Courtesy
The Spectrum office tree contains history in its branches.

Holy origin story Batman!

There appear to be two origin stories for the modern Christmas tree. The first traces back to the late 1400s and early 1500s in two locations: Riga, Latvia and Tallinn, Estonia. In both locations, an evergreen tree was put up outside and burned.

The second origin story represents a more modern use of the Christmas tree, although not the first. Sometime in the 1500s, it is said that there was a certain German, Christian reformer named Martin Luther walking through the woods. He took an evergreen tree inside his home. On it, he placed candles on its branches to represent the beauty of the stars in the night sky.

The variety of trees

No matter which origin story better represents the modern tree, it has changed from that point to today regardless. There is a huge tree that goes up every year in New York, many moderate trees that find their way into the homes of people around the world and then this small plastic office tree with a teddy bear star. This tree has an origin story of its own.

The tree, Joy

In 2015, Pauline Dunn started working at the office of The Spectrum. In celebration of the Christmas season, a small tree was purchased and subsequently decorated. On it are snowflakes and chains made from that year’s newspapers. On top of the tree is a picture of Auggie, which Spectrum and NDSU alum Taylor Schloemer added in 2018.

Now, the tree rests in a largely-empty office, giving me a little joy of the season as I write about it. That’s a little inception. For this reason, Joy is the Tree of the Month.

Needles to say

I’ve always had something against plastic trees. I grew up with real trees cut down at my grandparents that would age and eventually find their way to a fire pit sometime after the holiday season. Back in my apartment, I also have a small tree or shrub that is decorated with lights and small ornaments. It is currently dying, and there are small needles all over the floor.

Looking at this small, fake Christmas tree in the office, I can appreciate the history (and needles) it retains. It doesn’t leave a mess, it tells the story from years past, and it gives off the radiance of the season.

Continuing history

If you have a Christmas tree this year, whether big or small, plastic or real, enjoy what it represents. The joy of giving under the tree, working together to decorate, and remembering times past. When this article is published, I am going to cut out the photo above and put it on the tree to add to a bit of the history of this plastic office evergreen.

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