the significance of trees

The Christmas tree is a ubiquitous and uber-commercialized symbol of the holiday, yet the etymology of its use could hearken back to old animistic practices. In many ancient religions, trees were worshipped as sacred, held to be the homes of gods or spirits, or believed to be capable of bestowing enlightenment on mortals.

My aunt Nana Barcelona’s tree, decorated with ornaments collected through the years. The hand-painted eggs are actual eggs from Chechoslovakia; the gilded glass spheres, Philippine-made.

In today’s context - festooned with winking lights, laden with colorful ornaments, circled by wrapped presents – a Christmas tree certainly has the power to bring smiles to children’s faces.

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Ik’s wide grin makes all the preparations worth it!

Even a “sign” (in the Jungian sense) that consists of electric lights strung together in an elongated pyramid formation and decorated with various ornaments can symbolize a Christmas tree, which in turn symbolizes the holiday and all its attendant shared meanings and associations.

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A tree made of lights and ornaments greets all comers to our barangay (neighborhood community) in Makati City.

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A closeup of some of the ornaments decorating our neighborhood tree.

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