Christmastime is here again! We have another holiday-themed post for you, dear readers. In the past, we’ve touched on holiday decorations (and their inherent kitschiness), and on the various types of nativity scenes you can surround yourself with to emphasize the reason for the season. This year, we’re focusing on the concept of the Christmas tree.
The history of the Christmas Tree is complex. Here is a concise excerpt from Encyclopædia Britannica:
“The use of evergreen trees, wreaths, and garlands to symbolize eternal life was a custom of the ancient Egyptians, Chinese, and Hebrews. Tree worship was common among the pagan Europeans and survived their conversion to Christianity in the Scandinavian customs of decorating the house and barn with evergreens at the New Year to scare away the Devil and of setting up a tree for the birds during Christmastime. It survived further in the custom, also observed in Germany, of placing a Yule tree at an entrance or inside the house during the midwinter holidays.”
Christmas tree-related art — actual art — can be hard to find. While the symbols and ideas associated with the trees are dynamic in our society, holiday-related art is difficult to justify as anything more than seasonal decoration. We’re in luck, however, because artists don’t much care about societal norms and continue to make beautiful and sometimes biting Christmas tree (and Christmas- and tree-adjacent) works. Here are some of them.