The Fir Tree is a fable of a Christmas tree that rues the day it took its roots and woodland home for granted. We should be happy, Hans preaches, with what we have, when we have it. Not just at Christmas.
The mice in the story help the tree reach this realisation, pointing out how luxurious the tree’s former life has been. The tree, like so many of us, was blessed and wasn’t thankful at the time and now regrets his inertia. Humankind, programmed to forget this simple oft repeated lesson, has evolved myth and fable as reminder- mechanisms designed to kick in when faced with another bout of
“I take joy for granted and am never satisfied with anything, especially myself”.
Anderson takes us beyond the tree’s traditional, simpler symbolism of festive reward. He uses the erring and ultimately redeemed tree to teach mindfulness and gratitude. The tree must die every year whereas we continue and must be forever thankful for our continuity through the seasons, however few or many.
Thus the tree acts as an offering and a reminder, both in the pagan and Christian rituals of death and sacrifice in exchange for new life and renewal. We fell a tree each year and adorn it each year to remind ourselves of our own luck and the abundance of life, growing us sweets and lights, year after year, with or without LED.
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