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Among all the decorations used to decorate the house during the Christmas period, certainly the fir is one of the most typical, especially for those who love plants and greenery. If we have decided to buy a real fir tree, sure that it comes from cultivation and has not been taken in kind, we will have to follow some precautions, to make sure that our tree remains beautiful for the whole period of the holidays. Traditionally, the Christmas tree is decorated during the first half of December, colored balls and golden stars will be stored and kept for the next year only at Epiphany. So in any case, the Christmas tree is decorated for about 3-5 weeks.
Where is it?
The tree we have chosen is alive, so it has special needs: light, irrigation and temperature. If we want to plant it in the next few weeks, in the middle of the earth or in a large pot, we will have to forcefully keep our tree in a cool place, to prevent the thermal stress from lowering the chance of survival once the holidays are over. If we have space available we can place our spruce in the garden, perhaps already in the house, or in a large vase; if we do not have a garden we can keep it on the terrace, or even in the house, but in an unheated room. If we really want to keep it indoors, to use it as a living room or dining room decoration, we try to keep it away from direct heat sources, such as radiators or fireplaces. In fact the fir trees are trees originating in the mountainous areas of Europe, and even those used as Christmas trees are grown in cold places, where in these weeks the maximum temperatures are generally below 10 ° C. Keeping the fir away from fireplaces and other open flame devices we will also avoid unpleasant inconveniences, in fact the needles of many conifers are rich in resin, as well as the branches, even a small spark can cause its ignition, with obvious damages for our home; for this same reason we avoid to decorate the tree, be it real or fake, with lighted candles.
The place where we will keep the tree also affects the cultivation treatments that we will have to prepare for this plant; if it is placed outdoors generally the fir tree needs only that the soil does not dry excessively, or for too long periods, if it is in full ground this tree is satisfied with the rains, if instead it is in pot it is the case to check the dampness of the ground with your hands, and in case water it periodically.
If instead the tree is at home let's remember to place it in a sufficiently large container, and water it every 3-4 days, avoiding to soak the soil. If instead of a tree with roots we have bought a point, that is only the top of the tree, without the roots, let's water the soil in the vase anyway, to avoid that the plant deteriorates quickly, losing most of the needles. Watering is also necessary to keep the foliage of a bright green color; to prevent the needles of the fir from being ruined, also from the excessive dryness of the air of the house, let us remember to vaporize the crown frequently.
In ancient times, among the northern populations, the fir was considered the cosmic tree par excellence, which united the earthly world with the celestial world; in the days near the winter solstice, or the shortest day of the year, it was customary to decorate the fir tree with the symbols of what one wanted to obtain during the following spring. From this custom derives the use of golden and silver decorations, colors symbolizing riches; in the same way small desserts were used, to propitiate the harvest, and also lights (real or only images of candles and candles) to propitiate the lengthening of the days, and the arrival of spring, the harvest season. The Christian faith has replaced these customs, attributing to the Christmas tree the symbolic meaning of the cross, while the decorations symbolize the gifts that humanity has given to Jesus as a child, the light of the world.Today the Christmas trees are decorated with small colored objects, which want to bring joy to the birth of Jesus; they therefore use colored banners, small glass balls, objects generally of bright color. When preparing the tree, remember to choose only a couple of colors at the most, to avoid an excessively noisy decoration; we also try not to suffocate our fir, excessively decorating it, and we use light objects, so as not to break the thinner twigs.The other Christmas plants
During this festival other plants are also used; their use depends on the fact that they are among the few that bloom or have decorative foliage even during the winter; in fact, however, over time they have been charged with many symbolic meanings, both Christian and otherwise.
Mistletoe is a plant full of meanings, from the roosters it was considered a divine plant, since they believed that it only grew on trees struck by lightning; the holly is a plant dear to many populations, its red berries would represent drops of blood of the god Baldur, but already the ancient Romans gave it twigs to propitiate fertility.
The poinsettias are of Mexican origin, and the custom of using them at Christmas also in Europe is not lost in past centuries; in fact it is mainly used because it is one of the few plants that blooms at this time of the year, also having large red-colored bracts, one of the colors of Christmas. The legend, of Central American origin, tells that among those gathered at the stable to worship Jesus there was also a poor child, who did not know what to bring as a gift, having nothing; he chose a twig of the undergrowth plants, or a branch of Christmas star, to remind us that to honor the birth of Jesus it is not necessary to exchange luxurious gifts, but thought is enough.
Christmas tree: natural or artificial Christmas tree?
One of the doubts that many plant lovers have in this period is whether to make a Christmas tree with real spruce or to use an artificial fir tree to make the tree. The advantages exist for both solutions and must be evaluated according to your needs and tastes.
Natural Christmas trees are more beautiful, because they are natural in form, because they smell and because they have a hair of unique beauty and inimitable by no other artificial tree. On the other hand, however, natural trees lose their needles and sometimes even resin and are not suitable for people who cannot tolerate disorder and dirt at home.
Artificial trees, on the other hand, even if they do not have the charm and beauty of real trees, they are much more ordered, they do not dirty and above all, Christmas must be put back in the attic without having to plant them outside, or worse, throw them away.
An alternative that many plant lovers use is to plant a Spruce in the garden and decorate this plant every year with lights and Christmas festoons. This is perhaps the most ecological solution even if it has the great disadvantage of not allowing to have the tree at home. The tree in the house always brings a little warmth and makes atmosphere but keeping it in the garden the house could be a bit empty.