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Happy New Year / Burning of the Christmas Tree

January 1, 2009

One of my favorite family holiday traditions from my childhood (and a tradition that has endured into my adulthood) is the burning of the Christmas tree. It’s so glorious. A quick flash of bonfire followed by glowing golden pine needles, then nothing but a black skeleton of the tree. The following photographs are from tonight’s tree burning, (and they are borrowed from my brother’s blog). This tree was my sister’s family’s tree–ours is still prettily decorated, and will remain so until January 6 (another tradition, but one that hasn’t necessarily survived into the next generation–as evident of the burning of my sister’s tree). Now that my siblings are marrying and having families, there are even more trees to burn.

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12 Comments leave one →
  1. Laurie permalink
    January 1, 2009 4:12 pm

    what an interesting family tradition. pretty wacky if you ask me! but looks right up your alley :) I could never be part of your family, I am allergic to pine trees. I’ll just have to enjoy the pics!

  2. Lili permalink*
    January 1, 2009 5:40 pm

    Laurie, Allergic to pine trees! You poor dear. Yeah, it’s a wacky awesome tradition. Maybe it’s my English ancestry trying to continue to celebrate Guy Fawkes Night after immigrating…or maybe it’s just that it’s fun to burn pine trees :)

  3. zstitches permalink
    January 1, 2009 8:12 pm

    Lili, the January 6 tradition as you describe it sounds so . . . planned. My childhood memories are of trees that sometimes stayed up through February, and after that propped against a wall in the yard for even longer.

    I was in the mood to take our tree down the day after Christmas but made myself leave it up until New Year’s — and now the mood has passed.

    You do know who started the tree-burning thing, right? :)

  4. Lili permalink*
    January 1, 2009 8:15 pm

    Hmm, being 7 years younger than you, it always has seemed planned to me. To my memory, mom never lets the tree go down before the 6th (unless I fly back to the UK on the 5th, and she needs help getting it put away…)

    Also, I do not know where the tradition comes from. Please do tell. Perhaps in a blog post, linked to here?

  5. Lili permalink*
    January 1, 2009 10:35 pm

    Duh. Now that I reread I catch the implication. _You_ started it. But do tell.

  6. Cate permalink
    January 3, 2009 2:25 am

    Y’all are Christmas fascists!

  7. January 5, 2009 6:37 pm

    How fun! To bad we have a fake one. Real ones are just tooooo expensive. I do however love the smell of them.

  8. Lili permalink*
    January 5, 2009 6:41 pm

    Cate– lol
    Karla– Many Christmas trees are expensive, but our tree this year was very pretty…and only twenty bucks!

  9. Mom permalink
    January 6, 2009 8:10 am

    Christmas fascists, maybe–but in a good way!

    Well, you’re both right, Zuh & Lil. The “plan” is to leave the tree up till Epiphany, and that part is usually easy accomplished. Then there was that time (early 1975, actually, following the Christmas of 1974) we “planned” to use the same tree again the following year by keeping it fresh with the newly-discovered bleach & sugar solution. I can’t remember how long it stayed “alive” in the backyard, but it was a surprisingly long time.

    As far as those years when the tree stayed up (inside) till February, um, no comment. However, y’all were generally able to use the skeleton of the burned tree in time for another family tradition, the Hall/Adams Valentine War, er, Exchange.

    I should add that we will only burn a tree if there is snow on the ground.

  10. Grandma permalink
    January 7, 2009 6:58 am

    Oh now I am scared. Do I have to leave the tree up all year?

    http://www.woodlands-junior.kent.sch.uk/customs/Xmas/twelfthnight/index.html

  11. Grandma permalink
    January 7, 2009 6:59 am

    Uh, that was all interesting, but here’s the scary part:

    http://www.woodlands-junior.kent.sch.uk/customs/Xmas/twelfth.htm

  12. January 8, 2009 6:55 am

    So, just to be clear, who really did start the tree burning? I think I remember the first year we did it, and there being a sort of “pleading” thing going on, but I don’t really remember well enough. Do tell? Anyone?

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