The best traditions happen by accident--one impulse creates an association, forms a memory that persists from one year to the next. Each time we repeat the impulse, new memories attach themselves to the existing ones and the associations deepen. Before long, we can no longer imagine life without it. Such is the story of the Christmas Tree we know today.
Ancient Europeans decorated with evergreen boughs to bring life into their homes during long winter months. As Christianity spread, the sentiment of bringing life into the home likely merged with the promise of Paradise (Paradise trees were evergreens decorated with apples) and the story of Christ's birth: life brought into the world. Centuries later, Queen Victoria encouraged her German husband to decorate a tree in their home according to his childhood traditions. This first Christmas tree was illustrated in a magazine, and wealthy families all across England hurried to copy it, each family trying to out-decorate the other.
Somehow, I've ended up with a collection of Christmas Trees--there are 7 in our apartment this year. In addition to our traditional tree, we have a Charlie Brown tree (and his friend Ralphie), 3 ceramic trees, and 1 magnetic tree that I made into an Advent calendar this year.
And last, but not least, there's this little guy tucked into one of my village scenes--
What accidental traditions do you have around your house?