Silver fir or European silver fir, genus species Abies alba, was the first known species used as a Christmas tree. The silver fir is an evergreen CONIFEROUS, native to the mountains of Europe.
Long ago in the 16th century, MERCHANTS cut down silver firs for various reasons, one popular purpose was to use them for display in the shop. In the days leading up to Christmas, merchants would place various items on the tree branches such as apples and nuts, including merchandise they wanted to sell. The idea behind the tree decorations was to attract visitors as they passed by various merchant stores at the local fairs. This practice still exists today and has become a commercial success by drawing our attention to the beautiful lights and items on display. During the holidays you might notice large evergreens as you enter your favorite marketplace or pass by the windows of your local mall.
In the following video clip, Charlie Brown is upset by the way his friends are behaving. He doesn’t like the COMMERCIALISM of the holiday season. Charlie and Linus are also part of the Christmas play and they were instructed to help find a tree that will fits the “modern spirit.” Arriving at the luminous tree lot they notice the selection available, the tall ones, wide and green ones. Soon after, Linus knocks on what looks like a tree and we clearly hear the sound of a hollow metallic echo. Those moments are important because Charlie Brown selects a real tree that is far from perfect. Watch!
(A Charlie Brown Christmas | YouTube)
- At the mark 0:05 Linus said, “This really brings Christmas close to a person.” What do you believe Linus is trying to say with this comment?
- Click and enlarge the black and white picture above. What are your thoughts on the way this tree is being used in the store? How is this different today than how history shows us 100 years ago?
- After Linus describes the meaning of Christmas, Charlie Brown walks out of the stage with a smile. He goes into the snow field and said, “Linus is right, I won’t let all this commercialism ruin my Christmas.” In your own words, describe what Charlie and Linus mean by the word COMMERCIALISM?