Skip to content
Xmas tree 2 copy


My One And Only—Rochelle Pines For A Happy Tree

My One And Only — Rochelle Pines For A Happy Tree

My father wanted to be a good neighbor and cordially accepted the gift of a pink neon colored Christmas tree. It stood about four feet in height, and it was made of some sort of metallic fiber. My mother, father and I, three Jews, stood and looked at the tree, very uncomfortable, not quite knowing what to do with it.

We were friends with our neighbor, who also happened to be the manufacturer of the conifer. This was the early 1950’s. Christmas was on its way to becoming more secular and I knew more about Santa than Christ. Seduced by the season, the shine and the potential to decorate O’ Tannenbaum, I was able to secure a couple of metallic balls to hang on the tree.” No one said anything about it, the elephant in the room. On December 26th, the tree was repacked into its cardboard box and stored in the back of a closet; brought out again for a couple of years until our neighbor moved.

I join the many Jews who have also grappled with the question of having a tree. Many of my couple friends, where one partner is Jewish and the other, not, reach a compromise. There is the bagel decorated tree, a Hanukah menorah-tree combo and various decorative single themed trees to distract from Christmas to the spirit of the season like the collection of heart shaped decorations or dog ornaments. 

I’ve spent years looking for signs that say, Yes, it’s okay, inhale the pine scented, soon to be a fire hazard tree.” Even federal justices have voted that the tree is not religious. But, this year, I think I will stick with Teddy Roosevelt, who did not want a tree in the White House for environmental reasons. To justify the debate in my head, I will enjoy my friends’ and family’s trees!