Catholic Activity: Christmas Tree
The Christmas tree has become one of the most accepted traditions of the modern world at Christmas. Here we have a short explanation of the Christian symbolism.
It's not always possible to set up a tree at Christmas Eve, but waiting until the 3rd or 4th Sunday of Advent is a good compromise.
There is a beautiful symbolism in the traditional Christmas tree which is so popular in our country. The tree represents the long period of waiting for the coming of the Christ, Who is represented by a star or some other shining ornament at the top of the tree. The ornaments, candles and lights represent His gifts and graces to us. This meaning of the Christmas tree should be made clear to all the children of the family — they will love the element of mystery they find here.
In Germany and in many other countries, candy, cookies and nuts are hung on the branches. The children love this. These articles represent good things which can be eaten as well as looked at.
Therese Mueller suggests that the best time to put up the tree is on Christmas Eve, and not before. All of the symbolism points to the Nativity of Our Lord and premature erection of the tree and crib takes something from the meaning of these things (Cf. Family Life in Christ, Liturgical Press: Collegeville, MN, p. 15).
Activity Source: How to Make Your House a Home by Rev. Bernard Stokes, O.F.M., Family Life Bureau, Washington D.C., 1955