thy branches ne'er remember...Their green felicity." ~John Keats
But, we do revel in the green of pine trees this time of year...and out come red and green...the color uniform of Christmas.
Holly wreaths were given to celebrate this festival which actually featured much gift-giving as well as much celebrating with drink, food, and greenery.
When Pope Gregory devised a new calendar, which was unevenly adopted, the Eastern Orthodox and some Protestants retained the Julian calendar, which meant they celebrated Christmas 13 days later than their Gregorian counterparts. Most—but not all—of the Christian world now agrees on the Gregorian calendar and the December 25 date.
The Christian connection to red in this green world relates to a story that only the holly tree consented to be cut down and its wood made into a cross to bear Jesus. Some Christians believe that Jesus wore a crown of holly thorns whose berries were originally white. As Jesus’ blood touched the berries, they turned red. The green leaves of the holly plant have come to represent everlasting life and the berries the blood of Jesus.
Staged around a single prop called a paradise tree, actors adorned an evergreen tree with apples and sometimes also with communion wafers. Decked out in this way it served to represent the two mystical trees in the Garden of Eden: the tree of knowledge of good and evil and the tree of life. Although the church officially banned the performance of mystery plays in the fifteenth century, the people of France and Germany's Rhine river region kept on decorating paradise trees for Christmas, so perhaps another insight into that green Christmas tree and red accents.
So, red and green for Christmas have a myriad of historical references, but it all blends...for as John Geddes wrote in A Familiar Rain...
“...freshly cut Christmas trees smelling of stars and snow and pine resin - inhale deeply and fill your soul with wintry night...”