The Christmas tree inside the mall at 900 North Michigan is an impressive thing. I don’t know where it’s stored or how it’s assembled, but every year it appears, all massive cheer, its height extending for several stories.
O, Christmas tree!
Its connotations are very different than the old German song (O Tannenbaum) that it evokes. That song was simply about evergreens and about appreciating the symbolism and beauty of a tree that, even in the depths of winter, remained constant, verdant and life-affirming. As we browse the mall, we may hear the tune over a loudspeaker. Whether in German or English, the sentiment of this old folk tune is rather corny. But earnest in the connection to nature that’s at its core.
The Bloomingdale’s Christmas tree comforts us in a different way, telegraphing prosperity, and what passes for constancy in our consumer society. No matter what, we can count on the artificial Christmas tree’s appearing. Green is the promise of the holiday shopping season, when merchants are hopeful that their customers will buy.