Your Christmas Tree Is Medicine


When I was a kid, every year my family and I would go to a local farm to cut down our Christmas tree. It was always one of the most exciting days of the year. Living in Eastern Pennsylvania, by December it was truly cold in our neck of the woods. Bundled in woolens and oversized hats, we’d wander through the forests of planted spruce, pine and fir, our breath escaping in happy clouds of vanilla among the spice of evergreen. Rather than look for the “nicest” tree, my parents always told us to find the tree that wanted to go home with us, regardless of how it looked. I took this deeply to heart, asking each tree as I went if they were the one. With this question as my guide, I truly felt the animism of the world around me. Each spruce was an angel, each fir their own magical being. Once the whole family felt that a certain tree had given us the nod, we would thank the tree for its life while my Dad knelt reverently on the ground to cut it down.

Having only a small suburban car, we had to put the seats down so all of us, and the tree, could fit inside. No longer having a backseat, my sister and I would sit on either side of the Christmas tree in the trunk, sucking on candy canes and feeling like woodland creatures peering out from the fragrant boughs. Quiet holiday music would be piping through the radio while the rural scenery rolled by dusted with frost. I remember the deep awe of knowing that this tree had chosen us. That we got to take this magnificent wild being into our house. That it had given up its life to bring us this medicine, and that the indoors were now becoming as enchanted as the forests themselves.


Me in a happy Christmas tree swoon


I still remember the moment, studying herbalism nearly two decades later, when I realized… medicine and magic is literally everywhere. It is in the needles on the tree, the chamomile in my tea, the rogue dandelion leaves and just about every other weed you see! There was a part of me that was absolutely enchanted by this discovery. But another part of me, the one that knew the magic of being chosen by a Christmas tree, recognized this as something I had always known.

If you had told me when I was a kid, that Christmas trees were medicine, I wouldn’t have batted an eye. There was no doubt in my twinkle-bright mind that this tree was a profound source of healing. It was that much more wonderful when, in herbal school, I found out that what I had innately known as a child was literally true — Christmas trees are some of the most important wintertime medicines around.

If you are needing to feel a twinkle of excitement and earth-magic this season, check out my new video Your Christmas Tree is Medicine. Fun and uplifting, this short film is a charming introduction to the powerful herbal medicine that you might already have, glowing with ornaments and trimmed with light, set up in your home.


YouTube player


These days the holiday season often gets so busy, we lose sight of why humans began to celebrate this time. As the earth grew quiet, our ancestors took this season to honor the medicine that continued to surround them. In the darkness, they honored the pinpricks of light. In the stillness, they found hope for the continuance of all life. And when all the plants of the world had died back to the roots, into their homes they brought the evergreens and their light.

Whenever I start to feel weary of all the urgency and stress that seems to surround the holidays, I remember this — that magic can be found in every moment and, if we simply embrace this time of natural quiet, we can always tap back into that enchantment.

If you are feeling overwhelmed today, get yourself outside to hug a pine tree, notice how beautiful the winter light is, or close down your computer early to enjoy an evening by twinklelight. The magic is always here. Just like our Christmas trees, it has simply been waiting for us to see it, to take it home in our hearts and to remember that hope, truly, is evergreen.