Celebrate Yule with these ever green colored fountain pen recommendations from EndlessPens
“O Christmas Tree, O Christmas tree,
We learn from all your beauty.
Your bright green leaves with festive cheer,
Give hope and strength throughout the year.”
— O Christmas Tree, Ernst Anschütz (1824)
From Roots to Branches: Origin Stories
An evergreen is a plant that can retain its verdant foliage and remain functional for more than one season in the year. This botanical term also refers to plants which maintain their leaves even in warm or dry climates. Among the evergreens are most of the conifers such as pine, blue spruce, red cedar, and hemlock, as well as live oak, holly, and cycads, and most angiosperms from warmer climates, namely rainforest trees and eucalypts. Sempervirens or “always green” is the Latin binomial nomenclature for plants with this hardy nature.
From an evolutionary perspective, evergreens have developed to survive and thrive in their environment. Their biology has helped them adapt to harsh climates, scarce resources, and low nutrient levels. By influencing local soil acidity and nitrogen content, they also ensure their own survival, favoring the growth of more evergreens and helping the younger plants to flourish.
It is no wonder then that the evergreen, given its very nature, has become symbolic of longevity, determination, revitalization, strength, and protection across many cultures and belief systems. Ancient pagans celebrated the winter solstice by decorating their homes with evergreen boughs. These served as reminders of the promise of renewal with the coming spring, and as protection against ghosts, evil spirits, and malevolent spells during this time of cold and darkness. The Egyptians, in their worship of the sun god Ra, filled their houses with green palm rushes to honor his recovery from illness and triumph over death. Evergreen fir wreaths graced the homes of the Romans during Saturnalia, the feast which celebrated Saturn, the god of agriculture. They believed that the solstice was a prelude to the following months of growth and fruitfulness. Celtic Druids decorated their temples with evergreen sprigs to signify everlasting life. The olden Vikings of Scandinavia held the evergreen tree as dedicated to Baldr, their god of the summer sun, purity, joy, and light.
The First Christmas Tree
One of the iconic symbols of the Yuletide season, the ubiquitous Christmas tree traces its ancestry to German Christian traditions. Miracle plays were acted out during Advent in front of churches, portraying Bible stories for the public. In the early calendars of the Saints, December 24 was the feast day honoring Adam and Eve. These medieval reenactments featured the “paradise tree”, a fir tree or an arrangement of evergreen branches decorated with apples.
In time, these special trees were brought into people’s homes, with decorations changing from wafers that symbolized the Eucharist to cookies, dried fruit, and nuts. It was during the 16th century that Martin Luther, a Protestant reformer, thought of putting candles on the tree to represent Christ, who had left the stars of heaven to bring His light to Earth. This custom became widespread amongst the German Lutherans by the 18th century. In the mid-1900s, this tradition took root in England when Queen Victoria and German-born Prince Albert introduced a Christmas tree filled with toys, candies, fancy cakes, popcorn string, and candles hanging from its branches. Children were then encouraged to take a toy and tasty treat from the tree before going home.
It was the German settlers who brought the practice of decorating evergreens into America, with the earliest record of one being on display in Pennsylvania during the 1830s. However, community trees have been seen in German settlements as early as 1747, but were still considered as pagan symbols by most Americans of that time. It was only in 1846 when the public became enthralled with the Christmas tree, when the Illustrated London News featured Queen Victoria and her family gathered around their decorated tree. By the 1890s it became fashionable to have a Christmas tree in the home, and traditional ornaments coming from Germany were joined by strings of tree lights powered by electricity. By the early 20th century, artificial trees with brush bristles were being mass-produced using various materials. This enabled countries where fresh evergreens were hard to procure to adopt a custom that has since then become an established worldwide Christmas tradition.
Christmas Evergreen Wishes
Even if I’m well into my adulthood, the sight of a Christmas tree at home, all a-twinkle with boughs bedecked with ornaments, never fails to spark childlike delight. The tree in its fresh (or faux) evergreen glory is a treasured symbol of the festive cheer that this Yuletide season brings. Being as I am, my first thought on seeing lovely presents under the tree would be: “I wonder if there’s a fountain pen for me?”
Seriously though, I would like to reiterate how wonderful it is to give and/or receive a fountain pen as Christmas Gifts. It is in itself a symbol of potential, a writing instrument that bestows benefits beyond its item description. It can be a tool for reconnecting with loved ones, through handwritten letters with a personal touch. It can be part of your self-care ritual, to use with your morning pages or penned meditations before bed. It can be a partner for self-expression, for creating poetry, stories, or sketches. It can also be appreciated as it is: a well-engineered, handcrafted object that can also be considered a work of art.
A fountain pen is like an evergreen tree after all, in having a particular significance and promise of growth, renewal, and longevity. As I write these words, I start picturing which fountain pens would best evoke the essence of the evergreens. Not surprisingly, green-coloured pens or those with wooden bodies immediately spring to mind. To illustrate, here are some examples from EndlessPens:
#1 — LAMY Safari Green
Made of sturdy plastic, with an ergonomic design, this series is hardy enough to withstand the vagaries of daily life
#2 — Pelikan Souverän M400 Black/Green
Distinguished by precise craftsmanship and superior quality materials, this stately series has withstood the test of time
#3 — LAMY ABC Red or Blue
A robust fountain pen made for little hands, it is engineered for learning and comfort with its ergonomic grip and the natural feel of wood
#4 — Graf Von Faber-Castell Guilloche Olive Green
designed with precious resin using a special process that includes engraving, applying lacquer by hand, then polished repeatedly to achieve a unique surface texture, it is a fountain pen imbued by the craftsman’s care
#5 — Graf Von Faber-Castell Classic Pernambuco
This pen combines the warmth of wood with the cool strength of metal, a potent combination of materials that can stand the test of time
#6 — Fine Writing International Mianzi EndlessPens Exclusive 2021
Made of tough bamboo, this fountain pen echoes the resilience and durability of its material
#7 — Montegrappa Teachers
A special fountain pen dedicated to teachers, this one calls to mind lush foliage and solid tree trunks, and includes a message of hope that would inspire anyone with a calling to educate the young
These are just a few examples that share the symbolism of the evergreen tree. I hope these can guide you if ever you’re considering getting a bit of that sempervirens spirit, or planning to give a loved one a taste of that verdant potential.
Let us celebrate this year’s Look For An Evergreen Day by remembering the meaning behind the tradition and celebrating it with a sense of history.
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Written by @lekzumali
Check out her musings on Instagram!