Tree Dressing Day occurs annually on the first weekend in December. It celebrates the importance of trees and encourages us to value and care for them. Tree Dressing Day was initiated by Common Ground, a U.K.-based charity based in Dorset, that has been at the forefront of community conservation and environmental education in England for over 30 years.
History of Tree Dressing Day
Tree Dressing Day was initiated by Common Ground in 1990 to serve as the day we show our love for trees and reflect on the important role they’ve played since the beginning of time.
Trees improve the quality of our air, they brighten and enhance our environment and provide shade from the hot sun. The presence of trees alone is enough to reduce our stress and improve our sense of wellbeing.
The day is a chance for everyone to gather and celebrate the leafy friends we all have in common. It’s also a time to reflect on the role trees have played in shaping the social and cultural history of our community.
Tree dressing is celebrated in different cultures around the world; from Scotland, to Japan, to England. It’s a tradition that brings us closer to trees and highlights the crucial place they have in our lives and in society, as we work towards appreciating them fully.
One of the customs of Tree Dressing Day, aside from dressing them in ribbons, notes, clothes, lanterns, and more, is to find a tree or group of trees that are important to our community, to embrace. The day also serves as a way to research tree dressing in other cultures for inspiration and understand why their existence is so crucial to us and our planet.
Tree Dressing Day timeline
According to historical accounts, the tree that inspires Newton’s Law of Universal Gravitation blows down in a storm.
Tree Dressing Day is initiated by Common Ground.
Fossils of a Wattieza tree are found and it’s believed it may have been the first-ever tree.
The chestnut tree in the backyard of the house where Anne Frank and her family were hiding during World War II falls down during a storm.
Tree Dressing Day FAQs
Why do we celebrate Tree Dressing Day?
Tree dressing is an ancient tradition that was reinvented and that is one of the reasons we dress trees — to continue that tradition. Most importantly, however, we do it because of how crucial trees are to us. They produce the very air we breathe.
How do I tell a tree I love it?
Embrace it. Hugging a tree in or around your community to celebrate Tree Dressing Day is one of the reasons the day was started.
Do trees know when they are being appreciated?
They most likely do. Trees have been around since the beginning of time and have formed a harmonious oneness with everything else that’s part of nature.
Tree Dressing Day Activities
Dress a tree
There’s no better way to celebrate Tree Dressing Day than to go out and dress a tree! Choose a tree, or group of trees, that are important to you or your community and dress them in ribbons, cloths, lanterns, and more.
Plant a tree
Planting even one tree can make a huge environmental difference! Trees are essential for life on Earth, and this is a beautiful way to show your appreciation.
Embrace trees in or around your community! The purpose of Tree Dressing Day is to celebrate the importance of trees and to value and care for them in a powerful way that expresses your appreciation.
5 Things You Should Know About Trees
Celtic and Japanese customs
The history of tree dressing is rooted in the old Celtic custom of tying cloth dipped in water from a holy well to a ‘clootie tree’, and the Japanese practice of decorating trees with strips of white paper, or ‘tanzaku,’ with wishes and poems written on them.
They’re old, very old
Trees don’t die of old age, and are the longest-living organisms on the planet.
Breathe in the fresh air
A mature tree can produce enough oxygen for close to 20 people.
A long existence
According to researchers, trees can be several thousand years old and may have been in existence for 370 million years.
According to records, in the 12,000 years since the start of human agriculture, the number of trees worldwide has decreased by 46%, about 15 billion trees are cut down and only 5 billion are planted back annually.
Why We Love Tree Dressing Day
It helps us appreciate trees
Because of how crucial trees are to us, celebrating Tree Dressing Day is a great way to show our appreciation. Embracing trees in or around your community to celebrate this day shows you care.
It brings out our humanity
Who is to say that human affection should only be expressed towards fellow humans? Tree Dressing Day compels us to show affection towards an unlikely but deserving recipient — the tree.
It strengthens the tradition
Tree dressing is an ancient tradition around the world! Its modern iteration that we now celebrate is a continuation of the ancient tree dressing tradition with a renewed purpose. It is a strengthened version.
Tree Dressing Day dates