I have a question concerning putting up decorations for Christmas. Our church always has a tree, greenery, wreaths, etc.
We celebrate January 7th.
The kids' parents requested that the tree go up this coming Sunday after Liturgy, after St. Nicholas visits (Dec. 20). Most parishioners wouldn't see it until the next Sunday. The following Sunday would be the 27th, and since many children are out of school that week, the families will be off on vacation, skiing, etc. Since the children wanted to participate in preparing the church, this leaves me with a dilemma.
Is it proper or even acceptable to have the tree up a few weeks before the Nativity Celebration?
I figured we might just put the tree up with the kids, and leave the rest of the lights, greenery, etc for a later date.
When I mentioned this, a few individuals in the church were aghast and upset. I was accused of collaborating with American society and supporting "Latin" Christmas by decorating before December 25th. It's not proper to have any decorations up during Lent, etc.
I completely understand. However, is it truly wrong to put up just the tree?
What about a couple wreaths on the outside gates? If I were the people living across the street from the church, I would think that those Orthodox don't even celebrate Christmas. Everything all around is lit up, but, we don't even display a wreath, yet.
I would truly appreciate your opinions on this matter.
Please, don't tell me to go and ask the priest. I don't want him to get stuck in the middle of it. We have some very opinionated parishioners and I don't want his name tarnished in any of their discussions.
Thanks for your help.