I like Christmas tress. I think they look great and nothing gets me into the festive spirit quite like seeing a nicely decorated Christmas tree. But this year, I started to think about something Christmas tree-related which is a bit of a quandary.
When taking my evening walks, I always enjoy taking a look at the beautiful Christmas tree displays that people have created in their homes… but this year I stopped to think, am I supposed to be looking at them? When enjoying the view of a nice tree, it’s a bit awkward when there’s somebody in the room standing next to it staring back at you. Is it an invasion of privacy to look at the tree? If it is, why would you put something so beautiful and eye catching at the window? Of course it’s going to catch the eyes of passers by and they’ll end up looking through the window.
By saying that, am I no different from a man leering at a woman in a bikini saying “She wouldn’t dress that way if she didn’t want me to stare at her and try desperately to save a mental image of her for future reference.”?
An argument could be made that it is a coincidence that Christmas trees tend to be put up right next to windows. They’re pretty big, after all, and it’s not as though you can put them up anywhere. Although I distinctly remember that when I decorated the Christmas tree as a child, I always hoped that people would look at it and think that it looked nice… that’s not to suggest that just because I thought that as a child, everybody in the world must agree with me.
But then, have a think about other things your average person puts in their windows: “I Voted Conservative”, “Thank you, NHS!” and “No coloureds”, to give a few examples. These are obviously there to be read and you have to look through windows to see them… so people do want people passing by to look through their windows. So I think it’s safe to look at a nice Christmas tree that you happen to see when taking a walk… but I don’t think it changes the fact that it’s awkward when people are in the same room. Maybe it would be less awkward if you made eye contact and shouted “Nice tree!”?