‘Chuck it on’ is my motto when it comes to decorating a Christmas tree. The more the better regardless of size shape colour or material. I think I may have been a magpie in a previous life. Concepts such as good taste are alien to me at the best of times and doubly so Christmas.
And yet this magpie approach to decoration always seems to work. Apparently it is just because throwing all the colours of the rainbow together in one place is pleasing to the eye. Just think of a bowl of skittles and you get the idea. The part of the brain that deals with colour gets overwhelmed and our capacity for discernment goes out the window.
Yet some people risk going in the other direction and create uniformally decorated trees in a single colour. My natural reaction is of course against this, but I saw an example just the other day that took my breath away. It was a Nordmann Fir tree in a high street decorated with nothing but gold glass baubles. I was entranced, intoxicated and overwhelmed by the sheer beauty of the tree in front of me. I actually had to go over to it and stand as close as possible; the emotion was that powerful.
Now some psychological studies have shown that in colder climates people are more attracted to the ‘warmer’ colours: red and yellow. It might be that my reaction to that tree was a deep seated response that we naturally have toward flame colours when we are chilly. It may well have simply been my inner caveman trying to get warm by the fire.
There again it could be I was reacting to a gold overdose. Charles A. Riley II said of the colour gold and the reaction to it that spans all cultures, that it “expresses … the apex of spirituality, and intuition.” Quite what that might really mean is open to discussion, but Christmas is a good a time as any to ponder stuff like this.
What though of other coloured tree decoration schemes.A neighbour of ours always decorated a vivid light blue plastic tree at Christmas and I always thought it was hideous. Bottomley and Doyle wrote a paper about a decade ago entitled. “The interactive effects of colors and products on perceptions of brand logo appropriateness”. They showed that people have strong reactions to ‘appropriate’ colours in appropriate settings. People seem to naturally agree that if a brand sells a certain mood its logo should be in a corresponding colour. Perhaps my reaction to the blue tree was born of the same psychology. Christmas is about warmth, giving, friendliness , comfort etc. And electric blue is not the colour normally associated with such sentiments.