I stumbled onto a blog that has a post called Symbolism I found interesting.
“What with all the hoo-ha about the Sea-Tac Airport Xmas Tree thang, I thought I’d pose the question: Is a Christmas Tree a religious symbol?
As far as I know, the Christmas Tree’s origins are thus: It is a Pagan symbol of a flaming/burning tree (I can’t remember off the top of my head the purpose but I know it’s Solstice-related – I’m at work so I can’t go look it up right now). Like the Yule Log, it was incorporated into Christian traditions when Rome was trying to convert the Pagan peoples of Europe to Christianity – If you guys join us, we’ll let you keep your tree and log symbols. See what a nice, inclusive religion this is? Now join up or we’ll conquer you. It was a carrot to gain converts. Fair enough, Christianity has always been about marketing and spin (hence the Council of Nicea and the like) in order to gain converts.
On this basis, I believe that the tree is a religious symbol. Either A) It’s a religious symbol for the Pagans or B) it’s a religious symbol by incorporation (same with eggs at Easter re: Pagan fertility beliefs) for Christians. Christmas Trees are found in Christian churches and Christian homes, and are named for the Christian holiday for which people procure them.”