Christmas Trees in church


My Norvus Ordo parish decorates Christmas trees and puts them around the sanctuary this time of year. Are Christmas trees put up in traditional churches? I am wondering is this is a recent practice or was always done. Thank you!


Recent, yes, as in the last few hundred years. From around the mid 1800s.


Your parish. Parishes are not designated this way.


I attend an FSSP parish and we have Christmas trees come up on Christmas Eve.


The Christmas tree for our parish was decorated with angel tree tags for people to take, to buy a gift for a child that may not otherwise get gifts. There was a Christmas train around the tree with a sign saying “Do Not Touch!.” Only the priest or his designee could start the train.


The Norvus Ordo parish I attend. Is that better?


Since some of our decorations predate Vatican 2. I’m guessing we’ve always had a tree included with decorations.


We have trees with white lights and pots and pots of pointsettias. Think of trees as big plants.


No that’s not really better. I’m pretty traditional but to distinguish a parish “a definition of geography” as a novus ordo one is silly.


Nope. It’s a Catholic parish.


If all Catholic parishes are the same without distinction then why do we have a separate “Traditional” section?


CAF isn’t divided into parishes. A parish is geographic in nature, with the exception of a few personal parishes.


That’s not what the “Traditional Catholicism” sub forum is about.


Could you help me understand what it is referring to then? I thought the “Traditional” forum was where to go to ask questions to people who attend FSSP, EF Masses, etc.

I am genuinely confused.

I was trying to find out if Christmas trees are only in Norvus Ordo Masses.


You called your parish Novus Ordo. That’s not how parishes are designated. There are various forms of the liturgy—the Ordinary Form being the appropriate term for what you’re calling Novus Ordo.

And for the record, there have always been Christmas trees at Masses I’ve attended during the Christmas season .


The following is the description provided by CAF for the “Traditional Catholicism” sub forum:

“Discussion of Catholic traditions and customs”


I think Christmas trees are pretty common aspects of altar decor during the Christmas season. I don’t recall that I’ve specifically seen the inside of our local oratory where Latin Mass is celebrated during Christmas, but they’ve sure got plenty of lights and decorations on the outside of the church.


I sometimes attend the Latin mass, and I am a fan of good liturgy.

However, I’m going to to explain why there is no such thing as a “Novus Ordo Parish.”

There are many kinds of Catholic Churches: Parish Church, mission church, chapels, oratories, etc. But there are only two kinds of Parishes.

Territorial Parishes and Personal Parishes

Every single Roman Rite territorial parish has to provide the Ordinary Form of the Mass. They can offer the Extraordinary Mass in addition, but they must offer the Ordinary Form.

Now a personal parish can be tailored to a specific community and often tailored to the select community’s shared devotions, background, interests, etc.

Any Catholic Church that only offers the Extraordinary Form of the Mass is either a Personal Parish, Chapel, Personal Quasi-Parish or Mission Church.

There are no territorial Parishes that only offer the Extraordinary Form.

Therefore, it is quite correct to refer to a personal parish that offers only the Extraordinary Form as an “Extraordinary Form Parish,” but it is totally redundant to refer to a territorial parish as a “Novus Ordo Parish” because all territorial Parishes offer the Ordinary Form.

If you wish to emphasize what kind of parish you are referring to, you may simply refer to it as “my territorial parish.”

I hope this helps.

NOTE: in regards to setting up Christmas trees in the parish, most Parishes have traditionally put them up after the last public Advent liturgy on Dec 24th.

However, as some Parishes no longer have full time maintenance staffs (they contract out for cleaning and maintenance), it is hard for them to decorate on Dec 24th unless they have dedicated volunteers who are willing to keep the Dec 24th tradition.

But unfortunately, over the years, as the Baby Boomers have taken over the volunteer leadership and the priesthood, some traditions have been relaxed - sometimes due to logistical concerns and others just out of general dislike of “tradition” (which Baby Boomers are universally known for - both in and out of the Church).

God Bless


If your question is specific to the ordinary form Mass, then you’d want to put that question in the “Liturgy and Sacraments” sub forum.

If your question is about Christmas trees in general being in Churches, then “Traditional Catholicism” is the right sub forum because that would be a tradition.


Thank you Phil, this must have taken you a long time to type and I really appreciate the effort you put into it :slightly_smiling_face:

There is a lot that I don’t know or understand and I’m trying to learn so posts like these are very educational. There are lots of nuances to grasp. Thank you!

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit