Everybody loves decorating their home for Christmas. From hanging holiday lights outside your house to dressing the Christmas tree with garland, there’s no better way to get yourself into the holiday spirit than by hanging some of your favorite winter decorations. Have you ever stopped to wonder where these decorating traditions began? Whose idea was it to hang stockings by the fireplace? Where did the concept of mistletoe even come from? In this blog, we’ve set out to answer a few of these questions. Let’s take a look at some interesting things you probably never knew about your Christmas decorations below!
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The Christmas Wreath
As one of the most traditional holiday decorations, the Christmas wreath has a classic charm and beauty that works well in every home. While the history of the wreath is a little vague, one theory claims that the wreath can date all the way back to ancient Greece and Rome. It is believed that the Greco-Roman society would make wreaths out of tree leaves, twigs, flowers, and small fruits. Some people believe that wreaths back then represented one’s occupation, rank, and status. Laurel wreaths were used to crown the victors of sporting events, and this tradition still rings true during the Olympic Games (where medals are engraved with sprigs of laurel).
Another theory revolves around wreaths dating back roughly 1,000 years before the birth of Christ. Pagans who would celebrate the solstice would make wreaths as a sign of perseverance through harsh winters and hopes of a coming spring. It wasn’t until the 16th century that Catholics and Protestants throughout Germany had adopted these pagan symbols to celebrate the Advent, also known as the season of awaiting and preparing for the birth of Christ. A traditional Advent wreath often consisted of four candles in a circle of evergreens, with a fifth candle in the middle. One candle was normally lit at dinnertime, with an additional candle being lit every week. The last candle was always lit on Christmas Eve and represented the birth of Jesus.
These days, people all over the world use wreaths to decorate for the Christmas seasons. At The Christmas Light Emporium, we’re proud to offer an extensive selection of decorative Christmas wreaths to add flair to your home decor. We offer a variety of blended pine Christmas wreaths and pre-lit wreaths that will look wonderful on your front door or above your fireplace. Shop our Christmas wreaths online today!
The Christmas Tree
A Christmas tree is normally an evergreen, pine, or fir tree that has been decorated with lights and ornaments. The use of evergreen trees, wreaths, and even garland, was once used to symbolize eternal life among the Egyptians, Chinese, and Hebrews. The modern Christmas tree, however, originated in west Germany. As a main prop of a popular medieval play about Adam and Eve was known as a “paradise tree,” which was a fir tree hung with apples that represented the Garden of Eden. Germans would set up a paradise tree in their homes on December 24th, also known as the religious feast day of Adam and Eve. Many would hang wafers on their tree to symbolize the Eucharist host, which is the Christian sign of redemption. Candles, which were often seen as a symbolism of Christ, were also added to trees for decoration.
The Germans were also fond of what was known as the “Christmas Pyramid.” This was a triangular construction of wood that had shelves to specifically hold Christmas figurines. This shelf was often decorated with evergreens, candles, and a star. It wasn’t until the 16th century that the paradise tree and Christmas pyramid had merged, becoming the Christmas tree.
This new custom was widespread among the German Lutherans by the 18th century, but it took another century for the Christmas tree to become deep-rooted in German tradition. The Christmas tree was then introduced to England in the early 19th century. Popularized by German Prince Albert and Queen Victoria, their tree was often decorated with small toys, gifts, candles, popcorn strings, and ribbon. The Christmas tree was then taken to North America by German Settlers, who introduced this popular tradition to Americans.
In part two of this series, we’ll look at some more interesting things you probably never know about your Christmas Decorations. If you’re shopping for LED Christmas lights to hang on your tree, banister, or house, be sure to check out The Christmas Light Emporium’s large array of Christmas lights online.