When the weather turns cold and Thanksgiving is in the rear-view mirror, it’s time to start putting up those Christmas wreaths. While seasonal wreaths are becoming more popular and styles are available for every holiday, there’s just something about a traditional Christmas wreath, decorated with ornaments and finished with a big bow.
Christmas wreaths are an indisputable sign that the holidays are fast approaching—they’re often one of the first symbols of the season to appear on doors and hanging in windows.
ORIGIN OF THE WREATH
The word “wreath” derives from the word “writhen” meaning “band” and “twist,” since the greenery is twisted into a particular shape. The wreath itself dates at least to ancient Greece and Rome; they symbolized one’s status and rank, much like a crown. (Julius Caesar is often shown wearing a wreath.) In ancient Greece, laurel wreaths were also used to crown Olympic winners. Some people have speculated that in order to preserve the wreaths, athletes would hang them up as a decoration.
But what about the wreath as a symbol of the holidays?
THE ADVENT OF THE CHRISTMAS WREATH
The tradition dates back to the 16th century (if not further), in northern and eastern Europe. When Christmas trees were pruned to fit into a room or attain a particular shape, the excess was turned into garlands or wreaths so there would be no waste. The wreaths weren’t originally used to decorate doors or windows--they were hung on the Christmas tree itself as a decoration. The circle shape represented eternity, or perfection. Wreaths also became an Advent tradition; they held candles symbolizing such attributes as joy and peace.
The use of pine trees was also important since they continued thriving throughout the winter and kept their deep green color.
Some trace the wreath back to Yule, a pagan holiday that marked the return of spring. The 12-day festival, held primarily in Germany and Scandinavian countries, featured wreaths holding candles, symbolizing the return of sun and warmth after a harsh winter.
CHRISTMAS WREATHS TODAY
Today, wreaths often symbolize the approach of the Christmas season. While many people hold to the tradition of using fresh pine boughs, wreaths can also be made out of artificial greens, baubles, berries, and a variety of other materials. Christmas wreaths are often decorated with Christmas ornaments, Christmas lights, ribbons, bows, and other holiday decor. Artificial Christmas Wreaths come in a variety of sizes, with 24” being the perfect size to fit most front doors, welcoming friends and family into your home or business for the holiday season.
MAKE YOUR OWN CHRISTMAS WREATH
While we can fully customize our wreaths to be any size or color scheme you want, you can also make your own with some common household supplies.
Here’s a fun activity for kids (and adults!):
Paper Christmas Wreath – Making Materials:
- Paper plates
- Dark and light green construction paper
- Red, yellow, blue construction paper or mini pom poms in different colors.
- Glue or tape
Paper Christmas Wreath – Making Instructions:
- Cut out a circle in the middle of the plate ((Grownups—either carefully supervise this part, or do this yourself.)
- Next, have kids cut strips about six inches long of the two kinds of green paper.
- Put each of paper around the outer rim of the plate and glue the ends together. Alternate light and dark green strips. You can cut little triangles at each end or leave as is.
- Cut out little dots of the other colors of the construction paper or use the pom poms. Glue them on to form Christmas balls.
- Add the ribbon.
- Punch a hole in the top and hang up!
If you're looking for a slightly bigger decoration, and one not made out of paper, be sure to check out our selection of Christmas Wreaths!