Christmas Symbols: The Wreath

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A wreath, by definition, is a ring made of flowers, leaves and sometimes fruits that can be used as an ornament, hanging on a wall or door, or resting on a table. A small wreath can be also worn on the head as a form of headdress.

Wreaths are usually made from evergreens as a symbol for the strength of life, with these plants overcoming even the harshest winters. Such wreaths often use Bay Laurel (Laurus nobilis) and can be categorized as laurel wreaths. Other components of a wreath can be pine, holly or yew, symbolizing immortality, and cedar, symbolizing strength and healing. The Greek god Apollo is often associated with wreaths, and was a god of life and health. This inspired the Greek to use the symbol as crowns of victory at the Pythian Games, a forerunner to today’s Olympic Games. The circularity of wreaths can be used to symbolize eternity or immortality.

In Northern Europe, wreaths made of branches of conifer trees (especially firs) are commonly used as a symbol of remembrance of the deceased. For that purpose, such wreaths are often left at graves at burial, or in cases of burial-at-sea, left to float at the sea.

A wreath made of mostly evergreen tree twigs, sometimes with pine cones and/or a bow made of red ribbon is a common Christmas decoration. Christian households and churches often use an advent wreath made with four (or five) candles in preparation for Christmas. It is used to hang on a door as a symbol for the never-ending love of God.

I’ve made and purchased many different types of wreaths over the years, including the one pictured above which I made of tightly bound straw and decorated with festive flowers and a red bow.  One of my favorite wreaths is one my daughter made for her Grandma while in elementary school.  It was made from a coat hanger (shaped into a circle) and then dozens and dozens of strips made from white plastic bags were painstakingly cut and tied on, one by one.  The finished product is a fluffy white wreath that my mother still hangs every year.

If you’re in the mood for a simple, inexpensive, but beautiful and meaningful craft, check out some of the ideas on this site.

(info source)

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9 thoughts on “Christmas Symbols: The Wreath

  1. Ah Nancy … you’ve hit on another of my addictions! I have been teased for years about my love for wreaths, so much in fact my husband threatened ‘to walk’ the yellow pages in search for a ‘Wreaths Annonymous’ program!

  2. I used to hang a wreath on our door every year. Then we got a new front door and I couldn’t stand the thought of hanging a wreath on it so I got out of the habit. I do like the welcoming factor of a wreath. Yours is very nice.

  3. Very interesting – esp. the explanation as to why a wreath is used for burials at sea. I like the idea that wreaths now decorate doors at times other than Christmas. Nothing can be prettier than a wreath with spring flowers.

    Jan
    Always Growing

  4. Hi Nancy – what a topical post this is for me as I’ve just hung our wreath up on the door.

    Lots of frost here this morning, but sadly no snow yet to partake in your project!

  5. I hang a wreath every year. I can’t bear to pound nails though, so I use those wreath holders instead. Ths year I put some up on my exterior lights too. I like to be reminded of all of the Christmas symbols. They’re lessons we learn when we are young and seem to forget as time passes by. Thanks for the reminder.

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