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History of the Christmas Wreath

Updated on October 18, 2014
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Kitty has extensively studied the history, traditions, and celebration of modern holidays. She also studies and celebrates pagan sabbats.

A beautiful Christmas wreath with Christmas Balls
A beautiful Christmas wreath with Christmas Balls | Source
A Natural Christmas Wreath with little Golden Balls
A Natural Christmas Wreath with little Golden Balls | Source
A Deliciously Edible Christmas Wreath of Cupcakes!
A Deliciously Edible Christmas Wreath of Cupcakes! | Source

History of the Christmas Wreath: Where Do Christmas Wreaths Come From?

Christmas wreaths are one of the most beloved Christmas decorations adorning front doors of homes and mantles today. But where did the idea for the Christmas wreath originate? What is the history of the Christmas wreath and why do we find them to be such an integral part of our Christmas decorating on an annual basis?

If we look back to the ancient Celts of Europe, Christmas was celebrated in those times as something known as the Winter Solstice. It is here that we can begin to trace the history of the Christmas wreath. Christmas to the Celts had other names such as Yule and the like; however, the main reasons for celebration was to celebrate the return of the sun or the birth of the god. One of the many decorations that the ancient Celts used in their Winter Solstice traditions and decorations were boughs of holly. Think of the popular Christmas carol "deck the halls with boughs of holly..." and you'll get the picture. Many Christmas wreaths today are made out of holly or made to imitate holly with its bright green, spiky leaves and flamboyantly red berries.

But what about the circular structure of the Christmas wreath? Where did that idea come from? An idea is that the Christmas wreath's circular structure originates from the wreaths or "coronas" that the ancient Romans wore on their heads during festivals and to honor warriors after going into arduous battles. Golden wreaths (or coronas) were worn only by royalty and to commemorate the Roman gods.

The idea of the Christmas wreath being a circle is a powerful symbol that represents many different things, depending on the seasonal holiday you celebrate. If you indeed celebrate Christmas as the birthday of Christ, then the Christmas wreath is said to represent the preparation of the coming of Christ. If you are a Pagan and celebrate Yule, then the Christmas wreath might represent the idea of eternity or divinity. The Christmas wreaths were said to have been constructed of evergreen branches, symbolizing the life of the earth that never truly dies (despite the blistery winter winds and chills).

Throughout the centuries and in many different cultures all over the world the wreath has been used as a costume piece (as a headdress) and also to decorate homes and buildings for the winter season and festivities. Since America and Europe have been Christianized, the wreath has become a symbol widely associated with the Christmas season. Today, the Christmas wreath has a history that can't be particularly determined but can be attributed to a melting pot of religious and cultural beliefs and traditions throughout the centuries, mainly representative of the winter season and the coming of the Sun (or Son of God).

This Christmas, consider the history of the Christmas wreath as you're hanging your Christmas wreath on your front door or above the mantle. Think about what the circle means to you and your family, and decorate your Christmas wreath with symbols of love and life. Decorate your Christmas wreath with representations of this past year and the hope of what the new year brings.

Merry Christmas!


Watch and Learn How To Make Your Own Christmas Wreath!

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  • peachpurple profile image

    peachy 2 years ago from Home Sweet Home

    my mom used to buy a christmas wreath and put it on the door but kept fall off until she got sick and tired of it!

  • ilikegames profile image

    Sarah Forester 3 years ago from Australia

    I didn't realise that there was such a history to the wreath.

  • vibesites profile image

    vibesites 4 years ago from United States

    Thanks for sharing the history of the wreaths, and for the video tutorial. The wreath cupcakes are very nifty idea for a holiday treat. Voted up. :)

  • LifeisLovely profile image

    Megan 4 years ago from Clearwater, Florida

    Great hub, I enjoyed the info and it was definitely interesting.

  • Paradise7 profile image

    Paradise7 4 years ago from Upstate New York

    I liked this very much. I was familiar with the bits of history--what I found interesting was the video. She made it look so simple! And the result was beautiful.

    I also liked how you closed your article. It is true, that circles mean the blessing of wholeness, and a peaceful infinity.

  • Cathy Fidelibus profile image

    Ms. Immortal 4 years ago from NJ

    Thank you, very interesting and heart warming.

  • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

    Glimmer Twin Fan 4 years ago

    This is fascinating. I have never really given the wreath a lot of historical thought. Interesting read. Shared.

  • kittythedreamer profile image
    Author

    Nicole Canfield 4 years ago from the Ether

    Jenn-Anne - That sounds like SO much fun, I'm jealous! Yes, share with them the history of the wreath...they may really enjoy it. Blessings and Happy Holidays!

  • Jenn-Anne profile image

    Jenn-Anne 4 years ago

    Nice hub! I'm having a gaggle of little girls over for a wreath-making party next weekend. Will be fun to be able to talk about the history wreath while making them.

  • kittythedreamer profile image
    Author

    Nicole Canfield 4 years ago from the Ether

    Jo - Awesome, glad to have helped. Blessings!

  • profile image

    jo 4 years ago

    THIS is great info for one of my teachers trivia

  • nighthag profile image

    K.A.E Grove 5 years ago from Australia

    Fascinating read full of interesting facts! Voting up then I may try to make my own wreath for the year

    Thanks!!

  • kittythedreamer profile image
    Author

    Nicole Canfield 5 years ago from the Ether

    Thanks for the read and votes, pmccray. :)

  • pmccray profile image

    pmccray 5 years ago from Utah

    These wreaths are beautiful. Thank you for sharing. Voted up, marked useful, beautiful and interesting.

  • kittythedreamer profile image
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    Nicole Canfield 5 years ago from the Ether

    Thank you, Beth and Newtowasaga.

    Cresentmoon - I'm the same way! Thanks!

  • Cresentmoon2007 profile image

    Cresentmoon2007 5 years ago from Caledonia, MI

    Voted up. I always love to learn about the history of the holidays and certain objects that we incorporate into them. Great hub.

  • newtowasaga profile image

    newtowasaga 5 years ago from Wasaga Beach, Ontario

    Very interesting...love the pictures too. The cupcake wreath, wow so original...

  • bethperry profile image

    Beth Perry 5 years ago from Tennesee

    Very enjoyable info! I love a freshly made wreath, they just make a home feel more welcoming.

  • kittythedreamer profile image
    Author

    Nicole Canfield 5 years ago from the Ether

    randomcreative - Thanks so much!

    Seafarer Mama - Thanks...the idea just sort of hit me as I was writing this hub. :)

  • Seafarer Mama profile image

    Karen Szklany Gault 5 years ago from New England

    Hi Kitty,

    Lovely hub. Especially enjoyed your suggestion of decorating our wreath with symbols that reflect our fondest memories from the past year and our hopes from the coming year.

    Karen

  • randomcreative profile image

    Rose Clearfield 5 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

    Great topic for Christmas! Thanks for sharing.

  • kittythedreamer profile image
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    Nicole Canfield 5 years ago from the Ether

    Awww, thanks Terry. You're awesome. Love ya.

  • profile image

    Terry 5 years ago

    This is wonderful! You are a GREAT writer :)