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The Symbolism of Holiday Decor

With all the holiday hustle driving us from one party to the next, and one store to another, it’s hard not to take for granted the symbols and traditions passed down hundreds of years that collectively have become Christmas. Winter days are the shortest of the whole year, and it’s almost impossible to find a quiet moment for reflection. But families who gather together and consider the symbolism behind all the spangles are sure to bring more spirit into their season. After all, these baubles and boughs weren’t meant to be mere frippery to waste money on. Christmas ornamentation and holiday decor have significance that can strike awe and wonder as deeply in our hearts as the angel who appeared to the shepherds did on that most holy night.

Take the star, for instance, one of the basic shapes associated with Christmas. When we place it atop our evergreen trees, we bring into our home a reminder that heavenly signs of prophecy were fulfilled long, long ago when a new star appeared in the heavens over the manger where the newborn Christ-child lay. The star is the shining hope of mankind.

Like the star, candles symbolize Christ, who is the light of the world. They mirror starlight, just as we reflect our thanks for the Star of Bethlehem. In recent years candles have been replaced by electric twinkling lights, which carry the same meaning.

Even the sounds we associate with Christmas have meaning, and the ringing of bells reach out to the lost sheep, guiding them back to the fold on Christmas Day. For all are precious in God’s sight.

It is said that 350 years ago a German choir director gave out candy sticks to the children in his choir to keep them quiet during the ceremony. To give the candy more spiritual significance, he bent them to look like shepherd’s crooks. Over the years candy cane makers added the red bands—a thick one to represent Christ’s sacrifice, and two smaller ones to show the stripes with which he saved all mankind. The white background symbolized Christ’s sinless nature. Even the flavor—peppermint—has meaning, for in the Old Testament mint (hyssop) was used for purification and sacrifice.

Although originally used in winter solstice ceremonies, and even outlawed in America as a pagan ritual, the evergreen tree has become one of the most poignant symbols of Christianity. The needles, pointing up to heaven, stay green all year long, reminding us that life is everlasting if we look to Him above.

The very first Christmas trees were used in miracle and mystery plays performed in Western Germany during the middle ages. These trees, called “Paradise Trees” were decorated with red apples, and used to tell the story of Adam and Eve. Later, the plays ceased to be performed in Germany, but the symbol was planted in the minds of the people, who began using trees decorated with apples in their own homes to teach their children. The color red is the first color of Christmas, a symbol of Christ’s sacrifice for all. Representing the fruits of redemption, other ornaments were soon added as decorations, starting with wafers (cookies) made from white dough and formed into the shapes of angels, flowers, bells, hearts, and stars.

Gift-giving is a universal tradition that spreads good cheer, and even the wrapping has significance. The bows that we fasten on the tree branches, and top presents with are tied as we should all be, tied together in bonds of goodwill forever.

Christmas is a symbolic holiday meant to turn the hearts of Christians to Jesus Christ by commemorating his birth and his life. By remembering the symbolism behind the symbols, the holiday will take on more meaning in our lives.

About the Author:
Fran Black is a creator at for Ornament Shop http://www.ornament-shop.net and Craft Kits http://www.craft-kits.net leading portals for crafts and ornaments.

 

 


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