Chestnuts roasting on an open fire.
Jack Frost nipping at your nose.
Stockings hung by the chimney with care.
There are plenty of Christmas decorations and traditions that just make sense for the festive season, but what about stopping to ask just why we do some of the things we do?
Take the Christmas wreath, for example.
Often featuring cranberries, pine cones, or big red bows, wreaths have long been a staple of the Christmas season. But how much do you know about these beautiful festive additions?
Interestingly, the wreath discussion is pretty layered.
As with most cultural traditions, the festive wreath has its roots in several different religions and cultures. Depending on who you ask, some people see the holiday wreath as being entirely secular and simply decorative. Others, however, link the evergreen branches back to early Christianity.
Despite its widespread popularity today, the wreath started with humble beginnings and there are generally two different schools of thought when it comes to its origin.
The first notes that the wreath dates back to ancient Greece & Rome, where members of Greco-Roman society would handmake ring-shaped wreaths using fresh tree leaves, twigs, small fruits & flowers. Worn as headdresses, these wreaths represented one’s occupation, rank, achievements, and status. The olive wreath was also used as the prize for the winner at the ancient Olympic Games while laurel wreaths became associated with victory and achievement.
The second theory on the history of the wreath links back to early Christianity, where they were used as a popular symbol to celebrate the birth of Christ. Evergreen items carry the religious symbolism of everlasting life, a theological concept within that Christian faith. Wreaths were also used to educate congregants about the meaning and coming of Christmas.
The custom of bringing evergreens home during the winter began in the 16th century among northern and eastern Europeans — with Germans commonly credited with starting the Christmas tree tradition. During this period, pruning the tree was a part of the preparation process. Limbs of the tree were often cut off to make the tree more uniform in shape or to fit into a room. Instead of throwing the pieces of greenery away, they wove the excess into wreaths.
This tradition along with many other Christmas traditions from northern and eastern Europe was adopted by the masses beginning in the 19th century.
So, whether you choose to hang a wreath for religious reasons or for décor, knowing the history behind the custom makes it all the more interesting. Plus, now you have a great topic of conversation over the Christmas dinner table!
The word “wreath” is drawn from an old English word “writhen” meaning to twist. And this essentially is what a wreath is- a beautiful twist of fresh foliage and decorative materials.
Traditionally, wreaths were made using evergreen branches woven in a circular shape. Dried fruit, holly and bows were used to add a festive and aromatic touch.
Today, you'll see a lot of variety in wreaths.
Some people decorate them with fabric, pins, buttons, jewels, or shells. Some people even stray from the traditional evergreen branches entirely, getting creative with all sorts of materials such as wool and metal!
The fantastic thing about wreaths is that they are super versatile and can be customised to your personal taste. To get started, why not try out our simple step-by-step guide on making your very own:
We believe there is nothing more satisfying than being welcomed to your door by your own handmade wreath which is why we are so excited to announce the launch of our new DIY Christmas Wreath Kits.
Each kit contains everything you need to create your very own festive masterpiece from the comfort and cosiness of your own home.
In your kit, you'll find:
These kits also make an excellent pre-Christmas gift to individuals or teams who love crafting or could use a little Christmas cheer. And could provide an excellent team-building activity for remote teams during the festive season.The kits are priced at just €38 and can be delivered nationwide in Ireland & Northern Ireland.
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