Meanings and Origins of Christmas Symbols

Joseph Beaird, Staff Writer

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Due to a technical error, this article was not published in time for Christmas. The Spokesman apologizes for this error. 

Many people do not know the origin of many popular Christmas symbols. Without seeing the reason for these famous icons, they lose their importance. When we look back at the history of these symbols, we discover their true meaning and purpose.

The holly berry is a common Christmas decoration that is incredibly durable. It is known to withstand temperatures of 110 degrees fahrenheit to -40 degrees fahrenheit. Naturally, it is easy to see how this became a sign of immortality.

As a Christmas symbol, the holly berry can be interpreted as Jesus’ life and suffering. The red of the berries represent Christ’s blood that he shed for to save us from our sins. The sharp and thorny leaves symbolize the Crown of Thorns that he wore during his Passion.

A common Christmas tradition is hanging a wreath on your door. We have been participating in this festivity for a long time, but just how have wreaths existed? Ever since ancient Olympics, wreaths have existed as a form of victory crowns. They were made of laurel and other common tree branches from that area.

The classic Christmas evergreen wreath was created in Italy and Spain in the early 19th century. In a Christian household, wreaths symbolize eternal life because they have no beginning and no end. These wreaths are often accompanied by holly berries and a red bow.

Poinsettias are an extremely popular Christmas decoration often found on many people’s porches. Even Servite sells these colorful Christmas plants. They come in three different colors: red, white, or pink. The most common color of poinsettia is red and it is the official December birth plant. Poinsettias symbolize festivity and success.

Some other name that the poinsettia is known as are the Mexican Flame Leaf, Winter Rose, Noche Buena, and Atakurk’s Flower  The plant was made known by the general public in 1825, when an US Ambassador to Mexico, named Joel Roberts Poinsett (hence the name poinsettia), brought the plant back to his plantation in South Carolina. His friend John Barroom sent the plant to a florist from Pennsylvania named Robert Buist.

Buist was the first person known to have sold the poinsettia with its latin name, Euphorbia pulcherrima, or the most beautiful Euphorbia. It was not until the 1830’s people began to call it the poinsettia after discovering Joel Roberts Poinsett sent it to America from Mexico.

The evergreen tree’s association with Christmas dates all the way back to Scandinavian and Norse tradition. Trees were decorated and lit with candles with the belief that it would ward off evil in their homes. Christians decorate their trees in a very similar way, yet it has a different purpose and meaning.

We still decorate evergreen trees with lights and ornaments and the presence of them inside our homes is joyful. But we do not recognize the evergreen as a means of keeping away evil. Its main purpose is to welcome Christ into our homes.

Evergreen trees are famous for being tough and durable. Even during the winter months, they do not lose their pine needles. The evergreen can almost be seen as a model for how we should act during Christmas. Although we are often tested, we should remain strong and hope and prepare for the birth of Christ.

When people think of Santa Claus’s origins, everyone knows he is inspired from St. Nicholas. Even though this is accurate, it is not the entire truth. The modern Santa that we know and love has a much different origin.

Everyone recognizes Santa Claus as the jolly, fat, bearded-man dressed in red and white. But no one realizes that our modern conception of Santa is different from the traditional European legacy of St. Nick. The Santa we know and love was created by Coca Cola’s advertising team.

An artist named Haddon Sundblom painted advertisements for Coca Cola in the Saturday Evening Post. His first version of Santa appeared in 1931 and was continually revised until 1964. His final 1964 version of Mr. Claus is the Santa that we all know and love.

Clearly, Christmas symbols have a variety of origins. So, as we deck the halls this Christmas season, don’t forget that we are continuing the legacy of Christmas traditions from around the world!

Many people do not know the origin of many popular Christmas symbols. Without seeing the reason for these famous icons, they lose their importance. When we look back at the history of these symbols, we discover their true meaning and purpose.

The holly berry is a common Christmas decoration that is incredibly durable. It is known to withstand temperatures of 110 degrees fahrenheit to -40 degrees fahrenheit. Naturally, it is easy to see how this became a sign of immortality.

As a Christmas symbol, the holly berry can be interpreted as Jesus’ life and suffering. The red of the berries represent Christ’s blood that he shed for to save us from our sins. The sharp and thorny leaves symbolize the Crown of Thorns that he wore during his Passion.

A common Christmas tradition is hanging a wreath on your door. We have been participating in this festivity for a long time, but just how have wreaths existed? Ever since ancient Olympics, wreaths have existed as a form of victory crowns. They were made of laurel and other common tree branches from that area.

The classic Christmas evergreen wreath was created in Italy and Spain in the early 19th century. In a Christian household, wreaths symbolize eternal life because they have no beginning and no end. These wreaths are often accompanied by holly berries and a red bow.

Poinsettias are an extremely popular Christmas decoration often found on many people’s porches. Even Servite sells these colorful Christmas plants. They come in three different colors: red, white, or pink. The most common color of poinsettia is red and it is the official December birth plant. Poinsettias symbolize festivity and success.

Some other name that the poinsettia is known as are the Mexican Flame Leaf, Winter Rose, Noche Buena, and Atakurk’s Flower  The plant was made known by the general public in 1825, when an US Ambassador to Mexico, named Joel Roberts Poinsett (hence the name poinsettia), brought the plant back to his plantation in South Carolina. His friend John Barroom sent the plant to a florist from Pennsylvania named Robert Buist.

Buist was the first person known to have sold the poinsettia with its latin name, Euphorbia pulcherrima, or the most beautiful Euphorbia. It was not until the 1830’s people began to call it the poinsettia after discovering Joel Roberts Poinsett sent it to America from Mexico.

The evergreen tree’s association with Christmas dates all the way back to Scandinavian and Norse tradition. Trees were decorated and lit with candles with the belief that it would ward off evil in their homes. Christians decorate their trees in a very similar way, yet it has a different purpose and meaning.

We still decorate evergreen trees with lights and ornaments and the presence of them inside our homes is joyful. But we do not recognize the evergreen as a means of keeping away evil. Its main purpose is to welcome Christ into our homes.

Evergreen trees are famous for being tough and durable. Even during the winter months, they do not lose their pine needles. The evergreen can almost be seen as a model for how we should act during Christmas. Although we are often tested, we should remain strong and hope and prepare for the birth of Christ.

When people think of Santa Claus’s origins, everyone knows he is inspired from St. Nicholas. Even though this is accurate, it is not the entire truth. The modern Santa that we know and love has a much different origin.

Everyone recognizes Santa Claus as the jolly, fat, bearded-man dressed in red and white. But no one realizes that our modern conception of Santa is different from the traditional European legacy of St. Nick. The Santa we know and love was created by Coca Cola’s advertising team.

An artist named Haddon Sundblom painted advertisements for Coca Cola in the Saturday Evening Post. His first version of Santa appeared in 1931 and was continually revised until 1964. His final 1964 version of Mr. Claus is the Santa that we all know and love.

Clearly, Christmas symbols have a variety of origins. So, as we deck the halls this Christmas season, don’t forget that we are continuing the legacy of Christmas traditions from around the world!

Many people do not know the origin of many popular Christmas symbols. Without seeing the reason for these famous icons, they lose their importance. When we look back at the history of these symbols, we discover their true meaning and purpose.

The holly berry is a common Christmas decoration that is incredibly durable. It is known to withstand temperatures of 110 degrees fahrenheit to -40 degrees fahrenheit. Naturally, it is easy to see how this became a sign of immortality.

As a Christmas symbol, the holly berry can be interpreted as Jesus’ life and suffering. The red of the berries represent Christ’s blood that he shed for to save us from our sins. The sharp and thorny leaves symbolize the Crown of Thorns that he wore during his Passion.

A common Christmas tradition is hanging a wreath on your door. We have been participating in this festivity for a long time, but just how have wreaths existed? Ever since ancient Olympics, wreaths have existed as a form of victory crowns. They were made of laurel and other common tree branches from that area.

The classic Christmas evergreen wreath was created in Italy and Spain in the early 19th century. In a Christian household, wreaths symbolize eternal life because they have no beginning and no end. These wreaths are often accompanied by holly berries and a red bow.

Poinsettias are an extremely popular Christmas decoration often found on many people’s porches. Even Servite sells these colorful Christmas plants. They come in three different colors: red, white, or pink. The most common color of poinsettia is red and it is the official December birth plant. Poinsettias symbolize festivity and success.

Some other name that the poinsettia is known as are the Mexican Flame Leaf, Winter Rose, Noche Buena, and Atakurk’s Flower  The plant was made known by the general public in 1825, when an US Ambassador to Mexico, named Joel Roberts Poinsett (hence the name poinsettia), brought the plant back to his plantation in South Carolina. His friend John Barroom sent the plant to a florist from Pennsylvania named Robert Buist.

Buist was the first person known to have sold the poinsettia with its latin name, Euphorbia pulcherrima, or the most beautiful Euphorbia. It was not until the 1830’s people began to call it the poinsettia after discovering Joel Roberts Poinsett sent it to America from Mexico.

The evergreen tree’s association with Christmas dates all the way back to Scandinavian and Norse tradition. Trees were decorated and lit with candles with the belief that it would ward off evil in their homes. Christians decorate their trees in a very similar way, yet it has a different purpose and meaning.

We still decorate evergreen trees with lights and ornaments and the presence of them inside our homes is joyful. But we do not recognize the evergreen as a means of keeping away evil. Its main purpose is to welcome Christ into our homes.

Evergreen trees are famous for being tough and durable. Even during the winter months, they do not lose their pine needles. The evergreen can almost be seen as a model for how we should act during Christmas. Although we are often tested, we should remain strong and hope and prepare for the birth of Christ.

When people think of Santa Claus’s origins, everyone knows he is inspired from St. Nicholas. Even though this is accurate, it is not the entire truth. The modern Santa that we know and love has a much different origin.

Everyone recognizes Santa Claus as the jolly, fat, bearded-man dressed in red and white. But no one realizes that our modern conception of Santa is different from the traditional European legacy of St. Nick. The Santa we know and love was created by Coca Cola’s advertising team.

An artist named Haddon Sundblom painted advertisements for Coca Cola in the Saturday Evening Post. His first version of Santa appeared in 1931 and was continually revised until 1964. His final 1964 version of Mr. Claus is the Santa that we all know and love.

Clearly, Christmas symbols have a variety of origins. So, as we deck the halls this Christmas season, don’t forget that we are continuing the legacy of Christmas traditions from around the world!

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