Decorating for Christmas is such a big part of the holidays. Everywhere you turn you see bright lights, stars, bells, bows, candles, Christmas Trees and more. In our hometown of Southbury, Connecticut there’s a Christmas Lights Trail and this year more than double the number of houses chose to participate in the lightshow. Everyone needs something to make us smile this year, and there’s no better time than Christmas to put a smile on our face and to feel the way we did when we were kids. When I came home from working at Piper and Dune the other night, Matt re-strung our hockey pond lights (which had fallen during a recent storm), he added some more lights to our barn and Patrick added the fresh garland, wreaths and lights to the front porch. It is amazing how the bright lights exude happiness. Looking around, I am reminded of the symbolism behind these decorations. So, regardless of your religion, I thought you might have fun learning about some of these Christian symbols that are all around us this time of year:
Bells - especially Church Bells, have been associated with Christmas for a very long time. In churches that have a Bell(s), they are often rung to signal the start of the service.
Bows - The wise men who brought their gifts to honor the birth of Jesus inspired the concept of giving gifts during the holidays; they brought gifts of gold, incense, and myrrh to the newborn baby Jesus. It is said that a ribbon (bow) is tied around a gift to represent how people should all be tied together in bonds of unity and goodwill during the holiday season.
Candles - Christmas lights are thought to remind us that Jesus Christ is the Light of the World. Candles can also remind us to be lights to others and to find our way to Christ. A candle is also a symbol representing the star of Bethlehem.
Candy Canes - The white color symbolizes the purity of the Christmas season. Red stripes are symbolic of the blood shed by Christ on the cross so that we may have eternal life. The candy is formed into a "J" to represent the precious name of Jesus; others believe it is formed in the shape of a shepherd's hook.
Colors of Christmas - Most of the colors and their meanings come from the western/northern European traditions and customs, when Christmas is in the middle of winter and it's dark and cold.
- The color Red is used at Christmas to represent the blood of Jesus when he died on the cross. It's also reflected in the color of holly berries. Red is the color of Holly berries, which is said to represent the blood of Jesus when he died on the cross. Red is also the color of Bishop’s robes. These would have been worn by St. Nicholas- Santa's uniform!
- Green - Evergreen plants, like Holly, Ivy and Mistletoe have been used for thousands of years to decorate and brighten up buildings during the long dark winter. They also reminded people that spring would come and that winter wouldn't last forever! The color green signifies everlasting light and life. There is also a legend that when Jesus was born in the dead of winter, all the trees around the world shook off the snow to reveal new shoots of green.
- Gold - is the color of the sun and light - both very important in winter. And both red and gold are the colors of fire that you need to keep you warm during this time. Gold was also one of the presents brought to the baby Jesus by one of the wise men and traditionally it's the color used to show the star that the wise men followed.
- White - is often associated with purity and peace in western cultures. The snow of winter is of course white. The wafers (Eucharist) represented the bread eaten during Christian Communion or Mass, when Christians remember that Jesus died for them.
Evergreen Trees - Christians used evergreens as a symbol of everlasting life with God. The triangular shape of an Evergreen Tree is believed to be symbolic of the holy trinity.
Mistletoe - Mistletoe was a symbol of love and friendship in Norse Mythology, which is where kissing under the Mistletoe comes from.
Stars - The Christmas star symbolizes the star of Bethlehem, which according to the Biblical story, guided the three kings, or wise men, to the baby Jesus. The star is also symbolic of the shining hope for humanity.
Wreaths- The wreath is a circular, never-ending symbol of eternal love and rebirth. Holly also stands for immortality and cedar for strength. Today, the wreath symbolizes generosity, giving, and the gathering of family.
I would encourage each of you to take a ride or walk around your neighborhood, town, or city and look at the lights and the symbols of Christmas. I can almost guarantee the colorful bright lights will bring a smile to your face- just like the western/northern Eurpeans intended so long ago. If ever there was a year when we need to smile it is 2020, so go outside, get inspired, and elevate your spirit this holiday season.
WE’RE STILL TAKING HOLIDAY ORDERS! It’s not too late to place an order with Piper and Dune for Christmas. Piper and Dune will wrap your gifts in cellophane and tissue at no charge. You have the option to have your gifts mailed- we offer FREE shipping for standard delivery on orders of $75 or more (although you may need to accelerate shipping at this point.) We also offer FREE local delivery to Southbury, Woodbury, Middlebury or Oxford addresses. Or, if you order on-line, you can pick up your order at our store in Bennett Square, Southbury, Connecticut. Don’t miss our 25% off sale on all woodwork by Artisan Jesse Morey and 25% all MAHI Leather - valid now through 12/24/20.
For local Southbury shoppers… our store in Bennett Square will be closed tomorrow Thursday 12/17/20 due to the Nor'easter headed our way. For best results, shop on-line and select “in-store pick up” and we’ll have your order wrapped and ready for you to pick up by Friday or Saturday.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to everyone.
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Chris and The Piper and Dune Family