Suntrap Garden

The Colours of Christmas

Have you ever wondered why we decorate Christmas trees and where the traditions of Christmas come from.

The traditional colours of Christmas are green and red. Green represents the continuance of life through the winter and the Christian belief in eternal life through Christ. Red symbolizes the blood that Jesus shed at His Crucifixion. Christmas decorations that feature these colours include the Christmas tree, the Christmas wreath, holly, and mistletoe.


The Christmas wreath, like the evergreens used as Christmas trees, symbolizes the strength of life overcoming the forces of winter. In ancient Rome, people used decorative wreaths as a sign of victory and celebration.


The custom of hanging a Christmas wreath on the front door of the home probably came from this practice.

Holly is an evergreen tree with sharply pointed, glossy leaves and red berries. It is used in making Christmas wreaths and other decorations. The needle like points of the leaves were thought to resemble the crown of thorns that Jesus wore when he was crucified. The red berries symbolized the drops of blood he shed.images

Mistletoe is an evergreen plant with dark leaves and shiny white berries. Ancient Celtic priests considered the plant sacred and gave people sprigs of it to use as charms. The custom of decorating homes with mistletoe probably came from its use as a ceremonial plant by early Europeans. In many countries, a person standing under a sprig of mistletoe may be kissed.


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