Christmas Wreath Care
Your fresh wreath will last much longer if it can stay cool and moist. Place your wreath outside if possible or indoors in air conditioning if you live in a warm climate area. You can help your Fraser fir wreath stay fresh looking by misting it daily. Avoid placing your wreath in direct sunlight if possible. The cooler the climate, the longer your Fraser fir wreath will last.
History of Christmas Wreaths
Northern and eastern Europeans started bringing evergreens home during the winter in the 16th century; the Germans are generally credited with starting the Christmas tree tradition. The tree’s pruning during this time was a step in the preparation process. Limbs were frequently removed in an effort to shape the tree more uniformly or to make it fit into a space. The Europeans made wreaths out of the extra greenery rather than discarding it. People at that time did not waste anything. Along with functional and aesthetic considerations, Christians also practiced tree shaping because of its spiritual significance. It was crucial to shape the trees into a triangle to symbolize the Trinity.
The wreath served as a representation of power and victory during the ancient Greek and Roman eras. The Panhellenic games featured wreaths made of olives (Olympia), laurel (Delphi), wild celery (Nemea), and pine (Isthmia) for the winners. A crown made of leaves or flowers, which was worn by the priest during the sacrifice, the hero upon his return from battle, the bride during her wedding, and the guests at a feast, also stood for honor and joy.
But Christmas wreaths added a fresh layer of significance to the conventional notion. These wreaths weren’t always the stand-alone decorations we are accustomed to seeing; they were originally used as Christmas tree ornaments. The reason they were shaped like wheels was partly practical—it was easy to hang a circle from a tree—but the circle also held special significance as a symbol of divine perfection. The shape’s infinity served as a metaphor for eternity.
The evergreen tree, which was used to make the wreaths, was also significant. Since they, unlike most living things, were able to survive the rigors of winter, evergreen trees were a species that was regarded with awe and admiration. Northern and eastern Europe saw a proliferation of the trees, which residents then brought inside their residences. That represented strength, resiliency, and hope to them.
The wreath represents eternal life because of its circular design and evergreen foliage. It also serves as a symbol of faith because during Advent, Christians in Europe would frequently place a candle on the wreath to represent the light that Jesus brought into the world. Johann Hinrich Wichern, a German Lutheran pastor, is often credited with popularizing the advent wreath and lighting candles of various sizes and hues in a circle as Christmas approached.
There are four candles total in that custom—one for each week of Advent. The fourth candle, which was frequently red in color, represented the joy of new life gained through the gift of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. Three of the candles, which were typically purple, stood for the Christian values of hope, peace, and love. On Christmas eve, a white candle is frequently lit to commemorate Jesus’ birth.
Beginning in the 19th century, many people began to follow the tradition of the Advent wreath and other Christmas customs from northern and eastern Europe. Christmas customs from other parts of Europe gained popularity in England thanks to Victoria, Queen of the United Kingdom, and Prince Albert of Germany. American culture in turn was influenced by British culture.