The Meaning of Christmas Wreaths

As we open our bookings for Wreath Making at our Jacks Tearoom & Kitchen in Cirencester, we take the time to investigate the true meaning and significance of this festive tradition…

Wreaths are said to represent the wheel of the year. This correlates with modern-day reasoning to hang a wreath outside across each of the seasons. The word ‘wreath’ is said to come from the old English word ‘writhan’, ‘to twist’, as in a circle or wheel. Some believe it is translated as ‘a thing bound around’ from the Greek word Diadema.

Ancient Romans called wreaths ‘corona’ in Latin. It related to the idea of wearing a wreath on the head, made from leaves, grass, flowers and branches.

So what does the Christmas wreath represent?

Harking back to German folklore in the 16th century, Christmas wreaths were originally Christmas tree ornaments. Evergreen Christmas trees were often pruned to make them uniform in shape or to fit in a room. Instead of throwing away what was chopped off, the excess was woven into a wreath.

They were formed into a wheel-like shape partially for convenience’s sake — it was simple to hang a circle onto the branches of a tree.

But the shape also had symbolic meaning of eternity. Evergreens have traditionally been used for wreath making although now this isn’t necessarily the case because you can of course buy dried flower wreaths. Evergreens however will still look their best in winter when it’s the most popular time to hang a wreath, around Christmas time.

Evergreens represent the continuity of life and nature. Spring is on the way. New life is coming.

The red berries and the thorny leaves of the holly represent the crown of thorns worn by Jesus. The berries are said to represent either the drops of blood that they drew or signs of fertility.

Why hang a wreath on the front door?

Hanging a wreath on our front door at Christmas can be interpreted as an invite to Jesus to enter our home, or as an open invite to the spirit of Christmas to enter our home, along with the good luck it brings.

Outside of this realm of symbolism, you might hang a wreath simply as a form of decoration and self-expression.

Real fresh wreaths, artificial wreaths,  heart shaped wreaths, classic ring wreaths,  eucalyptus wreaths – there’s a lot of shapes, sizes and materials to consider but if you’re making one with us at one of our festive evenings at Jacks, you can create one to suit your own personal taste!