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Saturday, December 4, 2010

12 Days of Vintage Christmas Decorating - First Day

On the First Day of Vintage Christmas Decorating, I hung my wreaths!

I love decorating for Christmas, more than any other holiday, but I am not one to decorate far in advance. This year I had to start decorating my booth at the antique mall earlier than I usually decorate for Christmas and I decorated the shop the weekend after Thanksgiving. At home, I tend to decorate in the two weeks before Christmas. This is the first of the Twelve Days of Vintage Christmas Decorating.
I always start decorating my home with the wreath on my front door. Nearly every Christian puts a wreath on their door at Christmastime, but do you know the history of the Christmas wreath? I did not know the full history myself.

A Brief History of Christmas Wreaths
The word wreath is derived from the old English word, writhen, meaning to writhe or twist. For centuries, holiday wreaths have been made by twisting greens into circular shapes. The ancient cultures of the Persian Empire used small wreaths, or diadems, to symbolize importance and success. They wore these small wreaths as headbands. The holiday wreath is believed to be based on these earlier wreaths and those worn on the head by Olympic athletes and victorious soldiers approximately 800 years before Christ. It is believed that athletes and soldiers brought home their head adornments and hung them on doors and walls as trophies of their victory, thus creating a tradition of using wreaths in this way.

Christians believe that circular Christmas wreaths, with no beginning and no end, are a symbol of God's eternity. Wreaths made of evergreen branches symbolize God's love, hope and new life. In addition, the evergreens show hope and life through the tough winter.

The most traditional Christmas wreath is the Advent wreath. Made of evergreens and lying flat on a table, it has four candles around the wreath and one in the center of the wreath. A candle on the perimiter of the wreath is lit each week of the Advent season and the final center candle, the Christ candle, is lit on Christmas eve.

Vintage Wreaths

Since wreaths have been made of live materials for centuries, I do not believe there are really any "antique" wreaths. Please comment to correct me if I am mistaken. However, there may be vintage wreaths of artificial materials from the early to mid-1900s available at some flea markets and antique malls. Most of the wreaths I have seen for sale in these venues, however, are hand crafted or decorated new wreaths. If anyone can share more knowledge about vintage wreaths, I would love to read about your perspective.

The Wreath on My Front Door

With my allergy to evergreens, especially Blue Spruce, as well as the mold spores often buried in greens, I have had to celebrate with artificial wreaths and trees to survive the holidays. I do love the smell and look of real evergreens, though! For many years I have used a very simple, but fake, evergreen wreath with a bright red bow. I love this simple look.

In recent years I have been more and more attracted to bright and shiny decorations, perhaps due to declining eyesight with age? I found this new wreath at Pier One Imports and I had to have it. I love the shiny coppery bronze balls and painted pine cones! Not to worry, the old wreath will not end up in a landfill yet. I will sell it in my antique booth.

This year I also got two wreaths for the front windows for a change of pace from the usual window candles I have used for many years. Sixty % off at Michaels, too!

Here are some other Christmas wreaths I use around the house on doors to various rooms or hung on the wall.

Is it possible to put a photo in a comment? If so, send me a picture of your wreath!



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