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Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Christmas Symbols and Meanings


There are many symbols we decorate with at Christmas time that are symbolic of deeper meanings. We can do things like put up a nativity set to teach our children about the purpose of Christmas, but there is much more that we can do. As you decorate, you can tell your children what each item symbolizes and why we decorate with it. If you have already decorated, you can go around the house looking for the symbols and talk about them. Here is a list of common decorations and the things they symbolize.


  • Color Red: The color red symbolizes the Savior's sacrifice for us. It is for the blood He spilt for us.
  • Color Green: The color green symbolizes eternal life--life everlasting.
  • Color White: The color white symbolizes the purity of Christ.
  • Color Gold: The color gold symbolizes the royalty of Christ.
  • The Star: the star is representative of the star that shone at the birth of Christ, fulfilling prophecy. The star marked the place where Christ lay, and is the shining hope of all mankind.
  • The Evergreen Tree: Also known as the fir tree...your Christmas tree! This tree represents everlasting life. It is green all year round. Evergreen needles also point up to Heaven. This tree can also symbolize the Jesse Tree; Jesse was the father of King David. Christ is from that lineage.
  • The Bell: Shepherds ring bells to guide lost sheep back to the fold. Remember the parable of the lost sheep; the Shepherd searches for one lost even when he has his ninety-and nine (99). The bell symbolizes that all are precious in the eyes of the Lord. Bells are also rung in celebration for the birth of Christ.
  • The Candle: The candle is a smaller representation for star light. This reflects our gratitude for the star of Bethlehem.
  • The Lights: The lights represent that Jesus is the light of the world.
  • The Gift Bow: The gift bow represents that we should all be tied together in bonds of goodwill.
  • The Candy Cane: The candy cane represents the shape of a shepherd's crook. This crook is used to bring lost lambs back to the fold. The colors (red and white) are used purposefully (see color symbols above). If you turn the candy cane upside down, it makes a J, for Jesus.
  • The Wreath: The wreath has a couple of meanings. One thing to note is that it is round--circular. It is a symbol of the never ending...never ending love, as well as the never ending Lord. He is the beginning and the end.
  • The Holly: One interpretation for Holly represents the crown of thorns. Holly was introduced as a Christmas item in order to eclipse the use of mistletoe.
  • The Angel: This is quite obvious, but the angel represents the angels who proclaimed the birth of the Savior.
  • The Poinsettia: The poinsettia is representative of the Star of Bethlehem (see star symbol above).

These are a few of the most popular Christmas symbols and their alleged meanings. It is, of course, impossible to know exactly what the story is behind everything (for example, the story of the candy cane is not known for sure), but these symbols are all good :). We can take what we have and apply them to our celebration of Christmas and help us remember to focus on the full meaning of Christmas each year.

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