Why are Red & Green the Colours of Christmas?


I posted this last year but it was so popular (the images are stunning) that I’m re-posting it for 2009! Enjoy:

There are a few answers to this question but basically it comes down to this one by Glenn Baylock: Red symbolizes the blood that Jesus spilt to redeem us from our sins.

Green is the color of life. Therefore, green symbolizes the potential for eternal life that Jesus’ sacrifice made possible for all of us. The evergreen tree is green all year round. So, it also symbolizes eternal life.

The flame of a candle, the lights on the tree and the star on top are all meant to remind us of the new star that appeared to proclaim the birth of the promised Messiah.

The bell is a reminder of the bells worn by sheep. They provide a means for the shepherd to find the sheep that has wandered from the flock and become lost. They symbolize our pleas to the Good Shepherd for guidance back to His flock.

The candy cane is shaped like a shepherd’s staff. It symbolizes the responsibility that we all have to be shepherds, to help each other and guide each other back to God.

Finally, the bows on the top of the presents are symbolic of brotherhood. It should be a reminder that, just as the ribbons are tied together, we should all be tied together by the knowledge that we are all God’s children and, therefore, brothers and sisters.


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Related Posts:

Your Christmas Tree is You (maybe)

Garden Fresh Holiday Decorating


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  1. Wow Maria, I LOVE this post! I knew some of what you shared, but how wonderful that you would remind us of the true meaning of Christmas.

    I don't know how I missed this when you re-posted it, but I'm glad I got a chance to read it. I wasn't following you last Christmas. :o)

    BTW, I wrote an post, really an essay, called The Art of Fresh Linens. I was thinking that you would love it because of your love for the color white. My photos turned out so well in the morning light that I didn't even edit them. I was ironing my grandmother's antique linens after hanging them to dry in the sun. They smelled so good, I just had to write about it.


    PS. I want to link to this post for tomorrow's Tuesday tea. It's perfect!

  2. Maria, I just linked to your post about Christmas at the end of my advent write up. I'm hosting a linky party of Christmas posts for Tuesday Tea. I borrowed your photo of the little girls lighting the candle but encouraged everyone to visit you and read your post about the symbols of Christmas.

    I love it!

  3. Jeanne C. Holbrook

    I think your blog and advice is great. I loved your Christmas post .
    I think the symbols are wonderful but I wanted to tell you about an older version of the meanings of the colors … At first I didnt want to post it as some people get of upset about it. I dont . I think it adds to the wonderful layered culture that we come from, and only makes our Christmas traditions deeper and richer . I am a Christian but I like the idea of honoring our connection to the earth. It is something to be thankful for too.

    Older cultures celebrated the summer and winter solstice, on June 21st and Dec 21st, as the longest and shortest days of the year. Winter Solstice was celebrated with grand feasts. The men of the villages would go out and hunt deer to stock up for the depth of winter in January . The red blood of the deer would end up on the evergreen trees. It became a symbol of abundance and the gifts and blessings from earth and God. Bringing the tree inside became a continuation of those symbols . Lighting the tree with candles celebrated the return of the light in Spring . It was a way to bring hope but also a reminder to hold the light in our hearts until Spring .

    When Constantine made Christianity a legal religion he and other Christians churches became upset when the new Christians continued to celebrate the "pagan" holidays in addition to the Christian Holidays. Winter Solstice was so ingrained into the culture they could not stop it … So they joined in .

    Historically Christ is believed to actually be born at sometime in January , like maybe Jan 15th ( I dont remember exactly) so they moved the celebration up to be part of the winter solstice celebration.

    Perhaps the orginal reason to do this was only political, I dont know , but I think it is a wonderful idea … as Winter Solstice was really about being blessed through the dark days and celebrating the coming of the light , which is also Christ,.

    So I think it is lovely to have this extra layer of meaning to the symbols . It put a rich deeper meaning on the holidays knowing that this celebration of the blessings of God and coming of the light goes back to such ancient times


  4. Maria,

    Thanks for sharing this beautiful post. We can get side tracked so easily and in so many ways that can take us even slightly away from the true meaning of Christmas. What a beautiful reminder that everything Christmas is about Christ.