Symbols of Christmas and Learn the Meaning

The holiday season is a time of joy, celebration, and tradition. As we gather with loved ones, exchange gifts, and decorate our homes, we are surrounded by a multitude of symbols that define the spirit of Christmas. But have you ever wondered about the stories and meanings behind these cherished symbols? Join us on a delightful journey of discovery as we delve into the rich tapestry of Christmas symbols, each with its own unique significance and history. From the twinkling lights on the tree to the jolly man in the red suit, we'll unravel the magic of Christmas and explore the traditions that have made this holiday so special for generations. Let's learn, celebrate, and share in the true essence of Christmas together.

Christmas Symbols

Christmas is filled with a variety of symbols and decorations that are rich in tradition and meaning. Here are some of the most common Christmas symbols. These symbols and decorations vary in significance and meaning among different cultures and families, but collectively, they contribute to the festive and joyous atmosphere of the Christmas holiday. Detailed pages are also given on some of the symbols which are more popular, explaning the meanings behind them

Christmas Tree: The Christmas tree is perhaps the most iconic symbol of the holiday. It represents the evergreen tree of life and is often adorned with lights, ornaments, and a star or angel on top.

Star: The star is placed at the top of the Christmas tree, symbolizing the Star of Bethlehem that guided the Three Wise Men to the birthplace of Jesus.

Angels: Angels are a common decoration, symbolizing the angels who announced the birth of Jesus to the shepherds.

Nativity Scene: The nativity scene, or creche, depicts the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem and typically includes figures of Mary, Joseph, baby Jesus, the Wise Men, shepherds, and animals.

Candles: Candles are often used to symbolize the light of Christ, bringing warmth and hope to the holiday season.

Wreaths: Wreaths, often made from evergreen branches, are circular to symbolize eternity. They're typically hung on doors as a sign of welcome.

Holly and Mistletoe: These plants are used for decoration and are said to bring good luck and ward off evil spirits.

Bells: Bells are rung to announce the arrival of the holiday season and the joy of Christmas.

Gifts: Exchanging gifts is a way to symbolize the gifts given to baby Jesus by the Wise Men.

Candy Canes: Candy canes are often associated with Christmas and their shape is said to represent the shepherd's crook. The red and white colors symbolize the purity and sacrifice of Jesus.

Poinsettias: These bright red and green plants are often used as decorations and symbolize the Star of Bethlehem.

Ornaments: Christmas ornaments, often in the shape of balls or other festive designs, are hung on the tree to add color and beauty.

Snowflakes: Snowflakes, whether in the form of decorations or used in crafts, symbolize the winter season.

Gingerbread: Gingerbread cookies and houses are often made and decorated during the Christmas season.

Yule Log: In some cultures, the Yule log is burned on Christmas Eve, symbolizing the renewal of light and the warmth of family.


There are several unique reasons why candles are linked with Christmas, even though no one knows when they became correlated in the first place. They were used at the time of the age old winter solstice galas as a way of recollecting that spring would arrive soon.


A long time ago, people were under the impression that they could use bells to scare away evil spirits. Bells were a hassle free form of noise-making. The custom of using sound makers like bells at these times escalated over into the celebration of Christmas. But people made noise to laud something happy, instead of making noise to shoo away evil things.


Putting angel decorations a top Christmas trees or on their evergreen forks is a favorite holiday custom. Just look around at the trees this Christmas, and you'll notice a huge variation in angels, namely fabric angels that kids have created with precise care, metallic shiny angels that mirror Christmas tree lights, porcelain or fragile glass angels that have been graduated down through generations, and even doll-esque angels with microchips inside that allow them to sing to music and even. Angels defined a significant role in the first Christmas.

Candy Canes

The Christmas Candy Cane is originally from Germany about two and a half centuries ago. They began as white,straight sticks of sugar. A tale goes that in 1670, a choirmaster was afraid about the children seated quietly all through the elongated Christmas delivery service. So he provided them with something to eat to keep them mum. As he wanted to prod them of Christmas, he moulded them into a 'J' shape like a shepherd’s crook, to make them remember the shepherds that came to visit the baby Jesus at the first Christmas.

Gingerbread Man

Gingerbread has been available for an extensive amount of time, but the recipes and methods used to make it have been altered significantly over the years. Originally, gingerbread was manufactured from ginger, breadcrumbs, and a sweetener, like honey. People came to know that ginger has preservative abilities and utilized it accordingly. Gingerbread men are also used as simple Christmas decorations due to their symbolic significance. It truly is something unique.

The Yule Log

The tradition of setting fire to the Yule Log dates prior to the medieval times. It initially used to be a Nordic tradition. The name of the old Winter Solstice festivals in Scandinavia is Yule. Primitively an entire tree that was chosen cautiously, the Yule log was brought into the house with great celebration. The biggest extreme of the log would be fixed into the fireplace whilst the rest of the tree stuck out towards the room.

Chimney Sweep

A chimney sweep is a worker who cleans ash and soot from chimneys. The chimney has been a part of family life since the early Romans first realized that it was better to live in a nice, fire-warmed home than in a chilly one. They needed a way to funnel off the smoke the fires caused. Soon they realised their fireplaces and their chimneys needed a cleaning as a house full of soot and fumes is unhealthy. Thus chimney sweeping developed into a necessary profession. People liked having the chimney sweep pay a visit, as he brought clean, fresh air back to the home. Chimney Sweeps thus became a sign of good health and prosperity. Thus they were regarded as the harbinger of good luck.

Christmas Ornaments

The tradition of Christmas trees and Christmas Ornaments is a much disputed one what with several theories about their origin doing the rounds for a long time. The most popular theory holds that the tradition was started by a monk who came to Germany in the 7th/8th century to preach. It is said that this monk was Saint Boniface, the Apostle of the Germans. According to history, the saint was the first one to bring a fir tree to the German people to decorate, for he believed that its triangular shape represented the Holy Trinity - God, his son Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. The tradition was lapped up by the devout Germans who started decorating the Christmas tree in a liturgical way with simple, white candles. This however, changed in the 15th century when ornaments began to be incorporated into the Christmas decorations in Germany. In Latvia, circa 1510, a fir tree was decorated with roses which were associated with the Virgin Mary. This event is often hailed as the pioneer of modern Christmas decorations.

Christmas Elves

According to American folklore Christmas Elves are tiny, dwarf-like creatures, either male or female, with pointed ears. They are youthful but immortal and have magical powers. It is believed with Santa Claus in the North Pole and acts as his helper. The Elves was often believed to make toys in Santa Claus’s workshop and was often entrusted with duty of taking care of Santa’s reindeer.

Christmas Tree

A Christmas tree is an evergreen coniferous tree, traditionally decorated with edibles such as nuts, apples or dates. The concept of decorating this tree was first introduced by Germany long back in 16th century. It was the time when Christians brought adorned Christian tree to their homes. But soon after the Reformation, the upper class protestant started keeping this decorative tree back home.

Glastonbury Thorn

Glastonbury Thorn legend is associated with Christ’s death as well as a celebration of his birth. As per the legend goes, soon after the death of Christ, Joseph of Arimathea came to Britain to preach about Christianity. While travelling he brought his staff along. Soon after a tiring nap, he noticed his staff have grown and fully blossomed. It is believed he left his staff there, from then onwards it flowered in every Christmas as well during spring.

Jesus Birth

Some 2000 years ago a young lady, named Mary, about 15 years of age, was praying in her home. All of a sudden she saw a stranger standing before her. She did not know how he had come in. The visitor was brighter than the light of day, and Mary frightened. She understood that he was not a man but an angel, when he greeted her. The angel told her not to be afraid. Then he delivered her the message that she would bear a son to be called Jesus." He shall be great," said the angel.

Holly Prickly

The plant with its shiny green prickly leaves and red berry has come to stand for peace and joy. People often settle arguments under a Holly tree. It is believed Holly frighten off witches and protect homes from thunder and lighting. There’s a pagan connotation attached to this tree, the Druids believed that Holly, with its evergreen look keeps the earth beautiful when the sacred oak lost it leaves. They used to wear twigs of Holly in their hair when they went into the forest to watch their priests, cut the sacred mistletoe.

Fly Agaric Mushroom

The Amanita muscaria mushroom, commonly known as the fly agaric mushroom, is another symbol associated with Christmas. Though not as popular as the Christmas tree, it holds some significance in those nations where Christianity is the dominant religion. The symbol, however, has little to do with Christianity. It has believed that Christmas, despite being a Christian holiday, owes most of its symbols and icons to Shamanism, an occult philosophy of the tribal people of Northern Europe in a pre-Christian era. The Amanita muscaria found a place among the various rituals practiced by these people.


Mistletoe is an evergreen partial parasitic plant, which grows on the branches of trees, where it forms pendent bushes, 2 to 5 feet in diameter. It sends out roots which penetrate into the tree and take up nutrients. Many mystical power is been associated with this plant.

Santa Claus

The whole image of Santa Claus aroused from the famous Saint Nicolas. Many legends and miracles are attributed to Saint Nicholas, depicted as Santa Clause, a stout figured character wearing red coat and trouser. The transformation of Saint Nicholas to Santa Claus happened largely in America - with inspiration from the Dutch. Saint Nicolas, as a child was well known for his generosity.

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer is a fictional animal with a glowing red nose. According to the famous folklore it is believed, this fictional animal used to drive Santa Claus’s carriage on the Christmas Eve, making his way through the snowy winter roads. The luminosity of his nose was so great, that it helped him show the way through the dark snowy streets.

The Christmas Star

The Christmas Star represents the star of Bethlehem. The star appears in the nativity story of the Gospel of Matthew, where magi "from the east" are guided by the star to travel to Jerusalem. There they meet King Herod of Judea, and ask him, where the king of the Jews had been born. Herod directs them to Bethlehem, a nearby village. The star leads them to Jesus's house in Bethlehem, where they pay him homage and give him gifts.

The Poinsettia

The Poinsettia is a beautiful red, star shaped flower, favourite of United States. Some legends are associated with this flower, which make this flower even more divine. The legend comes from Mexico, where a poor little girl named Maria and her little brother Pablo, used to celebrate Christmas in their village. The two children were very kind hearted. They wished to distribute gifts in the manger scene set up. But they were heartbroken since they did not have enough money to buy gifts. So they picked up some weeds on their way, and presented them to their baby Jesus. Though they became an object of fun to every villager present, but to their astonishment, the green top leaves turned into bright red petals, and soon the manger was surrounded by beautiful star-like flowers and so we see them today.

The Tradition of Giving Gifts

The tradition of giving gifts in this season owes its origin to the Magi who came from the east of Jerusalem to greet Child Christ in the manger with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. The Magi were wise men and their gifts were emblematic of tribute, worship and death - of Christ considered as King, God and the sacrificial Victim. In America gift giving has come to be associated with the Christmas not long ago. It came in with the introduction of St. Nicholas in America by the early Dutch settlers. But, giving gifts at New Year was a common practice, especially among the English and the French settlers. But the combined German and Dutch influences in time caused all gift-giving to be carried out at Christmas.

Some Light on the Date of Christmas, Jesus, and Christianity

Get to know more about Christmas, birth of Jesus Christ as well about history related to the birth of Christianity. Many legends and history are associated with this festival.

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