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Why are Red & Green the Colours of Christmas?

By 11/28/2009January 23rd, 201735 Comments


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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  • Anonymous says:

    I love your blog Maria. I didn’t know green was the colour of life. It makes sense and now I will see every shade of green differently. Thanks!

  • michelle says:

    How did it take me this long to discover your wonderful blog Maria?

    I’ve added you to my list 🙂

    Great post on whites!


  • thrilled by the thought says:

    My mom did a little activity about this with us when I was a little girl. It’s amazing to realize there is so much symbolism behind the “staples” of Christmas!

  • aman says:

    woww….its amazing!!
    thanks for sharing your knowledge with us.

  • Ideezine says:

    Tough year for so many people. This is a great reflection on staying hopeful in these times. God is love and their is meaning to purpose! Love is in all things! People need what you do, for them, with them and to them. Life is Good.


  • Annie@A View On Design says:

    yes and here comes another xmas – YAYAYAAYYYY can't wait!

  • The romantic query letter and the happy-ever-after says:

    Informative and beautiful.
    Have a lovely weekend.

  • Kathy @ Creative Home Expressions says:

    So glad you reposted this, I didn't see it before. The pictures are beautiful and I've learned something today!

  • K. says:

    I'm not very religious but I am still a Christian who wants to remember the true meaning of Christmas. This was quite an insightful look at the colors and shapes of Christmas…I enjoyed it very much!

  • Francine Gardner says:

    Thank you…I so enjoyed reading your post with my coffee…starting to think of Christmas presents…

  • Red Door Home says:

    I did not see this last year and am so thankful you shared it again. Hope you are blessed this holiday season.

  • Chic Coles (Cole Design) says:

    Thank you for this post! I had never really thought about why these were the two color of Christmas. This makes me so excited for the holidays!

  • Marlo says:

    What a heartwarming post Maria.
    I never really thought about the colours or the meaning of Christmas objects.

    I need a Christmas tree topper and I'm going to find me the most beautiful star to shine brighter than all the tree's ornaments.

  • Jeanne says:

    Fabulous post

  • Linda/"Mom" says:

    * Beautiful & informative~~~ (wow, I never KNEW all this!!!)~~~ THANKS SO VERY MUCH, Maria! Wonderful!

    Linda in AZ *
    [email protected]

  • Anonymous says:

    Thank you! I did not know any of this but am so glad you decided to write about it because it makes me appreciate the little details of Christmas even more.

  • unique unique design says:

    Beautiful pictures, Maria. And very interesting…I knew some of the meanings of these symbols, but not all. Last yr. I hadn't discovered your blog, so thanks for reposting this.

  • The Blasphemous Fiendess says:

    And the connection of green with life, and bringing greenery into the home is from pagan sources co-opted by Christianity when it was necessary to incorporate both pagan and Christian ideas in order to convert the pagans. Bringing greenery into the home was symbolic of preserving some of nature's bounty until spring came again. Christmas is celebrated at the time of winter solstice, another pagan celebration that was incorporated.

  • Design Wanna-be says:

    What a great reminder.

  • Marina says:

    What a wonderful warm post Maria!
    Thank you for posting it again this year (as I didn't know you last year)!

    I have also passed on the 5 diamonds award to you, for such inspirational posts.
    Hope your weekend was great!

  • Eliana Tomás says:

    Maria, I love this post. It's so poetic. All the photos are beautiful. I love to read about colour and in here i always find answers for my questions.

  • Jeanne says:

    Thanks for your visit and kind words
    I love your blog

  • Elizabeth Brown says:

    Who the heck in Ms. Baylock? What are her credentials? Does everyone believe everything they read? Look around everybody…it's all about the red berries. They are everywhere contrasting so beautifully with the evergreens.
    That's my take on the color symbolism of Christmas.

  • LaurenFaythe says:

    Beautiful images, and message! Thanks Maria

  • inthetweeds says:

    I loved this! Thank you for putting the focus back on the real meaning of Christmas. 🙂

  • Anonymous says:

    Wow, I loved this post! I missed it last year too and am so glad that you had the courage to post it. Thank you for reiterating the true meaning of Christmas. God bless you.

  • Lorrie says:

    Love this…will be taking these ideas and adding some scripture background and making it my children's church lesson. I'll have them put these into a pretty wrapped box they can put under the Christmas tree and then open on Christmas morning. What a blessings…thank you!

  • Pinky says:

    Thank you so much, I NEVER knew this! Merry Christmas! Pinky

  • Anonymous says:

    Thank you so much for posting this. I need to keep this information handy to send to those people who think black and grey and other outragious colors symbolize Christmas. I think they symbolize someone's personal taste but not what Christmas stands for. Hapy New Year!!

  • Jil McDonald says:

    I missed this last year, what a wonderful post. Thanks so much for sharing what the true meaning of Chrismtas is all about!

  • Donna says:

    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!

  • Donna says:

    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!

  • Jeanne C. Holbrook says:

    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


  • natalie says:


    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.

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