Wednesday, November 15, 2017

The Christmas Wreath


Christine Johnson here today talking about something many of us do every year—hang a Christmas wreath. Some years ago I made an artificial one that I put on my front door every year.

traditional wreath


Sometimes I’ll trade it out with a wreath I somehow inherited—the memory is sketchy on exactly how—but I’m partial to the pine green and red of a more traditional wreath.



Do you know the tradition behind wreath-making? Their origin is uncertain, perhaps stretching back to Roman times when wreaths symbolized victory. In Christianity, the circle of the wreath represents eternity or life unending. Some believe the Christmas wreath got its start in the advent wreaths of medieval Germany, adorned with four candles and a fifth in the center which is lit on Christmas Eve to represent the coming of the Christ child. Others look to the early 19th century, when evergreen wreaths and crosses were often laid on gravesites and then brought home for Christmas to add to the decorations.



In my upcoming Christmas book (and last with Love Inspired Historical) ,Would-Be Mistletoe Wife, war widow and school teacher, Louise Smythe, goes on a wreath-making campaign to brighten the town in the hope of drawing more business from travelers, especially from Chicago. When the Great Fire of 1871 decimates that city and the area around her small town, the mission of boosting business turns to one of lifting the spirits of those left homeless. Since one of the results of the fire is the closing of the school, she will soon become one of them unless another avenue opens for her. If only the assistant lighthouse keeper, Jesse Hammond, would overlook her age and petite stature and recognize that she is fully capable of becoming a lighthouse keeper’s wife.



Now, it’s your turn. Do you hang a Christmas wreath? Do you hold with tradition and choose an evergreen one, or do you have a favorite artificial wreath?


Christine Johnson
Would-Be Mistletoe Wife (LIH, Dec 2017)


26 comments:

  1. What a lovely subject, Christine! You mentioned your heroine wanting the hero to overlook her age. I have to ask. How old is she? Probably in her early twenties. Or is she a very young heroine? Eager to know. :)


    Yes, I always have a wreath on my door! My current wreath is fall themed and carries me from October to Thanksgiving. I usually hang artificial wreaths in December, although sometimes I'll find live evergreens that beg to be hung.

    I hate that the LIH line is closing. I'll miss your delightful stories!

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    1. Hi Debby! Thank you for your kind words. I love that you celebrate the autumn seasons with a wreath. Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays.

      The heroine, Louise, is 31, widowed, and childless from her first marriage. The hero is looking for a younger wife because he wants a very large family. Also, lighthouse work is very rigorous, and he doesn't think the petite bookworm capable of the physical demands. Little does he realize what a powerhouse is in that small frame!

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    2. What delightful conflict, Christine! Oh my, 31 is so old, right! :) Of course, in those days it probably was, especially for starting a family. I always love your stories, Christine. I know this one will be wonderful as well!

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  2. I had no idea the story behind the Christmas Wreath, Christine. Thank you for sharing it.

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    1. Thanks for stopping by, Mary! I love how learning the history of everyday things enriches our appreciation for them.

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  3. I do hang a wreath on my door. My mom used to make pine cone wreaths and small trees, complete with battery-operated lights built in. She taught me the technique and I made the same for my home, but now the pine cones are becoming so brittle that they're falling apart and I don't have enough time to make more. But your post has re-energized me. Perhaps I should make a pine cone wreath for my grown children to hang on their doors. :) Thanks for the post!

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    1. Leigh, I remember a pine cone wreath on my grandmother's door. What a sweet remembrance this would be for your children!

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  4. Interesting premise for a story. I'm terribly allergic to most evergreens, but I like to hang an artificial evergreen wreath on my front door, and I have others throughout the house.

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    1. Hi Arlene, like you I prefer artificial. I never thought to hang them inside the house. Hmm, maybe there's a place for that blue wreath after all!

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  5. I hang at least a dozen artificial wreaths at Christmas. I have lots of nice places to hang wreaths at my house. You story founds wonderful.

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    1. Hi Merrillee! Wow, a dozen or more. Your house must be very festive.

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  6. So interesting, Christine! We hang a wreath on our front door and a couple more on the front of the house each Christmas--about the only outdoor decorating we do anymore. I do love how the green boughs (though artificial!) and red bows brighten things up!

    We also have a pinecone wreath my sister-in-law made for us probably 40 years ago. It hangs year-round over our fireplace, and at Christmas I usually attach a big red bow.

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    1. How wonderful that you cherish that pinecone wreath throughout the year. Christmas does bring back memories through the decorations we've gathered over the years.

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  7. This is our first year in our new house, so we'll have to see how our wreath looks on the front door. It's an artificial one that belonged to my inlaws. When we lived in Las Vegas, we didn't hang it on the front door. Because the back of our house faced a through street, we hung decorations from our second-floor porch so passing cars could see them over the wall. Our porch was divided into three sections -- so we hung two wreaths and one metal star along with lights and greenery. One of the wreaths didn't come with us because the Las Vegas sun bleached out all the red balls to pink! Fortunately it wasn't the wreath my mother-in-law had hung at her house.

    When I was a kid, we went into the woods and got what we called "running pine" -- a ground vine. We wrapped it around clothes hangers that had been made into circles and then hung them in the windows. It was a big part of our holiday preparations.

    I love all sorts of holiday traditions!

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    1. Hi Jo Ann! The sun is rough on anything outdoors in hot climes. I'm glad your mother-in-law's wreath survived. Your parents must have loved that you and your siblings made wreaths for the holidays. Very sweet. Your story brought to mind the tinker toy Christmas tree that my brother and sister and I built and then decorated with paper chains and homemade ornaments. We were so proud of it.

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  8. Interesting post Christine! Every year, I'm getting two free evergreen Christmas wreaths (one from work and another one from neighbors). We hang one and we use another one as a centerpiece for our table. I put a huge candle in the middle and decorate it :) Make sure you have a BIG table, since the wreath takes a lot of space!

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  9. Thanks for the information about wreaths. I have an artificial one I hang on the front door at Christmas but I love the smell of real ones. I believe I'll get a real one this year. Thank you for giving me the idea.

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    1. Hi Patricia! You're making me want to have a real one too!

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  10. I love to hang a wreath at Christmas. Like you I put a big red bow. Sometimes I’ll even hang ornaments on it.

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    1. Oh, that's too fun. I never thought to hang ornaments on my wreath! Thanks for the idea, Terri.

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  11. My door wreath changes with the seasons. Right now it is a square twig wreath with a jaunty scarecrow!!! I love big full wreaths, but they have to go in our picture window. There just isn't enough room for them between the wood door and the storm door. Sometimes I make the decorations, and sometimes I buy. I will add a personal touch to make it mine. Sometimes the Christmas wreath is artificial and sometimes real. Usually the real is inside with the real tree so we can enjoy them more. Thanx for the post!

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    1. Hi Jennifer! Your post reminded me of the "squished between the storm door and regular door" syndrome. I get a bit of that too, though I don't mind the artificial wreaths getting a little squashed. They bend back into place. Love your current door wreath! What a fun welcome to be greeted by a jaunty scarecrow!

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  12. I made an artificial one and will do another artificial one this year just to have a different one.

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