The Joyful Tradition of Wreaths with Phyllis Hoffman DePiano

Gracious Living: Wreathed in JoyBy Phyllis Hoffman DePiano,  Editor-in-Chief of Southern Lady

Many of us take pleasure in decking our halls with brightly adorned wreaths during the holidays, but do you know the story behind them? It’s not completely clear how the wreath, which dates from ancient times, came to be a Yuletide classic, though we do know that the word itself comes from an Old English word that means “to twist.” As the centuries went on, wreaths evolved into an emblem of Christianity, used from the 16th century onward to represent the Advent season and eventually becoming the widespread symbols of Christmas that we cherish today.

During this time of year, I always enjoy getting a peek at the beautiful and varied wreaths that hang on doors, windows, and gates. While it’s hard to beat the simple elegance of a classic fir or boxwood version tied with a crisp red bow, I especially love the ones made from magnolia leaves, mistletoe, fresh herbs, pepperberries, or other eye-catching natural treasures.

This Christmas, I’ve gotten plenty of fresh ideas for creating wreath displays of my own! No matter the style or the substance, I hope our neighbors and loved ones will look at each one of our wreaths and see more than just a pretty decoration—they’ll see a badge of evergreen love and hope during this most wondrous of seasons.

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