Many traditional decorations used at Christmastime have a deeper, symbolic meaning.

Christmas Trees

Christmas trees are always green and represent the eternal life Christ granted to everyone.

Christmas trees are always green and represent the eternal life Christ granted to everyone. Photo credit: Pixabay

Evergreen trees are used to decorate at Christmastime. Since these trees are green all year round, they symbolize the eternal life that Jesus Christ provides.

The triangular shape of the tree symbolizes the three members of the Holy Trinity. The top reaches toward heaven and symbolizes a relationship with God.

Star or Angel

The star on the tree symbolizes the Star of Bethlehem that appeared when Christ was born.

The star on the tree symbolizes the Star of Bethlehem that appeared when Christ was born. Photo credit: Kenzie Fox

The star on the top of the tree refers to the Star of Bethlehem that guided the three wise men to the place of Christ’s birth. It also represents hope and peace.

Christmas trees can also be topped with an angel. This symbolizes the heavenly messengers sent to the shepherds that brought them the good news of the birth of Christ. They also represent the angels sent to Mary and Joseph.

Lights or Candles

Christmas candles were used to light the tree before electric lights and symbolize Christ as the "Light of the World".

Christmas candles were used to light the tree before electric lights and symbolize Christ as the "Light of the World". Photo credit: Pixabay

Candles help depict Christ as the light of the world as explained in John 8:12, “Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.”

The lights on the tree symbolize the Star of Bethlehem, with the biggest one, the star, at the top of the tree.

Tinsel

Tinsel symbolizes the magnification of Christ's light to the Earth.

Tinsel symbolizes the magnification of Christ's light to the Earth. Photo credit: Pixabay

Tinsel was originally used to adorn Christmas trees to enhance the light of the candles. The word tinsel comes from an old French word “étinceller,” which means “to sparkle.”

The magnified light from the tinsel represents Christ’s light magnified on Earth.

Ornaments

Christmas tree ornaments were created to replace fruits and nuts that were previously used to decorate the tree.

Christmas tree ornaments were created to replace fruits and nuts that were previously used to decorate the tree. Photo credit: Pixabay

Ornaments don’t have religious symbolism, but they were created to decorate the Christmas tree in place of fresh fruits and nuts that were previously used. The creation of ornaments originated in Germany at the hands of Hans Greiner. They were made to resemble fruits and were originally called Christmas baubles.”

Bells

Christmas bells represent the joyful heralds sounded at Christ's birth.

Christmas bells represent the joyful heralds sounded at Christ's birth. Photo credit: Pixabay

During the Christmas season, bells symbolize the proclamation of joy that angels sent to the people when Christ was born.

Bells were used by shepherds to bring the sheep back to the fold; thus, the bells also symbolize the watchful eye of Christ upon each of us.

Wreaths

The wreath symbolizes the circle of life and God's eternal love for his children.

The wreath symbolizes the circle of life and God's eternal love for his children. Photo credit: Pixabay

The never-ending circle is a symbol of Christ’s unending love for everyone. It can also represent the circle of life.

Additionally, the circular shape of the wreath can symbolize the crown of thorns worn by Christ on the cross.

Holly

The leaves of the holly plant represent the crown of thorns that Christ wore and the red berries represent his blood.

The leaves of the holly plant represent the crown of thorns that Christ wore and the red berries represent his blood. Photo credit: Pixabay

The thorny leaves of a holly plant represent the crown of thorns that Christ was forced to wear, and the red berries represent His blood as he suffered for our sins.

This plant also plays a role in the origins of the Christmas colors red and green. The green represents eternal life, and the red represents the blood of Christ.

Candy Canes

Candy canes are a symbol of the shepherds who visited the newborn Christ.

Candy canes are a symbol of the shepherds who visited the newborn Christ. Photo credit: Pixabay

Candy Canes are in the shape of a shepherd’s staff to symbolize the shepherds that were invited to see the newborn Christ. They also symbolize Christ as our Shepherd as He states in John 10:14, “I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.”

Gingerbread Men

Gingerbread men represent God's creation of Adam, the first man.

Gingerbread men represent God's creation of Adam, the first man. Photo credit: Pixabay

Gingerbread men are not only a popular Christmas treat, but they also have religious symbolism. They represent God’s creation of Adam and the rest of mankind.

Stockings

Stockings are derived from the legend of Saint Nicholas.

Stockings are derived from the legend of Saint Nicholas. Photo credit: Pixabay

Stockings also don’t have religious meaning, but they are said to originate from the legend of Saint Nicholas. According to the story, a poor man was unable to afford a dowry for his daughters, so their future was uncertain. However, on multiple occasions, bags of gold would appear in front of their fireplace, often landing in the stockings or shoes that were drying by the fireplace.

Gifts

Gifts at Christmas are in similitude to the Three Wise Men who gave gifts to the young Jesus Christ.

Gifts at Christmas are in similitude to the Three Wise Men who gave gifts to the young Jesus Christ. Photo credit: Pixabay

We traditionally give gifts at Christmas in similitude to the three wise men who gave gifts to the young Christ. They represent the spirit of giving that is encouraged by Jesus Christ in Acts 20:35, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”

Giving gifts also represents the act of Heavenly Father giving His son as the greatest gift as mentioned in John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”