Have you ever stopped to think about why you hang a wreath on your front door, kiss under the mistletoe or bake gingerbread cookies? All of our favorite symbols of the holidays have secret symbolism behind them that goes back further than family traditions.
Which one will surprise you the most?
While they may help to spread cheer on your front door, Christians believed that wreaths represented thorns worn by Jesus and the tiny red berries represented his blood.
2. Candy Canes
These delicious peppermint treats have more meaning than you would think. Many believe that the white represents purity, while the red represents the blood Jesus shed. The shape is supposed to be the staff of the Good Shepherd.
We all know the custom of kissing under the mistletoe, but why do we do it? Since mistletoe survives by attaching itself to a tree, Christians use it to represent how humans only exist because of God.
4. Christmas Tree
As one of the most recognized symbols of Christmas, this holiday decoration is brought into the homes of many Americans because it is believed that evergreens would keep away evil spirits and illness.
Legend has it that a father of three daughters had a tough time providing for his girls. After St. Nicolas heard about his situation, he decided to climb down the family's chimney and filled the girls' stocking with gold coins. Did you just get a lump of coal in your stocking last year? Me too.
6. Gingerbread Men
These iconic cookies aren't just a fun activity to do with the kids. According to the Catholic church, these cookies are meant to remind us that God created Adam in the Garden of Eden and therefore His creation is in all of us.
Whether they're a decoration in your Christmas tree or part of your outdoor decor, this symbol is pretty expected during the holidays. Since bells are traditionally rung at the beginning of mass in a Catholic service, they have naturally become part of the holiday.
We all want to have a "holly jolly Christmas," but why has this berry gotten to be so well known during the holidays? Legend says that the berries on this plant used to be white, but the blood Christ shed stained them red, and that's why it's a common Christmas decoration.
This bright and glittery decoration was introduced on to the Christmas tree to symbolize light and to ensure that darkness has no power during the holiday season.
10. Christmas Gifts
The idea behind giving and receiving gifts on Christmas started with the wise men brought their gold, herbs and myrrh to honor Jesus' birth. Now we use gifts at Christmas to spread joy among our loved ones.
What is your favorite Christmas tradition? Share with us in the comments.