Almost immediately after we’ve finished our Thanksgiving dinners—if not before—our homes, communities and shopping centers are transformed into colorfully decorated and lighted symbols of celebration of the December holiday season.

One of the most popular holiday decorations is the wreath. Wreaths are traditionally hung on front doors as a sign of welcome, strung from lampposts in cities and used in a variety of other different ways. While they have become an important part of modern December holiday traditions, they actually have a long history of symbolism spanning many different cultures.

The origin of the wreath being part of holiday celebrations dates as far back as the ancient Celts of Europe. They celebrated the Winter Solstice with different decorations including “boughs” or branches of holly. The circular structure of the wreath was derived from the Romans who wore wreaths or “coronas” on their heads during festivals and to honor warriors after going into battle. Many other different cultures all over the world also used wreaths as costume pieces and to decorate homes and buildings for the winter season and festivities.

With the growth Christianity, the Christmas wreath was used to symbolize Christ. The circular shape, with no beginning or end, represented everlasting life. A tradition began in the early 19th century to lay evergreens shaped into wreaths or crosses on graves to honor the deceased. Family members would bring them home to use as part of their Christmas decorations during the holidays.

No matter what holiday you celebrate this December, a wreath can add a wonderful, beautiful and fragrant touch to your home’s decorations.  And from now through December 23, the Forest Lawn Flower Shops are offering a great online special: a deluxe holiday wreath, with holiday greens enhanced with designer ribbon and holiday ornaments, regularly $40.00, now only $32.00. For more information and to order, click here.