Do you remember seeing almost every door with a Christmas wreath as a child? You may not see them as much these days, particularly with many people living in apartments, but the tradition of hanging a Christmas wreath is ancient. But we love to see them on house doors; Christmas wreaths somehow make our community feel more connected.

There are many iterations of the wreath from various cultures; however, they mostly come from Ancient Greece and Rome, as well as Christianity.

The origin of the Christmas wreath

Ancient Greek mythology has one of the first iterations of a laurel wreath in the story of Apollo and Daphne. Legend has it that the god Apollo, patron of sports and god of the sun, poetry, music, art, archery and knowledge, mocked Eros, god of love, for his smaller bow. Eros then shot Apollo with a golden arrow, which caused him to fall in love with Daphne, a river nymph. Eros also shot Daphne with an arrow of lead, causing her to be unaffected by love.

Despite Daphne rejecting Apollo, he still pursued her. Eventually, with the help of Eros, Apollo caught up to Daphne where she faced capture by Apollo. Daphne begged her father, the river god, to help her gain her freedom, and she transformed into a laurel tree.

Vowing to honour the laurel tree forever, Apollo used his powers to make the laurel tree evergreen. In most works of art, Apollo wears or carries a laurel wreath, and it became the sign of victory for ancient Greeks.

At the ancient Pan-Hellenic Olympic Games, only one prize was offered ‒ a wreath made of olive or laurel leaves.

For later times, we note the Saturnalia Celebration of Wealth in Ancient Rome, which celebrated the Roman god of agriculture, Saturn. The festival was traditionally held during the mid-December winter solstice where everyone halted to enjoy the festivities, from the upper social classes to the servants and slaves.

One essential element of the festival was a wreath and branches of holly, fir and ivy ‒ evergreen plants that represented good fortune, friendship and life.

Christianity was one of the first to develop a meaningful association with wreaths. The circular shape represents the everlasting love of God as well as the circle of life. The evergreen leaves symbolise eternal life and the red berries are a reminder of the blood of Jesus. For those who celebrate Christmas in the winter, the evergreen leaves and berries are a symbol of continuous life, even in the colder months.

Making your own Christmas wreath

Making your own Christmas wreath can be a lovely tradition whether you have children or not. The great thing about making your own wreath is that it doesn’t take a lot of materials to make, and can easily be done in an afternoon.

Spotlight has some great ideas for a pom pom wreath or a more classic pine wreath. (You could even use real pine cones if you have pine trees close by.)

Would you rather an Australian twist to your wreath? Interiors Online has a great ‘how-to’ on making a native floral wreath where you can include native flowers you pick from your garden or from the florist.

Can I buy Christmas wreaths locally?

If you prefer to shop for one locally, Pepperwhites by Tara Dennis has some wonderful wreaths and garlands to decorate your home, including the Eucalypt, the Red Berries, and the heavenly scented Pine wreath.

Alternatively, why not ask at your local florist if they are making Christmas wreaths? We recommend checking out the following florists:

Art of Bloom Balmain: Shop 1, 386 Darling Street, Balmain | 02 8283 3357

Ally Bell Floral: 493B Darling Street, Balmain | 0492948407

Blumette: 10 Beattie Street, Balmain | 0492 948 407

If markets are more your shopping style, maybe check out Glebe Artisan Christmas Market, the Makers & Shakers Market at the White Bay Cruise Terminal, the Martin Place Christmas markets every Thursday, Friday and Saturday in December 2022 until Christmas Eve, 11am-8pm, and other local markets. We don’t know if you’ll find a wreath there but you’ll have fun looking.

Getting into the Christmas spirit

Christmas wreaths often put us into the spirit for the holiday season, and while we may not see too many of them these days, they are a great way to brighten up the community surrounding us. With the village feel on the Balmain Peninsula, a Christmas wreath makes a great addition to homes and businesses in the area.

If you’ve been having to travel to the outer Sydney suburbs to see wreaths adorning homes, perhaps this year it’s time to get back to tradition in Inner Sydney.

Can we help with your Inner West home?

Whether you’re ready to sell or need help to rent your investment property, we have the experience and local knowledge to make your property journey easier.

Looking for help selling your home or renting your investment property? Our team at Belle Property Balmain support homeowners across Balmain, Balmain East, Birchgrove, Rozelle and Lilyfield. Feel free to get in touch for a no-obligation discussion or property appraisal.

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