12 Symbols of Christmas and Their Meaning


Have you ever wondered about the 12 symbols of Christmas and their meaning? From the iconic candy canes to the beloved Christmas tree, these holiday decorations may seem random at first glance. However, each of these symbols carries a special significance that adds to the rich tapestry of Christmas traditions. Exploring the stories and meanings behind these symbols can deepen our understanding and appreciation for the holiday season.

So, let’s embark on a journey to uncover the hidden symbolism behind these cherished Christmas decorations.

Table of Contents

Why Are These Symbols For Christmas Important To Learn?

Learning about the 12 symbols of Christmas can deepen our appreciation and history of Christmas. Understanding the origins and meanings of these symbols can also help us connect with the cultural traditions associated with Christmas.

In addition, these symbols have become part of the modern-day celebrations of Christmas, and knowing their meaning and significance can strengthen our enjoyment of the holiday season. For example, understanding the significance of the Christmas tree, candy canes or the use of candles during Christmas can add depth to our decorating and celebration traditions.

Overall, learning about the 12 symbols of Christmas can enrich our understanding of the holiday, and help us connect with the deeper meanings behind this joyous season.

Christmas Traditions

Some Christmas Traditions Growing Up

Growing up, the true meaning of Christmas was always a priority in my family. The Christmas tree with bright lights and decorating our holiday decorations while immersing ourselves in the tunes of Christmas music. The music of Andy Williams singing “Do You Hear What I Hear” the nostalgic albums of the Chipmunks, and the cheerful sounds of jingle bells and silver bells, filled our home with a festive spirit.

One of our traditions was hanging a Christmas wreath on our front door, a symbol of the winter holiday that welcomed guests. Throughout our home, we enjoyed the sight of bells in different areas, their chimes bringing a touch of magic to the air. Strands of candy canes decorated our doorways, adding a sweet touch to the festive atmosphere. Ah, reminiscing about these traditions may reveal my age, but the memories they hold are timeless.

Our Christmas celebrations were also celebrated with our extended Italian family. Baking with my mom from a young age is a precious memory that brings a smile to my face. I was assigned rolling small balls of dough to make Struffoli, a traditional Italian pastry served on Christmas Day. As I rolled each tiny ball, I wondered how such a small batch of dough could take forever to become this treat. I can still picture the golden dough being fried. The sight of honey poured over them created a glaze that would slowly drip down. These memories are a precious gift I will always cherish, reminding me of the true spirit of Christmas.

What Mom Wanted Us To Learn About the Holiday

Mom Wanted Us To Learn the Meaning Forn The Christmas Holiday

Our mom always emphasized the true spirit of Christmas extended beyond the gifts we received that morning from Santa Claus or the joy of making Christmas cookies. Amid the excitement, she wanted us to understand the deeper meanings behind this holiday. I can still recall homemade sugar cookies for Santa metal cookie cutters leaving a carrot for the reindeer.

However, one particular memory stands out in my mind. I remember a time when I, was young, turned to my mom and said, “Mommy, today we should sing happy birthday to baby Jesus because he was born today.” At the time, my brothers, who were six years older than me, seemed confused by my suggestion. Yet, my mom, being the person she was, embraced the idea wholeheartedly. I believe it touched her heart to have a five-year-old begin this addition to our Christmas morning celebrations, and it became a cherished Christmas tradition for many years.

Now, let’s dig into the symbolic meanings that infuse Christmas with great significance. Beyond the sparkling decorations and festive ambiance, each aspect of this holiday carries its special symbolism, offering a deeper understanding and appreciation.

What Is the Meaning Of This Common Christmas Tree Topper

The Meaning Of A Common Evergreen Tree Topper

Symbol 1: The Christmas Tree Star

The symbol of the star atop the Christmas tree is one of the most recognizable symbols of the holiday season. It serves as a reminder of the role played by the Christmas star on the night of Jesus Christ’s birth. The legendary Star of Bethlehem, shining brightly in the heavens, guided the three wise men to find the newborn baby Jesus. This beacon led them to the manger where the Savior of the world lay.

In present times, the tradition of placing stars atop Christmas trees is a prominent element in our celebrations at Christmas time. These stars represent the everlasting light and hope that Christ’s birth brought into the world. They remind us of the events that unfolded centuries ago and serve as a testament to the faith and joy of the holiday season. As we decorate our trees with these stars, we pay homage to the significance of Christmas and rejoice in the love and grace that come from the heart of this sacred occasion.


You may have fun making one of these for your holiday home if you don’t want to make buy them instead.

The Meaning Of Candles For The Christmas Season

Meaning Of Candles For The Christmas Season

Symbol 2: Candles For Christmas

The symbolism of candles during the Christmas season holds deep meaning, reminding us of the spirit of Christ’s birth, which is the reason behind our celebration of Christmas. In the early Christian tradition, candles were lit to represent the star of Bethlehem, leading the way to the event of Jesus’ birth.

Before the beginning of electricity, families would decorate their Christmas trees with real candles, lighting them to light the tree’s branches. Today, we continue to honor this tradition, with safer alternatives such as battery-operated candles alongside our Christmas lights.

In particular, my husband, of Irish heritage, embraces the beautiful tradition of lighting a candle every Christmas Eve that burns until morning. This act symbolizes the birth of Jesus, filling the night with a warm glow, emphasizing the significance of Christ’s arrival into the world.

12 Symbols of Christmas and Their Meaning
12 Symbols of Christmas and Their Meaning

The Significance Of The Bow On Presents

The Significance Of The Bow On Presents

Symbol 3: Bows For Christmas

The significance of a bow on a gift during the holiday season is rooted in the concept of giving and the story of the three wise men who presented gifts in honor of the birth of Jesus. According to the New Testament of the Bible, Melchior, Balthazar, and Gaspar traveled from, bearing gifts of myrrh, gold, and incense.

Tying a bow on a gift holds a special symbolism that extends beyond a decoration. It represents the unity that binds us all together in a spirit of goodwill toward our fellow human beings.

The bow on a gift serves as a reminder of the joy that comes from giving and receiving. It symbolizes the thoughtfulness, care, and effort put into presenting a present to someone, expressing the warmth of the giver’s intention.

Moreover, the bow on a gift symbolizes the spirit of the holiday season. It reminds us of the importance of spreading kindness, sharing blessings, and a sense of unity and togetherness. It serves as a gentle way to extend love and goodwill not only to those close to us but also to our fellow human beings and foster a harmonious community.

So, as we tie a bow on a gift, let us remember that it symbolizes more than an embellishment. It captures the spirit of unity, reminding us of our goodwill toward all, and instilling a sense of joy, and love, throughout the holiday season and beyond.

Symbol 4: Red And Green for Christmas

The colors red and green hold popularity as the most recognized colors of traditional decorations for Christmas. In Christian symbolism, the color red carries a significant meaning, representing the blood of Jesus shed. This association is reflected in red berries and red poinsettias, as Christ’s sacrifice.

On the other hand, green is symbolic of everlasting life. The greenery in evergreen trees, holly, and mistletoe holds special significance during Christmastime, representing Christ’s life. In ancient pagan traditions, these evergreens served as symbols of the winter solstice, signifying the return of light and the nature of life. This serves as a reminder that even amidst the winter season, nature persists and continues to flourish.

The combination of red and green in Christmas decorations summarizes the message of Christ’s sacrifice and everlasting life. These colors are the warmth, vitality, and hope, of the holiday season. Whether decorating a Christmas tree, wreath, or festive garlands, the red and green hues are reminders of the Christian faith and the enduring presence of life, both in nature and in the gift of Christ’s love.


Wreaths, crafted from evergreen branches such as pine and holly, represent eternal life. These branches remain green and vibrant even in the middle of the coldest months of winter, serving as a reminder of the enduring nature of life. The choice of evergreen wreaths signifies the hope found in Christ’s birth, the promise of everlasting life. As these wreaths grace our homes during the holiday season, they serve as the unwavering presence of life and the spirit of Christmas.

Christmas Wreaths Symbolize Life

What do Wreaths Symbolize?

Symbol 5: Christmas Wreath

Generally, the circular shape and the evergreen of the wreath are a representation of eternal life. It is also a representation of faith, as Christians in often placed a candle on the wreath during Advent to symbolize the light that Jesus brought into the world.

Today these are also traditional Christmas symbols.


What Do Bells Symbolize For The Holiday Season?

Bells Are Special For Christmas

Symbol 6: Bells For Christmas

Bells, a symbol of Christmas, hold a special place in our holiday traditions. Their joyful ringing fills the air with a sense of celebration, bringing a beautiful sound to the season.

Bells have been associated with Christmas for centuries. They serve as a reminder of the joyous news by angels on the night of Christ’s birth. Just as the angels’ voices resonated in the skies, bells echo the message of hope, peace, and goodwill to all.

Bells have practical uses during the holiday season. Before electric lights, bells were attached to Christmas trees and other decorations, their gentle jingles added a touch of magic to the festive season. They served as a joyful addition to carols and hymns, enhancing the spirit of togetherness that Christmas brings.

As we listen to the chiming of bells during Christmas, their cheerful sound lifts our spirits and fills our hearts with joy. They serve as a reminder of the true meaning of the season and the celebration of the birth of Jesus.

In modern times, bells continue to hold significant meaning during the holiday season. The circular shape of the wreath embodies the idea of everlasting life, while the evergreen elements represent resilience and vitality. They remind us of the unending presence of Christ’s love and the hope that his birth brings.


You may enjoy making this easy idea for your home!

The Meaning Of Candy Canes Christmas Holiday

A Candy Can Symbolize What For This Holiday?

Symbol 7: Candy Canes For Christmas

Have you ever thought about the significance behind the iconic candy cane during the Christmas season? The unique shape of the candy holds deep symbolic meaning. The hook shape of the candy cane represents the shepherd’s crook, symbolizing the shepherds who visited the newborn Jesus in the Nativity story.

Furthermore, the red stripe adorning the candy cane carries symbolic significance as well. It represents the blood of Christ, a reminder of his sacrifice and the redemption he brings. The white stripes symbolize the purity and holiness of Jesus, often referred to as the Good Shepherd.

Interestingly, there is another hidden meaning when you flip the candy cane upside down. What do you see? It forms the letter “J,” which holds great significance as it represents the name of Jesus. Jesus is often referred to as our “Rock,” and the choice of using hard candy for the candy cane serves as a reminder that he is steadfast, dependable, and strong.

The candy cane, with its rich symbolism, was crafted intentionally to convey important messages to children and adults alike. It serves as a sweet reminder that Jesus is our rock, supporting and guiding us through difficult times. It reinforces the belief that he is trustworthy, unwavering, and capable of helping us overcome any challenges we may face.

Next time you encounter a candy cane, take a moment to appreciate the profound meaning it carries. It is not merely a delightful treat but a powerful representation of the faith, love, and hope embodied in the Christmas story.


The Symbol of Mistletoe and Winter During Christmas

What’s Mistletoe Symbolizing for Winter?

Symbol 8: Mistletoe For Christmas

Mistletoe, a plant associated with Christmas, carries deep symbolism related to romance, fertility, and vitality. It is worth noting that mistletoe is a parasitic plant, relying on host trees for its nourishment and growth.

The Celtic Druids held mistletoe in high regard for its healing properties, making them among the first to incorporate it into Christmas decorations. They recognized its ability to blossom even during the frozen winter months, leading them to view it as a sacred symbol of vibrancy and vitality. The Druids believed in its power to restore fertility, and they administered mistletoe to humans and animals alike, hoping to promote their ability to conceive.

Through the ages, mistletoe has become synonymous with Christmas traditions, particularly in the topic of romance and love. Hanging mistletoe in doorways or other locations has become a custom, inviting individuals standing beneath it to share a kiss. This tradition connects mistletoe with the magic of the holiday season, igniting feelings of affection, and warmth.


The Almanac says: “A young lady caught under the mistletoe could not refuse to give a kiss. This increases her chances of marriage since a girl who wasn’t kissed could still be single next Christmas. According to ancient custom, one berry is removed after each kiss until they are gone.”

What’s the Story Behind Tinsel for the Holiday

What Tinsel Symbolizes and Why We Use It

Symbol 9: Tinsel for Christmas

Tinsel holds a special place in Christmas traditions as it is carefully added to Christmas trees, to enhance the shimmering beauty of flickering candles and decorative lights. It brings a sparkle that adds a touch of magic to the tree.

Furthermore, tinsel also carries symbolic meaning, representing the starry sky that watched over the Nativity scene. Just as the stars illuminated the night when Jesus was born, tinsel reflects that celestial radiance, bringing a sense of wonder.

The strands of tinsel spill down the branches, resembling the twinkling stars in the night sky. This touch serves as a reminder of the nature of the Christmas story, where the birth of Jesus brought light and hope into the world.

As we decorate our Christmas trees with tinsel, we embrace not only its appeal but also its symbolic significance.

With each strand of tinsel, we are reminded of the light that led the way to the newborn Jesus, and we embrace the joy, and spiritual significance that the Christmas season brings.

Meaning of a Hanging Stocking for Santa

Stocking hanging for Santa and the Holidays

Symbol 10: Stockings For Christmas

The Christmas stocking is a symbol of the holiday season, often seen as an empty sock or a sock-shaped bag. It is commonly decorated in bright red or green colors, with white fur trim, and is hung on Christmas Eve in the hope of a visit from St. Nicholas, Santa Claus, or Father Christmas.

But have you ever wondered about this cherished tradition? The legend behind the Christmas stocking traces back to Nicholas of Myra, a revered 4th-century Bishop known as Saint Nicholas, who is believed to have inspired the iconic figure of Santa Claus.

According to the legend, Saint Nicholas came across a nobleman who had fallen into hard times and was unable to provide for his three daughters. With a generous heart, Saint Nicholas decided to help. Late at night, he visited the nobleman’s house and noticed the stockings of the three girls hanging by the fireplace to dry. Inspired by his generous nature, he placed gold coins in each of the stockings.

Today, the tradition of hanging stockings serves as a reminder of the spirit of Christmas. It symbolizes the joy of giving and receiving and the belief in the magic of Santa Claus.

As we hang our stockings with care, we keep alive the age-old tradition that embodies the spirit of Saint Nicholas and the joyous celebration of Christmas. It is a time-honored custom that warms our hearts and reminds us of the importance of this special season.

These are easy to make and fun for the entire family and these are so easy too!


The Meaning of the Poinsettia and its Special Meaning

What is the Meaning of a Poinsettia and its Special Meaning?

Symbol 11: Poinsettias for Christmas

The Poinsettia, often overlooked as the 11th symbol of the Christmas season, carries a heartfelt significance. This vibrant flower symbolizes shining hope, good luck, and purity, adding a touch of natural beauty to holiday decorations and celebrations.

Angels Above Have Important And Interesting Meanings For The Christmas Season

Angels Have Important And Interesting Meaning For The Christmas Season

Symbol 12: Angels And Their Meaning For Christmas

Angels, in the original Christmas story, hold great meaning during the holiday season. They played a role in the first Christmas, with the legend recounting their visitation to Joseph and the Virgin Mary, anticipating the birth of the Christ child. It was on the night of Christ’s arrival that angels graced the skies above Bethlehem, declaring the news of our heavenly Father to the world.

For many of us, myself included, the belief in guardian angels brings solace and reassurance, especially during challenging moments in our lives. We find comfort in these celestial beings who are watching over us, offering their protection and guidance. In times of illness or when we need strength to persevere, we hang onto the belief that there are angels by our side, providing support.

As we celebrate Christmas, the presence of angels reminds us of the significance of the holiday season. They invite us to embrace the belief in something greater, to find comfort in their presence, and to hold onto the faith that guides us through life’s trials and triumphs.

Angels, for example, came from the original Christmas story. Also, angels played a significant part in the first Christmas. The legend says angels visited Joseph and the Virgin Mary regarding the birth of the Christ child. On the night of Christ’s birth angels appeared in the sky over Bethlehem to announce the arrival of our heavenly father to the world.

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Mom’s Courage and Strength

Mom’s Bravery And Strength

My Symbol Of Strength

I also have the belief that the loved ones that I have lost over the years are watching over me. I truly believe my mom and my grandmother watch over me every day. Going through the battle of MS and Alopecia I can still hear my mom say to me God gives what you can handle.

Truthfully at times, I do say I can’t handle it anymore, it’s too much now. But somehow I have dealt with having MS rather well for 35 years and I believe it’s from her courage.

But then I think of my precious mom who fought so hard until the bitter end of her life and I believe I have her strength and courage because my mom not only had grace she had undeniable courage. She still believed in her faith no matter what.

Yes, I truly believe I have my mother’s courage and ability to fight so hard from her. My mom instilled values in me to never give up and to always believe. I will not deny that at times I question things and ask why these things keep happening but I know my mother the ANGEL of the universe is watching over me and reminding me I’m strong.

I hope you enjoyed the 12 symbols of Christmas and their meaning and learned some cool facts too!

Have a Great Day
Have a Great Day

Christmas pieces from Amazon that symbolize the holiday season

This beautiful tree topper

The perfect wreath to symbolize life

Knit stockings perfect for small trinkets

Perfect red and green for the symbol stockings!

I LOVE these candles and use these all winter!

Great candle sticks!


DIY Christmas Signs


Christmas Star Tree Toppers


Star Anise Wreaths

12 thoughts on “12 Symbols of Christmas and Their Meaning

    1. Thankyou of reminding what Christmas is about. So often in the hustle and bustle of the season the meaning gets lost. I also loved how you feel your Mother and Grandmother are still sending their love and giving you strength to do all you do.
      Have a lovely and peaceful holiday season and God Bless you and yours.

  1. I love the idea of candles on the tree. Growing up, my best friend’s family did this. No lights, just candles. Very pretty.

  2. I think I clicked out without posting my comment. UGH. Anyway, this was a great post and I did know most of the things- but not all.
    I do believe your mom and grandmom are watching over you. I had the oddest thing happen to me several years ago. I was born and raised in PA and my little gramma Stella was a wonderful woman. She always loved me unconditionally. We were out somewhere and this man I had never seen before came up to me and said…I don’t normally do this but I want you to know that there is a small woman with straight brown hair with round wire glasses that is right with you. I about fell over because she looked nothing like me and no one here (WI) would have ever seen her. She died when I was a young mom. I had such a deep peace after that.
    Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, Cindy. I keep you in my prayers for continued health and management of your MS. xo Diana

  3. I LOVED this post Cindy! Every year when I’m putting up Christmas I wonder about a lot of these things. I have the best intentions of doing a bit of research but I never have. Thank you for putting this together!

  4. Great post on the meaning of Christmas and the symbols we use to celebrate. Thanks for sharing Cindy!I am excited to tell you this post will be featured in Tuesday Turn About Link party this week! Thanks for joining us and I hope to see you at the party this week! Pinning! 😊

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