Christmas DecorationsChristmas Decorations:
Central to the Christmas decorations is the Christmas crib with the nativity scene figurines involving Baby Jesus with Mary and Joseph in the stable among the animals and the hay, the shepherds and their sheep with the Angels who appeared to them, and the three Kings on their way with the star to guide them. In this world and age with all the strife and turmoil, it would be good for us to remember the little babe of Bethlehem who came to this world with the message of love, joy and peace for all humanity.
Christmas has always signified peace, harmony and brotherhood with the whole family getting together to celebrate the holiday wherever in the world they may be at other times. Christmas is always associated with ringing bells, carolers singing, Christmas ornaments and lights decking up the home both indoors and outdoors and giving the whole area a festive look. There are also the unforgettable Christmas trees decorated with silver foil icicles, tinsel and tin metal ornaments, chains made of tiny Czechoslovakia beads, cotton snow, wreaths and garlands, not to forget the lights which give the scene a particular sparkle and delight.
Winter is a time when most Nature is barren and dry and the animals hibernate for lack of food and warmth, living on stored nuts and so on. Except for the hardy evergreens like holly, ivy and mistletoe which are a relief and wonder amidst the stark white snow and dry branches of other trees, extended to the heavens. Thats why they have always been used to brighten the starkness of the winter season. The Norse myths inspired the mistletoe kissing tradition the story going that goddess Frea gave a good luck charm of mistletoe to her son Balder to keep him safe from the elements. Since mistletoe grows on trees and not from fire, air, water or earth, it also held the potential to harm him and an arrow made of mistletoe hurled by the blind god Hoder felled him as Matthew Arnold has expressed in his poem Balder Dead. There was loud lamentation in Valhalla, and goddess Frea herself mourned, crying tears of white berries, but brought Balder back to life again and made a solemn oath to kiss anyone beneath the mistletoe. That is where the tradition of kissing underneath the mistletoe had its roots. All over Europe mistletoe was thought to have wonderful abilities to heal and also ward off misfortunes or bad luck, while counteracting poisons and make creatures unable to bear young, bear fruit. Likewise, the dark green spiky leaves and red berries of holly were said to have magical abilities as well as the power to force evil spirits away whereas in Germany, it was supposed to be a good luck charm when confronted with the unfriendly forces of Nature.
Christmas decorations also included the food arrayed on the tables and which became a part of the Christmas dcor. With the holiday season drawing near, there was a great deal of mixing and baking and cooking and steaming to come up with all the assorted Christmas goodies like sugared fruits, candies and cookies, not to mention the Christmas pudding that got pride of place on the table. Serving the Christmas pudding as a dessert on Christmas day is a custom that is followed in Britain, Ireland and most of the countries colonized by Britain in the old days. Customarily, every adult and especially every child in the family helped stir the pudding and each one made a wish close to their heart while stirring the mixture. Silver coins were put in the pudding mixture in the past and became the property of those who found them in their serving and the coin or coins were said to result in prosperity in the next year. There were also other small tokens put in the pudding mixture like a small wishbone for luck, a silver thimble symbolizing thrift and an anchor to signify safe harbor. The pudding itself was carried in with the turning out of the lights, enveloped in a purple halo of brandy flames. All these goodies have become a traditional part of Christmas and Christmas is not the same without them.
Deck the halls with boughs of holly as the Christmas carol goes, garlands and wreaths of holly are omnipresent in every home and Americans hang a wreath on the front door symbolizing friendship and welcome to everyone in the festive season. The decorations are not confined only to the indoors but also spill out into the outdoors with lights and snow and decorations making it a veritable winter wonderland. Shops and streets and every available area of outdoor space are lit up, decorated and beautified and bring lots of cheer to everyone in the season of goodwill and harmony especially when it is otherwise cold, dark and wintry. The artistic levels of Christmas decorations have reached an all time high with the rapid advances and innovativeness of the Christmas industry and creativity has its own rewards. Each one can follow their own inclinations in selecting the Christmas decorations and even when people work as a team to decorate the home or public place, there is no shortage of ideas or the materials for decoration whether commercially available or found in the fields and woods of the surrounding countryside.
There is a lot of commercialization of the Christmas season all over the world today, with it having become a universal festival and the original message of love, joy and peace almost forgotten in the rampant pursuit of material things. There is a lot of disharmony and discord in the world today and it would be better if everyone remembered the message of the babe of Bethlehem who was one day to die on the cross. From the stable to the cross He led an ordinary life extraordinarily well and inspired millions with His call for love and brotherhood and remains the single most influential figure in world history.