The Winter Wreath: Symbolism and Simplicity
The round shape of most wreaths represents the circle of life. Wreaths made of tree boughs or leaves represent the cycle of nature and the life-giving nature of forests. Make a winter wreath with tree boughs, especially with boughs of the evergreen, which is highly revered as a symbol of eternal life.
The evergreen tree has been integral to the spiritual life of many societies and can be dated back to at least 4000 years B.C. While a tree itself is an embodiment of nature—roots, seeds, symbol of fertility and life—the evergreen is highly revered because it doesn’t lose its leaves, and thus it has become a symbol of eternal life. For this reason the evergreen is also often commonly used as an Advent wreath.
Evergreen wreaths have been hung since the earliest times and are symbolic of the survival of life against the odds—the lack of light and the cold of deep winter. The green-colored boughs represent hope and new life.
Holly leaves, with their shiny leaves and berries, are popular substitutes for evergreen wreaths.
Making your own wreaths is a really fun project, and kids enjoy it too. Try these easy directions and you will be as hooked on the project as my daughter and I are: We try to make a new door wreath for every season!
Heavy-gauge wire wreath armature
Green or brown florist’s wire
Determine the size of the bough bunches you’ll need (big wreaths look balanced with longer bunches, about 12 inches long; small wreaths may look best with shorter bunches, about 6 inches long).
Assemble about 8 to 15 branches in bunches; wire the bunches together at the cut ends with florist’s wire. Wire each bunch to the wreath’s armature, holding the cut ends to the armature and covering the cut ends of the previous bunch, so you have a continuous presentation of boughs. (A good way to gauge where to start adding the next bunch is to wire it about 1 inch past the ends of the previous cut ends.) Keep going until you have covered all of the stems and the armature. Trim and neaten the wreath, then add a ribbon as desired.
When the holidays are over, remove the branches and compost them, mulch with them, or strip off the needles and make door draft snakes!
By Annie B. Bond