The Meaning of Christmas Symbols

There are many symbols associated with the Christmas festival. Some are rooted in the Christian faith, others have been incorporated from pagan beliefs that predate Christianity. As we know, there has been some kind of celebration around the winter solstice here in the UK for thousands of year.

If you are interested in what some of the meanings of Christmas symbols are, then read on.



Many of us hang a star to the top of our Christmas tree. But it also features throughout our Christmas decor. The Christmas star represents the star of Bethlehem as told in the story of the Nativity. It was the star that guided the three kings/wise men to visit baby Jesus who had just been born in a stable.

A star also symbolises hope for many people. A star shines bright and reminds us that tomorrow is another day.


Just like stars the candle flames can be seen to represent the star of Bethlehem.

Also, before electricity, people would use candles to light a Christmas tree. So there’s a tradition there.

Candles are also significant in Judaism during Hanukkah, the festival of lights. And during Kwanzaa, the celebration of the African diaspora, a candle is light daily.

The Colours of Red and Green

In Christian belief red is said to symbolise the blood of Jesus who died on the on the cross.

Red also signifies the colour of winter berries such as that found on holly bushes.During the pagan celebrations in ancient Rome during winter solstice the berries represented life at the darkest time of the year.

Likewise, the colour green signifies life as evergreen trees and branches are brought into the home.

Winter Holly Bush


During Christmas time bells are rung at Churches through Europe to celebrate the season.

Similarly, the ringing of bells was used in pagan winter festivals to ward off evil spirits.


Mistletoe is said to symbolise love. The Druids used to claim that it could promote fertility.

Misteltoe is a parasitic plant that can only survive by being attached to a tree.


The circular wreath hung on the front door represents the circle of life, love, and rebirth. The wreath represents strength.

Candy Cane
Candy Cane

Candy Canes

The shape of candy canes represent the shape of a shepherd’s crook. Jesus Christ is often referred to as the ‘Good Shepherd’. Likewise, he was visited at birth by shepherds.

The red colour represents blood in recognition of Jesus’ sacrifice. And the white colour represents his purity of spirit.


Those who visited Jesus at birth brought gifts in his honour. According the bible the wisemen brought gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

What are your favourite symbols at Christmas?

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