Advent Wreath: Four candles placed on a wreath. One candle is lit each Sunday before Christmas in anticipation of Christ's birthday.
Angel: An angel told the shepherds of the birth of Jesus. Angels come in many forms for Christmas decorations including the tree topper.
Bells: Church bells rang to announce the birth of Jesus. They still ring today.
Camels: Camels are the animals the wise men rode following the star to where Jesus was born.
Candles: Candles represent the light that Jesus brought to earth. Pagans who converted to Christianity used candles on the sacred evergreen tree.
Christmas Cards: For many years, private notes of good tidings were sent at Christmas time. In 1843, Sir Henry Cole had 1000 special designed cards printed. The custom of sending Christmas cards began.
Christmas Caroling: Caroling is a medieval custom of singing and dancing around a Christmas tree. Early carols weren't holy enough for singing inside a church, so caroling was done outside.
Christmas Stocking : There is a legend associated with the origin of Christmas stockings. St. Nick, who wanted to remain anonymous and help a poor family, threw gold coins down their chimney. They fell into a stocking that was hanging there to dry.
Christmas tree Lights: The lights represent Christ as being the "Light of the World." Lights also represent stars. Candles were first used as lights on the Christmas tree.
Crèche : A manger scene representing the Jesus' place of birth.
Evergreen Tree: The evergreen tree was decorated by the pagans at the feast of the winter solstice. The evergreen tree was a sign that winter would end.
Gifts: The first Christmas gifts were given by the Wise men to Baby Jesus.
Holly: Holly is a shrub with spiny leaves and red berries. The leaves remain green throughout the year. Pagans thought its greenness was a promise that the sun would return. Early French and English families hung holly over their doors to symbolize a home in which Christ's birth is celebrated.
Manger: A cow's manger is the place where Baby Jesus slept. It is part of the Crèche.
Mistletoe : A sprig of evergreen plant hung at Christmas time. Custom is that people can kiss each other standing under it.
Poinsettia : This flower was brought to the U.S. by Dr, J.R. Poinsett in 1825. He was the first United States ambassador to Mexico. Because of its flame leaf, the poinsettia is sometimes called the Christmas Star.
Reindeer : Reindeer were the animals chosen by St. Nicholas to pull his sleigh. His reindeers' names are Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner and Blitzen. Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer is the most famous.
Saint Nicholas : Saint Nicholas was a real person. He was a kind bishop who brought presents to children and needy people.
Star : The Star of Bethlehem guided the Three Wise men to Baby Jesus.
Tinsel : There is a legend associated with this thin metalic foil strip decoration. It tells about parents who trimmed a tree while their children were sleeping. Spiders came to see the tree, leaving cobwebs all over it. The Christ Child came to bless the tree and turned the cobwebs to silver.
Three Wise men: Three Kings travelled far to see Jesus. They brought their best treasures for gifts.
Frankincense : A resin from a rare and sacred tree used as incense
Myrrh: A resin from a shrub used in making perfume.
Yule Log : The word "yule" means "wheel," a symbol representing the sun. Before Jesus was born, pagans thought the sun stood still for 12 days at the end of the year. A log was cut large enough to burn for this time period to burn away last year's evil.