Mileaway Farm in Searsomet, Maine posts the following on their website:
The making of wreaths is an ancient and honored art that began about a thousand years before the birth of Christ. The Christmas Wreath symbolizes the strength of life overcoming the forces of winter. In ancient Rome, people used decorative wreaths as a sign of victory and celebration. the custom of hanging a wreath on the front door of your home probably came from this practice. At Christmas, the wreath is symbolic of Christian immortality. the circle and the sphere are symbols of immortality. The use of evergreens and wreaths as symbols of life was also an ancient custom of the Egyptians, Chinese, and Hebrews among other people.Another website shows: The wreath has a long history and many religious associations dating back to the ancient cultures of the Persian Empire. Originally, the circlet was called a "diadem" and took the form of fabric headbands which were sometimes adorned with jewels. Beginning in 776 B.C., wreaths made of laurel leaves were used to crown victors of Olympic Games. Later, when the Games began to move to different cities, each host city would award head garlands made of branches of local trees.
The use of evergreens for Christmas wreaths and other decorations probably arose in northern Europe, Itally and Spain in the early 19th century. The traditional colors of Christmas are green and red. Green represents the continuance of life through the winter and the Christian belief in eternal life through Christ. Red symbolizes the blood that Jesus shed at his crucifixion. but for most of the 20th century, the word "wreath" conjured up visions of rings of evergreens with red ribbons hung on doors at Christmas. The traditional Christmas wreath is hung anytime from right after Thanksgiving to mid-December and left hanging through the winter months. Here in Maine, we threaten to send out the "Wreath Police" if your Christmas wreath is still hanging after Easter.
Exactly when the transition from head ornament to wall decoration occurred is unclear. It is likely that celebration attendees simply hung the leafy headbands on their walls as souvenirs. Today, beautifully decorated wreaths are not only an integral part of the December holidays, but they're popular thoughout the year, decorated to fit each season. __________________________________________
I just love the look of Christmas wreaths. I think they are inviting and they smell wonderfully fragrant every time you open the door. With my life so frantic lately and my lack of "decorational aptitude" I still have summer grapevine wreaths with yellow silk flowers on the pink double doors at 12 Vinal Street. That will be my mission today! I will have Christmas wreaths on my doors by tonight! Have a great Sunday and send me a picture of your Christmas doors if you have a digital camera or camera phone. I'd love to see them and share them with others.