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Christmas Tradition has Ancient Roots


At this time of the year, many Christians around the world decorate their homes for the Christmas holiday. In addition to the traditional Christmas tree, many people put decorated wreaths on their door. These celebratory wreaths can trace their roots back long before the birth of Jesus Christ, whose birth is celebrated on Christmas day. For producer Nadia Madjid, VOA's Jim Bertel has more on the holiday tradition of Christmas wreaths.

At this time of year, many houses and buildings in the United States are decorated with Christmas wreaths. This tradition of adorning doors and walls with decorative wreaths dates back to the 7th century B.C. when wreaths made of tree branches were used to crown the winners of the Olympic games. No one really knows how or when the head ornament became a wall decoration. Many speculate it occurred when athletes hung their awards on the wall as a memento of victory.

Today wreaths are made from any number of things and decorated in many ways. Wreath making classes are offered each year at the Tudor Place Historic House and Garden in Washington, DC. Spokeswoman Emily Rusch. "Our wreath making workshop has been going on for a few years, and it's grown in popularity every year. And it's very rewarding to look at the wreath on your door and say 'yes, I made that!'"

Kim Shaw and John Zimmer say the wreath-making workshop is a great way to get ready for the holidays. Kims says everyone gets in the spirit of Christmas. "I think it gets everybody in the Christmas spirit, the holiday spirit." John adds, "It's my first time, but it won't be my last, though. I think we might be back next year, maybe bring some friends."

The wreath makers have different levels of experience and some, like Kim Shaw, are not afraid to learn from others. "I saw her idea over there and I thought it was really cute, so I'm going to give it a shot. So I'm putting some things together and see what I get. Hmm, I don't know, there are so many options!"

And John Zimmer is happy with his results. "Very proud!"

So is Kim Shaw "With pride! Yes! Yes! It's so much more fun to make it than it is to buy it."