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Etisha Collective

Christmas Decor from round the world

Christmas is the perfect time to spruce up the house, adding those glittering festive touches we have been dreaming about for months. We have explored how different countries decorate the house, according to newer and older traditions – what better time to dig into our traditions than Christmas?

Photo by Burkay Canatar on Pexels

Wreaths – England

Originating in ancient Greece as a sign of victory, wreaths today appear in almost every English-speaking country during the winter months, with a new layer of meaning. The association between evergreen and the Christmas season is proposed through wreaths, where holly, ivy or mistletoe are intricately weaved in a circular shape in either a red, golden, or snowy colour palette.

Typically, wreaths hang on the door as a welcoming reminder of the Christmas season. In a more untraditional setting, they can also be placed inside the house, to liven up the living room, for instance above the fireplace.

We are particularly fond of wreaths and thoroughly recommend a DIY session with a hot chocolate on the side.

Photos by cottonbro on Pexels

Window decoration – Sweden

Typical of Northern Europe, the decoration of windows can vary from snowflakes to more elaborate designs or the cult little wooden horse (Dalahästar). We like particularly the wooden Schwibbogen, intricate wooden masterpieces representing winter scenes that can be eventually lit, and the more traditional display of lit candles in a pyramid shape, symbolising the apostles.

This decor has the special power of blurring the demarcation of what is inside or outside the house, communicating the joy of Christmas to neighbours or passer-by.

Photo by Ksenia Chernaya on Pexels

Shoes by the fire – France

Christmas is, amongst other things, certainly a time for dreaming. French children help “decorate” the living room on 24th December by leaving their shoes under the fireplace, in the hope that Santa will fill them up with presents during his nightly visit to the house.

Similarly, American children hang stockings on the mantelpiece and traditionally, as a symbol of generosity, leave a cup of milk and cookies for Santa to recharge during his long, magical night of travelling.

Photo by Ksenia Chernaya on Pexels

The Holy Nativity – Italy

The presepe, a representation of the nativity scene dating back to the Middle Ages, is nowadays a widely diffused tradition in all catholic countries.

In Italy, the city of Naples prides itself with the longest tradition of craftsmanship of the presepe figurines, and visiting the old-town botteghe where the artisans showcase their beautifully detailed work is a true pleasure to the eyes.

Classic figures of the traditional Neapolitan presepe include the wine maker, the laundress, the fisherman and the Biblical Magi, the three wise man who followed the Star of Bethlehem, which makes an appearance in the presepe on 24th December.

The Christmas tree – Germany

Germany is credited with the origins of the decorated evergreen tree, and we can doubtlessly say the tree has scored a global success.

The individual approach to ornaments, adapted to fit different traditions, generates a variety of decorations: from beautiful, hand-decorated baubles in southern Germany and Austria, to glass red apples in France, spiders and cobwebs in Ukraine, geometric structures made of straw in Finland and paper elements in Denmark.

 

We like particularly how the Christmas tree becomes a focal point of both the home decor and the Christmas celebrations: from decorating it together with family and close friends to singing traditional songs gathered around it on Christmas eve, to placing the presents below its adorned branches.

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