English Language Blog

Christmas decorations in America Posted by on Dec 23, 2014 in Culture

Christmas stockings.

Christmas stockings hung as decoration.
Image by Ryan Tyler Smith on Flickr.com.

Christmas time is now upon us! The holiday of Christmas means many different things to many different people, but one thing is sure, if you celebrate Christmas you are likely to have Christmas decorations in your home this time of year. Even if you don’t celebrate Christmas, if you are in the United States, you are going to see a lot of Christmas decorations around now.

Green Christmas wreath with red bow.

A Christmas wreath with a red bow.
Image by Brad Fults on Flickr.com.

Christmas decorations in America include a wide variety of ornamentation (ornamentation = things used to make other things more attractive or festive). Most often these decorations will feature the traditional Christmas colors: green and red. For example, a red bows on a green wreath. Wreaths are round door hangings decorations that are made from holly or evergreen tree branches.  Another Christmas decoration made from evergreen trees is something called garland. Garland is made from interwoven pieces of evergreen branches that make a “rope” that is hung in rooms and from buildings. Both wreathes and garland are common decorations due to their color (green) and their pleasant smell. Of course Christmas trees themselves are green and smell good too; they are a very common decorations this time of year as well. Christmas trees in America can be bought as naturally grown trees or synthetic plastic trees, made to look real. Although Christmas trees are beautiful by themselves, usually people decorate them with ornaments (see picture below). Another plant that is commonly used in Christmas decorations in America is the poinsettia.  Poinsettias are a red-leafed plants which are in bloom this time of year.

A decorated Christmas tree.

A decorated Christmas tree.
Image by William Hook on Flickr.com.

Other symbols of Christmas, which are usually included in Christmas decorations, include: bells, angels, candles, candy canes, and stockings.  Bells are connected with Christmas because of the ringing of church bells on Christmas morning. Angels are connected to Christmas because of their role in the Christmas story of the birth of Jesus. Candles are connected to Christmas when they are placed in the windows of a home as a symbolic gesture that there is shelter inside for travelers. This is connected to the Christmas story when Mary and Joseph could not find shelter on the night Jesus was born. Candy canes, which are a red and white striped candy, are a Christmas symbol that are said to represent a shepherd’s staff, and shepherds also have a part in the Christmas story of the birth of Christ. Lastly, stockings (stockings = an old word for socks) are traditionally hung by children on Christmas night as a place for Santa to leave them gifts. Santa Clause is a common figure in Christmas decorations too – you can read more abut him here.

Christmas candles in a window.

Christmas candles in a window.
Image by Timo Newton-Syms on Flickr.com.

Religious symbols are also important Christmas decorations in the United States. Decorations that include a baby Jesus and other people from the Christmas story, (such as Jesus’ parents, three wise men, a shepherd, and barn animals) are called a nativity scene. This type of decoration is often found in front of churches, but also miniature version nativity scenes are found in people’s homes.

Christmas nativity scene.

A small nativity scene for in a home.
Image by Patrick Sweeney on Flickr.com.

All of these Christmas decorations are found across the United States, in small towns and big cities, in homes and in public this time of year. Christmas time in the United States is hard to miss because there are decorations almost everywhere to remind people of it. These decorations also help to bring about something called “the Christmas spirit,” which is said to makes people friendlier and more giving to others. In my opinion this really does happen!

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About the Author: Gabriele

Hi there! I am one of Transparent Language's ESL bloggers. I am a 32-year-old native English speaker who was born and raised in the United States. I am living in Washington, DC now, but I have lived all over the US and also spent many years living and working abroad. I started teaching English as a second language in 2005 after completing a Master's in Applied Linguists and a Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults' (CELTA). Since that time I have taught ESL in the United States at the community college and university level. I have also gone on to pursue my doctorate in psychology and now I also teach courses in psychology. I like to stay connected to ESL learners around the world through Transparent Languages ESL Blog. Please ask questions and leave comments on the blog and I will be sure to answer them.