The Colors of Christmas: Red, Green and Gold

Have you ever wondered why red, green and gold are generally considered as the colors of Christmas? Why not orange, purple and blue?

Well, after searching high and low, deep and wide, it appears that the acceptance of red, green and gold as the Christmas colors has both historical and religious origins.

The Colors of Christmas
The Colors of Christmas

The Origin of Christmas Colors

There are two accepted beliefs about the origin of the Christmas colours, red, green and gold. One is based on Christian tradition, and the other based on historical fact.

Since the early part of the historical fact came before the Christian tradition, this will be explained first.

photo courtesy of WDC
photo courtesy of WDC

Pre-Christian Historical Basis of the Green Color of Christmas

Long before Christ was born; green has already been considered as a powerful symbol of mystery and life.

People observed that long after other plants have died during the winter, fir trees and holly bushes have remained evergreen. So they thought that something magical must be making these trees and bushes survive the harshest of winters. These plants were thus worshipped and feared at the same time. From then on, they have come to be associated with the mystery of life and green became the color of life.

Holly Wreath Photo Source: http://www.bigbunch.co.uk/images
Holly Wreath Photo Source: http://www.bigbunch.co.uk/images | Source

Historical records show that the Romans wove wreaths of holly and hang these on their walls and doors to celebrate the winter solstice. These wreaths show that they are looking forward to the "rebirth" of the sun and the return of warmer weather.

Only the color green has pre-Christian origin. The other Christmas colors, red and gold became significant only after the birth of Christ.

Christian Tradition and the Red and Green Colors of Christmas

At around the 4th Century when the church began to celebrate Christ's birth on December 25, many Christians who have adorned their homes with wreaths of holly for the winter solstice, just left the wreaths to decorate their homes during Christmas as well. Thus, the color green and wreaths of holly became associated with the birth of Christ.

If green represents the birth of Christ, red represents the blood of Christ and his death. People at this time also took to adding red berries on their green wreaths of holly. This made the wreaths more eyecatching.

Thus red and green has become associated with the celebration of Christ's birth, death and rising from the dead.

Centuries later, churches started presenting religious plays to help educate the public.

On December 24, churches presented "The Paradise Play", the story of Adam and Eve. Since apple trees are not available during this time of the year, pine trees were used and red apples were hanged on the trees. From then on, pine trees with red apples decorating them have come to be associated with the Christmas season and people started bringing this tree tradition to their homes.

The Gold Color of Christmas

Since decorating pine trees with red apples and hanging wreaths of holly with red berries became a Christian tradition, another color was added to give even more significance to this tradition. This additional color is, gold. It represents the gift of gold from one of the Three Kings. It also signifies the gift of eternal life.

Cultural Significance of Red, Green, and Gold

Red

Red has different meanings in different cultures. Its meaning can range from health, anger, bravery, love, passion, sacrifice, danger, and courage. But its Christmas meaning is the blood of Christ.

Green

Like red, green also has different cultural meanings. It can represent fertility, hope, and environmentalism on the positive side. However, it also has negative connotation such as poison, evil, envy and even death. Still during Christmas, green is the symbol of birth and life that remains vibrant even under harsh conditions.

Gold

Gold like red and green, also has both positive and negative cultural meanings. Gold or its base color yellow, can mean both bravery or cowardice. It can also mean both life and sickness. However, its Christmas meaning is that of the richness of eternal life.

The Other Colors of Christmas

Modern Christmas celebrations now use other colors like blue, silver, purple and just about any of the other rainbow colors. However the predominant colors of Christmas are still red, green and gold.

Blue inspired Christmas decor
Blue inspired Christmas decor

Red, Green and Gold: The Colors of Christmas

The colors of Christmas are best represented by the following lines from a popular song, "Silver Bells":

"...Strings of street lights
Even stop lights
Blink a bright red and green...."

Yes, the colors of Christmas are actually embodied in our street lights that blink red and green and of course gold or yellow for caution.

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Comments 57 comments

carrie450 profile image

carrie450 5 years ago from Winnipeg, Canada

Nice hub Jill. I love the colors of Christmas. It's the best time of the year.


samsons1 profile image

samsons1 5 years ago from Tennessee

voted up and beautiful! As usual a most beautiful hub, particularly enjoyed your multiple page breaks, the brackets of the 'Crown of Thorns' plant. Most unique.

Happy Holidays, Jill and blessings...


anglnwu profile image

anglnwu 5 years ago

Thanks for explaining--we take the colors of Christmas for granted and now, I know why they were chosen. I love your pictures of Christmas ornaments. Rated beautiful. Have a Merry Christmas--i know, it's seem like a long way off but we before we know it, it's here.


jill of alltrades profile image

jill of alltrades 5 years ago from Philippines Author

Hi Carrie,

I love Christmas too - its colors, smell, sounds, weather, and of course spirit.

Thanks very much for being the first one here! Your comment makes me happy!

God bless!


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jill of alltrades 5 years ago from Philippines Author

Hi Sam,

It's nice to see your smiling face!

Thanks very much for your wonderful comment and vote up. You are a great friend!

Blessings to you too!


jill of alltrades profile image

jill of alltrades 5 years ago from Philippines Author

Hi Anglnwu,

Your visits and comments always make me happy. You do have a way with words that make whatever you say extra special.

Thank you very much dear friend.

Everyday, one of the tv stations here has a countdown to Christmas and I feel so late in my preparations already. So Christmas is just around the corner and not so far off at all.

God bless you!


jill of alltrades profile image

jill of alltrades 5 years ago from Philippines Author

Hello Angarastone,

Thanks very much for your visit and lovely comment. I visited your website before. You got really beautiful pieces there.

Thanks again!

God bless!


Green Lotus profile image

Green Lotus 5 years ago from Atlanta, GA

Your hubs are always so luminous...especially this season! Have a very happy holiday filled with bright and colorful things.


jill of alltrades profile image

jill of alltrades 5 years ago from Philippines Author

Hi Green Lotus,

It's so nice to see you again!

Thank you very much for your wonderful comment and colorful wishes.

I wish you a bright and happy Christmas too!

God bless!


Fossillady profile image

Fossillady 5 years ago from Saugatuck Michigan

I love learning about the origin of traditions. Very intereting. Thanks jill of alltrades


jill of alltrades profile image

jill of alltrades 5 years ago from Philippines Author

Hi Fossillady,

Nice to see you!

Thank you too. The pleasure is really mine. I love sharing what I discover and learn.

God bless!


cvanthul profile image

cvanthul 5 years ago from Florida

Nice hub, Jill, very informative and interesting.


jill of alltrades profile image

jill of alltrades 5 years ago from Philippines Author

Hi Cvanthul,

Thanks very much for your lovely comment.

God bless!


De Greek profile image

De Greek 5 years ago from UK

I truly love Christmas in The Philippines :-)


jill of alltrades profile image

jill of alltrades 5 years ago from Philippines Author

Hi De Greek,

Oh, that's great! Christmas is really the best time here in the Philippines.

Thanks for dropping by and leaving a wonderful comment.

God bless!


wilsontom profile image

wilsontom 5 years ago from new delhi

This is really a cool hub, i always wanted to make my Christmas also like all this.

Thanks for sharing.


pinkdaisy profile image

pinkdaisy 5 years ago from Canada

I love the Christmas colors of red, gold and green. Christmas wouldn't be the same without them.

Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas!


jill of alltrades profile image

jill of alltrades 5 years ago from Philippines Author

Hello Wilsontom,

Thanks very much for your lovely comment!

I wish you a colorful Christmas like this.

God bless!


jill of alltrades profile image

jill of alltrades 5 years ago from Philippines Author

Hi Pinkdaisy,

You are absolutely right! Christmas wouldn't be the same without the colors red, green and gold!

Thanks very much for dropping by and leaving a wonderful comment!

Have a Merry Christmas too!


coffeesnob 5 years ago

Jill,

As usual you have decorated your hub with beuatiful pictures and excellent commentary. I always enjoy being here and have missed so many -- much catching up to do...one day :p

God bless

Carol


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jill of alltrades 5 years ago from Philippines Author

Hi Carol (Coffeesnob),

It's always a joy to see you!

Thanks very much for being so supportive of my work. You truly are an inspiration to me.

May the spirit and colors of Christmas brighten your life.

God bless you friend!


daydreamer13 profile image

daydreamer13 5 years ago

Interesting! Well done!


jill of alltrades profile image

jill of alltrades 5 years ago from Philippines Author

Hello daydreamer,

Thank you very much!

I appreciate very much your visit and comment.

God bless!


Clare 5 years ago

I personally think that red, green and gold are nice. They have a nice color combination.


jill of alltrades profile image

jill of alltrades 5 years ago from Philippines Author

Hi Clare,

Thank you very much! Yes red, green and gold really go well together for this Christmas season.

Thanks for your visit and comment!


skye2day profile image

skye2day 5 years ago from Rocky Mountains

jill of all trades Beautiful pictures my Friend. Awesome work. i just love your colors. Thank you for sharing the meaning of the colors with the world. I know I did not know and now I do. You again put together a beautiful piece of work. In His name Jesus Christ

FYI The evergreen tree in Scripture Jesus speaks of represents the human body. (the curvature of the spine)


jill of alltrades profile image

jill of alltrades 5 years ago from Philippines Author

Hello Skye,

Thanks very much for your heartwarming comment. I really appreciate it. It's my pleasure to share what I know and what I love doing.

Now, I'm also learning from you. I did not know about the evergreen tree representing the human body. Thank you very much for sharing this.

God bless!


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago

Thank you for educating me about the colors of Christmas. I had no idea where they came from and so, I have learned a great deal from you. This is something I love. :-)


jill of alltrades profile image

jill of alltrades 5 years ago from Philippines Author

Hi James,

It's good to see you!

I'm Happy to know that you learned something from me. It's usually the other way around.

Thanks for the lovely comment James!

God bless! Happy New Year!


Becky Puetz profile image

Becky Puetz 5 years ago from Oklahoma

Interesting information on the colors of Christmas. Love the pictures too. Thanks for sharing.


jill of alltrades profile image

jill of alltrades 5 years ago from Philippines Author

Hi Becky,

Thanks very much for dropping by and leaving a heartwarming comment.

All the best to you this New Year!

God bless!


Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 5 years ago from North Carolina

Interesting hub. You and I were on a similar wavelength during this festive time. I wrote a hub about the colors and smells of Christmas called 'a very sensory Christmas'. I love your color hubs. :)


jill of alltrades profile image

jill of alltrades 5 years ago from Philippines Author

Hi Denise,

It's great to see you again!

It must be the spirit of Christmas floating around then. Maybe we hit on the idea at the same time. I think we should really link up some of our hubs. We seem to be in the same wavelength. What do you think?

Thanks very much for appreciating my work.

God bless!


Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 5 years ago from North Carolina

Hi No problem Jill if you want to link some of our hubs. Let me know.


jill of alltrades profile image

jill of alltrades 5 years ago from Philippines Author

Hi Denise,

That's great. Okay, I'll check which of our hubs can be linked.

Thanks!

God bless!


Certified Gold profile image

Certified Gold 4 years ago

Great job Jill! Love your Hub! Thank you!!


jill of alltrades profile image

jill of alltrades 4 years ago from Philippines Author

Hello Certified Gold,

I'm happy that you love this hub! Thank you very much!

You are most welcome, the pleasure is all mine!

God bless!


Modern Greetings profile image

Modern Greetings 4 years ago

Great hub. I've always wondered why red, green, and golds were always so perfect for the christmas holiday. I think it has something to do with winter being so bleak and dull. It's a quick infusion of color and life during the time of celebration. Voted up!


jill of alltrades profile image

jill of alltrades 4 years ago from Philippines Author

Hello Modern Greetings,

Thanks very much for your visit and wonderful comment! Thanks especially for the vote up!

God bless!


PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

PDXKaraokeGuy 4 years ago from Portland, Oregon

interesting and fascinating! it is quite interesting how many ideas and songs Christian adopted form pagan tradition. We humans are certainly copiers!


jill of alltrades profile image

jill of alltrades 4 years ago from Philippines Author

Hello PDX,

I'm happy that you found this interesting.

Well, we are not just copiers, we are also innovators!

Thanks so much for your visit and wonderful comment!

God bless!


SanneL profile image

SanneL 4 years ago from Sweden

Now I know why the colors red, green and gold are significant for Christmas!

Thank you for this very interesting and informative Christmas hub!


jill of alltrades profile image

jill of alltrades 4 years ago from Philippines Author

Hello SanneL,

I'm happy that you learned something from this hub.

I'm the one who should thank you for taking time to visit and leave a beautiful comment. It's really my pleasure to share what I know and love to do!

Your comment makes everything worthwhile!

Thank you!

God bless!


drekahn 4 years ago

hello


jill of alltrades profile image

jill of alltrades 4 years ago from Philippines Author

Hello Drekahn,

Thanks for dropping by!

God bless!


james 4 years ago

cool


jill of alltrades profile image

jill of alltrades 4 years ago from Philippines Author

Hi James,

Thank you very much!

God bless!


PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

PDXKaraokeGuy 4 years ago from Portland, Oregon

true, jill, and you're welcome


jill of alltrades profile image

jill of alltrades 4 years ago from Philippines Author

Hello PDX,

Thanks for coming back! I really appreciate it!

See you around!

Have a Merry Christmas!

God bless!


VendettaVixen profile image

VendettaVixen 4 years ago from Ireland

I missed this hub at Christmas, but I enjoyed it so much that I thought I'd leave a comment, even though we'll be heading into February soon.

It was incredibly interesting and informative, and answered questions I've often asked myself.

Thanks for taking the time to research this topic and to put your findings together in such an attractive way.

Best wishes,

Vixen.


jill of alltrades profile image

jill of alltrades 4 years ago from Philippines Author

Hello Vixen,

It's so nice of you to drop by and leave a comment even if it's past Christmas. Yes, February is here but any comment is always welcome! I'm happy that you found this interesting and informative.

Thank you very much for inspiring me!

God bless!


brittany 2 years ago

I love Christmas because of family and friends


jill of alltrades profile image

jill of alltrades 2 years ago from Philippines Author

Hello brittany,

So sorry for this very late reply. I have not visited HP for a while. Thank you so much for dropping by and leaving a wonderful message. Yes, Christmas indeed bring family and friends closer together!

God bless! Hope you have a great Christmas!


favored profile image

favored 2 years ago from USA

Enjoyed reading about the traditions and meanings of the colors of Christmas. Pinning it to my Christmas board.


DealForALiving profile image

DealForALiving 2 years ago from Earth

Very interesting and will share with some friends during the holiday season.


jill of alltrades profile image

jill of alltrades 2 years ago from Philippines Author

Hello DealforALiving,

Thanks so much for dropping by and leaving an inspiring comment!

God bless!


jill of alltrades profile image

jill of alltrades 2 years ago from Philippines Author

Hello favored,

I'm happy that you enjoyed reading this. Thanks very much!

God bless!

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