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Unique Handmade Poinsettia Christmas Decorations

Updated on August 12, 2015

The single, most easily identifiable symbol of the Christmas season in North America, second only to the jolly man in the red and white suit, is the poinsettia. Mass displays of this flamboyant, semi-tropical bloom appears in almost every store in the country, from early November until well after Christmas.

Simply type the "poinsettia" into your favorite search engine's "images" tab, and you will be amazed at the number of results. Images abound of potted plants, watercolor paintings, Christmas cards, textiles, tree ornaments, silk flowers - almost every way to use a poinsettia as a Christmas decoration that you could possibly imagine.

Christmas Poinsettia - watercolor by Marsha Woods - photo from redbubble.com
Christmas Poinsettia - watercolor by Marsha Woods - photo from redbubble.com

Poinsettia is the King...

For a late-comer on the Christmas floral scene, the poinsettia has done very well.

We sing Christmas carols about holly and ivy, but the bright red poinsettia is the real floral king of the season - or queen, depending on your point of view.

Well, I'm sure someone will eventually write a carol about this beautiful plant, but it's very hard to find a rhyme for "poinsettia."

Christmas crafts abound that feature poinsettias. People love to paint pictures of them, make cards that feature them, and paint them on Christmas ornaments.

Origins of the Poinsettia

The poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima) is a flowering plant native to Mexico and South America.

Named in honor of the first U. S. Minister to Mexico, Joel Robert Poinset, who introduced the plant to United States in the early 1800s, the poinsettia was originally available only in its traditional bright red color.

In its native habitat, the poinsettia shrub can grow into a small tree, from 2 - 6 feet tall. In its potted version, it makes a stunning centerpiece for festive gatherings.

The poinsettia became linked with Christmas sometime in 16th century Mexico. A popular legend tells how, one Christmas Eve, a poor young girl could not afford a gift for the celebration of Jesus' birthday.

An angel told the child to gather some weeds by the roadside and place them in front of the church altar. The weeds burst forth with glorious crimson blooms - the first Christmas poinsettia.

From the 17th century on, poinsettias were commonly included in the Christmas celebrations led by Franciscan friars.

The star-shaped bracts symbolize the Star of Bethlehem, and the red color represents the blood of Christ.

A markerOaxaca, Mexico -
Oaxaca, Mexico
get directions

Home of the Mexican Poinsettia

Exquisite, hand-painted ornament from tole-expressions.com
Exquisite, hand-painted ornament from tole-expressions.com
Handmade ornament from fibreflair.com
Handmade ornament from fibreflair.com

Poinsettia Ornaments

The poinsettia is a favorite patterns for hand-painting on glass and ceramic Christmas balls.

One of my favorite classes to teach in November was making hand-painted ornaments. Without fail, every year one of the most requested patterns would be the poinsettia.

There's just something about this flower in all its glorious, exuberant color that grabs the eye and imagination.

Perhaps, for us in the north, the bright colors are such a relief from the ever-present white.

Just to catch a glimpse of the delicate blossoms glowing vividly against the snow - it's a bit like lighting a candle and placing it in the window.

The candle holds a promise of warmth, much as the delicate yet sturdy poinsettia flower seems to hold out the promise of coming Spring.

I am told that poinsettias grow wild in Hawaii - perhaps that is what they are for us northern birds...a beacon of sandy beaches, warm breezes and long walks by the azure seas of the "Vacation Islands."

Poinsettia Textiles

As well, these colorful flowers are featured in textiles, and in many lovely quilted pieces - on place-mats, table runners, wall-hangings, cushions, and table cloths.

Almost any project you can think of, from Christmas stockings to special table doilies, you will be sure to find many patterns that feature the flowering poinsettia, and in full, glorious bloom, and in almost every color under the sun.

I am particularly fond of a lovely set of place mats that I was given one year. They are quilted and appliqued, with matching napkins. The holly and ivy motif is lovely on the dark green background, but the real star of the whole ensemble are the beautiful scarlet poinsettia appliques in the center of each mat.

Whether you are looking for Christmas tree ornaments, hand-quilted decor, place-mats and napkins, or special seasonal dinner-ware, you are certain to find at least one offering that is decorated with poinsettias.

...and there are so many lovely varieties of the real plant now available in North America. The poinsettia is second only to the rose in both popularity and number of plants cultivated each year.

Available in a rainbow of colors and patterns - yes, patterns - traditional red, though still the single most popular color, is now closely followed by white, pink, an amazing multi-tonal golden, orange, and "peppermint striped" - actually a charming white-flecked bract. The bracts (or red leaves) come with plain or ruffled edges, and in shiny or rich, matte velvet tones.

The poinsettia, once the humble roadside weed, has grown into a seasonal giant - for many, an enduring symbol of the Christmas season.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
White Poinsettia Ornament from ebornaments.comQuilted runners from fibreflair.comGold Poinsettia Plate from pickardchina.com
White Poinsettia Ornament from ebornaments.com
White Poinsettia Ornament from ebornaments.com
Quilted runners from fibreflair.com
Quilted runners from fibreflair.com
Gold Poinsettia Plate from pickardchina.com
Gold Poinsettia Plate from pickardchina.com

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    • RedElf profile image
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      RedElf 6 years ago from Canada

      Thanks so much, wallstickers. I love all the holidays, but I must admit Christmas is my favorite.

      RTalloni, a link to your hub would be delightful. Thanks so much.

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 6 years ago from the short journey

      Love poinsettias! There are places in the world where poinsettias grow and bloom year round. Can you imagine?! :)

      I would like to link this hub to my 4th holiday story, if you have no objection. Thanks.

    • profile image

      Christmas wall stickers 6 years ago

      This are lovely, we can't wait for holidays!

    • RedElf profile image
      Author

      RedElf 6 years ago from Canada

      Thanks for stopping by to comment, ca3s4r!

    • profile image

      ca3s4r 7 years ago

      Very nice!

    • RedElf profile image
      Author

      RedElf 7 years ago from Canada

      Thanks so much, how! Yes, white poinsettias are lovely - I am very fond of the pink ones, as well.

    • howcurecancer profile image

      Elena@LessIsHealthy 7 years ago

      The poinsettia is my special flower and not only for Christmas, I love the white poinsettia as well.

    • RedElf profile image
      Author

      RedElf 7 years ago from Canada

      Thanks so much, eric! Nice to meet you.

    • ericfrusy profile image

      ericfrusy 7 years ago from New York

      Very creative hub! Congrats!

    • RedElf profile image
      Author

      RedElf 7 years ago from Canada

      ldparker - greetings! So glad you like the ornaments.

    • ldparker10 profile image

      ldparker10 7 years ago

      wow, some of these look fantastic!

    • RedElf profile image
      Author

      RedElf 7 years ago from Canada

      Thanks so much, Vianey - nice to meet you.

    • Vianey Barrera profile image

      Vianey Barrera 7 years ago from Guatemala

      WOW!!! NICE HUB... A LIKE EVERYTHING ABOUT CHRISTMAS DECORATIONS...

    • RedElf profile image
      Author

      RedElf 7 years ago from Canada

      Thanks Patrick! I love the red pointy setters, too. Welcome to HubPages!

    • PatrickNormandin profile image

      PatrickNormandin 7 years ago from New York

      They are sooo wonderful! Well done!

    • RedElf profile image
      Author

      RedElf 7 years ago from Canada

      Br3nd4ft, nice to meet you. So glad you liked the hub.

      jeremysharon, greetings! Thanks so much for the vote up!

    • jeremysharon profile image

      jeremysharon 7 years ago

      Like this hub, I love decorating traditionally for the Christmas!

      Love Green and red for the Christmas,Superlike!

      and really Poinsettia is the King.

      LIKE LIKE LIKE!!!!

      thanx for the Hub!

      :-) im voting it up!

      Superlike!

    • Br3nd4ft profile image

      Br3nd4ft 7 years ago

      Poinsettia is one of my favorite flower.. beautiful hub.

    • RedElf profile image
      Author

      RedElf 7 years ago from Canada

      Thanks so much, Trinsick - I have spent many hours at craft fairs and farmers markets doing just that, btu the most fun I ever had making and selling the wreaths was for a church Christmas Bazaar.

      lender, nice to meet you. Thanks so much for the vote up.

    • lender3212000 profile image

      lender3212000 7 years ago from Beverly Hills, CA

      Great hub! I've always thought the Poinsettia was a great representation of the holiday season. Voted up

    • Trinsick profile image

      Trinsick 7 years ago from Cali

      If you haven't thought of selling these before you really should, great stuff.

    • RedElf profile image
      Author

      RedElf 7 years ago from Canada

      Steph, thanks so much! I use them in almost every wreath and swag I make, plus a few in pots, for good measure.

      snakebaby, there are so many topics around Christmas - I'm sure you'll find something fun to write about.

    • snakebaby profile image

      Sabrina Yuquan Chen (陈玉泉) 7 years ago from Boston, MA, USA

      How beautiful and warm, makes me wanting to write things about Christmas, but don't know what to write, even I know there's actually so much to write...

    • stephhicks68 profile image

      Stephanie Hicks 7 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      Love the poinsettia ornaments! Beautiful selections. We always decorate with numerous poinsettias each holiday season.

    • RedElf profile image
      Author

      RedElf 7 years ago from Canada

      Awww, thanks ethel - always a pleasure to see you!

    • ethel smith profile image

      Eileen Kersey 7 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      Lovely hub about a lovely flower

    • RedElf profile image
      Author

      RedElf 7 years ago from Canada

      Candie V - so nice to see you. Thanks so much for commenting. There are winter tire commercials on TV right now that show a split-second change to winter - one minute it's summer, and the next second you're up to your knees in snow. Sure feels like that here too.

      Minnetonka Twins, I know what you mean - Christmas wouldn't be nearly as bright and cheery without at least one "red pointy setter."

      Greetings, rsusan - Thanks so much! I almost always start with the poinsettias, too.

      Thanks so much alekhouse. Always a pleasure when you stop by.

      Ingenira, thanks so much for stopping by to comment. I can't pick a favorite color - every time I try, the growers bring out a new one.

      Thanks, Denise. Always nice to have you stop by and comment.

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 7 years ago from North Carolina

      Nice angle! This is a beautiful description and presentation of how poinsettas show up at christmas.

    • Ingenira profile image

      Ingenira 7 years ago

      They are so beautiful, I love them !

    • alekhouse profile image

      Nancy Hinchliff 7 years ago from Essex Junction, Vermont

      Really nice, Red Elf....so creative. Thanks

    • rsusan profile image

      Rika Susan 7 years ago from South Africa

      Can't believe it is this time of the year again, RedElf! This is just the right hub to get us in the mood for making decorating plans! What better than to start with the wonderful Poinsettia.

    • Minnetonka Twin profile image

      Linda Rogers 7 years ago from Minnesota

      I have always loved Pointsetta's and have to have some at the Christmas season to bring joy and color to it. Thx for the great ideas:)

    • Candie V profile image

      Candie V 7 years ago from Whereever there's wolves!! And Bikers!! Cummon Flash, We need an adventure!

      Love these 'flowers'! The white is one of my favorites! It's almost that time of year to be thinking about holiday decorating.. seems like it was just 90 degrees out! Great holiday ornaments RedElf!

    • RedElf profile image
      Author

      RedElf 7 years ago from Canada

      Hi, carrie - mine too! I love the in garlands and wreaths, too.

      nice to see you, FP! I have made decorations in every combination under the sun, but I love the traditional colors the best, too.

    • profile image

      Feline Prophet 7 years ago

      Lovely! There's something about the red and green combination that brings the Christmas spirit alive! :)

    • carrie450 profile image

      carrie450 7 years ago from Winnipeg, Canada

      Beautiful hub. The poinsettia is one of my favorites for Christmas.