Christmas Time Capsule wreath
Last year we started a brand new tradition that has been a phenomenal hit here at home and with everyone that hears about it. It is certain to be the crown jewel of our holiday season for generations to come.
In the midst of Christmas 2019 and with two very young children showing me the magic of the season with every move, I had the idea to wrap those ideas together by combining the classic Christmas icon, the Christmas wreath, and the vision of what the world looks like through the eyes of a child. The key is capturing what matters most to my children in some physical way that accurately represents ‘a few of our favorite things’ from the past year.
Much like the song says “These Are A Few of Our Favorite Things…”, the Christmas Time Capsule wreath is our hyper-jolly way of documenting the various stages of our children’s lives as they grow. It is a handmade Christmas wreath that captures how they feel about the year that was, what matters most to them at the time, and touches on the main themes of their lives over the past 12 months.
Once the wreath is complete, we hang it alongside our other wreaths and it becomes a permanent part of our Christmas decorations. As the years pass, we are building a visual display that documents our children’s lives that reads like chapters in a book that is filled with joy, hope, and love. Quite possible the greatest story book ever written.
DECODING OUR 2020 wreath
Needless to say, 2020 was a year like no other for most of us. Never before have we been forced to separate ourselves from the rest of the world for so long. This period of time was difficult for all of us. For all of us, it was because of the shared reasons beyond our control. For others it was because of additional and varying factors. One thing is for certain, we were all affected, the only difference being the degree to which we felt the impacts of 2020. Our family was no different.
Well the Santa Family are an optimistic and tightly knit bunch, and despite all the year had to throw at us, we stayed safe, grew even closer together as a family, and made memories that will last a lifetime. So, when it was time to think about what our family time capsule wreath might look like for the year that shall not be named, we had some clear ideas and themes for what we wanted it to whisper to us in Christmases future.
To begin the process, I asked the girls to think back on the year that was and tell me what stood out to them the most . . . things they enjoyed, were most proud of accomplishing . . . whatever it was that really seemed to be a part of our everyday lives. After a few minutes of thinking they came back with answers that were beautifully simple, yet powerfully complex, as only the view of the world through the eyes of a child could.
Together. Love. Home. Safety. Bravery. Hope. Compassion. Excitement.
They were happy about the fact that we had been able to be together every day. They felt safe, and loved, and wanted to show that there was no place they’d rather be than at home and together with us. They were thankful that we were all together and safe, but they understood clearly that not everyone could say the same, and they worried and wanted the best for those that were fighting and living with the threat of the virus every day. And though things had been different, they were proud and excited about all the new things they had experienced in the year like virtual school, and lots and lots and lots of video calls with family and friends. The Santa girls (at ages 5 and 3 at Christmas) are now basically engineering experts and have flourished in their role as tech support for the Santa family! All of the very real emotion of the year, and the powerful example of resilience and innocence the girls displayed over the year stood out to Santa Mom and I and absolutely had to be conveyed in the final look of the wreath.
This year we chose dried grapevines to represent the faith required to grow and prosper, as well as the brutal harshness of the year. Simultaneously, the grapevines show the joy that comes as a result of that growth as evidenced by the grapes and wine they once produced. It is no mistake that this plant and its fruit are used for pleasure and during celebrations. For us, in this year, the grapevine truly symbolizes the fruit of the human spirit – and of life.
Given the theme of this year’s wreath and the ideas we wanted to express, the colors we chose to use in this project were of vital importance.
The color red was the vital lynchpin in our family wreath design for 2020. Not only because it is a traditional color of the season, but also because of the inherent meaning and associations of the tone.
Red has a range of symbolic meanings as numerous as its shades, including life, health, vigor, war, courage, anger, love, religious fervor, energy, willpower, leadership, and longing. The common thread is that all these require passion. A striking, bold, and captivating hue, red also lets us know when caution is warranted. Though seeing the color red may give us pause, it also provides tremendous warmth. When this scarlet shade rears its cherry head, we can’t help but feel protected. In essence, the color red serves to safeguard us against harm.
On a happier note, red also corresponds with positivity. In fact, seeing the color red can inspire us to take action, lift our spirits, and energize us. This healthy dose of optimism is one reason the color red is so beloved.
With all of this in mind as we looked back on “the year we stayed home”, the brilliance of red was a no-doubt choice for our family wreath.
Representing purity or innocence, light, goodness, safety, illumination, understanding, the possibility of new beginnings, and even a sense of sterility, white often seems like a blank slate, symbolizing a new beginning or a fresh start.
Simplicity reigns with white, and with that comes possibility, hum
Each of us in the Santa family felt white conveyed so many of the feelings we shared over the course of the unusual year and was a powerful stroke of color on what was a very dark year for so many.
Symbolizing affluence and modernism, silver is sleek and stylish, making it the perfect representation of present-day advancements. If any color captured the essence of the widespread use of cutting-edge technology by the masses that 2020 ushered in, it would be silver.
Our family was no different. From distance learning to working from home to birthday and holiday celebrations via video chat, new technologies made the version of 2020 we all lived possible.
As a color wheel powerhouse, silver is calming and excels at delivering clarity, resolving conflict, and offers peace of mind, which bodes well for optimal well-being. With its calming presence and healing powers, the color silver can even diminish both emotional and physical pain.
By any measure, 2020 was a challenging and trying year for us all in a myriad of ways, so there’s no doubt each of us can use all the help we can get. Without a doubt, silver is a powerful presence as a representation of our journey through the year.
A CROWN OF LAUREL
The laurel wreath is a symbol of victory, honor, and peace. Used by the Ancient Greeks as an honorary reward for victors, the leaf itself was believed to have spiritual and physical cleansing abilities.
Given the trials of the year and the aforementioned power of red, we chose to crown our 2020 family wreath with red laurel.
We think it’s fully appropriate to claim victory in a year we managed to safely and successfully navigate a a global pandemic, as well as a thousand other challenges, and come to the end finding ourselves better for it.
We are thankful for the blessing of time which allowed us to recognize the things in this life that are truly important, and gain an understanding of why along the way. Why we need each other. Why we work and play so hard. Why we must take time to appreciate the daily gifts we all are guilty of occasionally taking for granted.
We choose to celebrate a year that challenged us, but also allowed us to grow. Our 2020 family wreath shines as a testament to our shared story and is already beloved. I am most proud of the fact that in designing and building this year’s wreath, just like everything else in a year that was like no other, we did it together and truly enjoyed the journey.
Keep Christmaswell all year ‘round, friends!