The Christmas wreath has evolved into a sign of welcoming and an acknowledgment of holiday cheer for this season that emphasizes generosity, giving, and the gathering of loved ones.
The evergreen wreath - its circular shape an emblem not only of perfection and unity but also of the warm, enduring sun.
Hung on the door or a window, the wreath has been viewed as an invitation to the spirit of Christmas to enter the home and bring joy and peace.
A ride through the country reveals wreaths not only of the traditional evergreen branches but also of fabric, straw and woven vines. Pine cones, berries and seeds are joined by figurines of carolers, minuscule gold-wrapped presents, reindeer and Santa Clauses. And birds, flowers, gaily-colored balls and bells make a cheerful potpourri.
Whether lovingly handmade from natural materials or store-bought and cherished through the years, today's wreaths communicate a sense of joy and a desire for peace.