Christmas is a time for family, friends, and peace on earth. It’s also a time to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. This year we want to take some time to explore the 9 symbols that embody Christmas and their meanings.
We’ve created a free printable with all the symbols and their meanings so you can display them in your home during this time of year.
It’s December, a joyous time for family, friends, time together, gifts, and lots of food. Amid all the amazing chaos, we sometimes lose track of the real “reason for the season”, which is to celebrate the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ.
If we know where to look, reminders of Christ are all around us this holiday season, from the colors red and green to the ringing bells, from the candy canes in our stockings to the stockings themselves. By refreshing our understanding of these symbols, we can really put the “Christ” back in Christmas.
Need more Christ-centered ideas? Be sure to check out this article: 14 Ways to Keep Christ in Christmas with Children
The Symbols of Christmas
When I was young, a neighbor gave our family a small piece of paper that explained several of the Symbols of Christmas, along with small items to represent many items on the paper. I treasured that paper and the items. Each year I would see what I could recall about the true meaning of Christmas.
As an adult, I wanted to share that same message with my kids. So, I compiled several of the most meaningful, and fun, symbols of Christmas, and put them into a handout that you can print off. Feel free to share with family, friends, and whoever you think might appreciate the symbols.
Free Symbols of Christmas Printable
We have created this cute, free printable that has all of the symbols of Christmas and their meanings. You can download it below!
Making it a Fun Teaching Activity
This handout is a fun way to learn about Christmas. It’s even more fun and memorable if you include some small items to represent the symbols. People learn much better if they can see/read and touch the learning material at the same time. Simply rolling up the message, tying with a red and green ribbon, and including a candy cane is a great way to share the Symbols of Christmas at little cost.
For a recent church youth activity, I provided them with a complete set of all the symbols. I started out by giving them each a Christmas stocking, and reading about what the stocking represents. Then, as we read each symbol, we were able to put an item into the stocking. As they left that night, they each had a way to tangibly learn about Christ and Christmas. I invited them to share what they learned with their families, and they were all very excited about the prospect of telling mom and dad about Jesus! I’m hoping the youth hold onto their stockings for years, the way I did.
What Kind of Items Can I Use?
There are so many ways you can add symbols to this handout. You could print off images and cut them out, or have kids cut them out and glue them to a paper stocking. Or, you can purchase items from the dollar store, craft store, or Amazon, and make a meaningful gift. I’ve found every item I need at the Dollar Tree, making each stocking filled with symbols about $3. This year, I splurged and bought larger items from Amazon, and each stocking cost about $6, including the stocking itself.
Look for craft-size items, such as jingle bells, decorative stars, and small candy canes. Trees are often sold in bags of a dozen or so for a few dollars. Once, I used cookie cutters, for a fun activity about symbols where we got to eat the fruits of our labor.
If you’re using a stocking as a symbol and storage device, like I did, make sure all the items actually fit!
Taking the Lesson a Little Further
If you want to incorporate some scriptures into the teaching about the symbols, here are some great scriptures and stories to share.
The symbol of the stocking is tied to St. Nicholas, the original Santa. In his village, a family with three young women had no money, and were in a terrible situation. One night, as every night, they hung their stockings by the fireplace. While they slept, St. Nicholas threw a gold ball into each of the stockings, helping the family to avoid poverty. We remember the stocking, empty until filled with the love of Christ, and we aim to be like St. Nicholas and find ways to serve and help others this holiday season and always.
Scripture: 2 Corinthians 9:7 “God loves a cheerful giver.”
The Star of Bethlehem led both the wise men and the shepherds to Baby Jesus. All are invited to follow the Savior, no matter their station.
Scripture: John 8:12 “I am the light of the world.”
Shaped like a “J” for Jesus, and like a shepherd’s hook, the candy cane reminds us of Jesus Christ. Christ is the “Good Shepherd” and will rescue even the lost sheep. The candy is sweet like the good news of the gospel, and the sweetness of eternal life.
Scripture: John 10:11, Jesus is “The Good Shepherd.” and Ezekiel 34:11-16, 31 “I will search my sheep and seek them out. … Ye are my flock… and I am your God.”
Wise men and kings brought Baby Jesus the most precious gifts they could, and yet, the Baby Jesus is the greatest gift ever given. He grants everlasting life to all those who seek Him.
Scripture: James 1:17-27 “Every good gift and every perfect gift comes from above.” and Romans 6:23 “The gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Green all year, even in winter, evergreen trees have long symbolized eternal life. The Savior teaches that, if we follow Him, we will have everlasting life.
Scripture: John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
The bell is a joyful noise, calling us to Christ. The bell reminds us of “peace on earth, good will to men” as the beloved Christmas hymn teaches.
Scripture: Psalms 66:1-2 “Make a joyful noise unto God… Sing forth the honor of His name: make His praise glorious.”
Santa is more than a fun way for kids to get presents. He is based on Saint Nicholas, a man who went about doing good, serving others. Santa brings gifts and joy, just like Christ can bring joy and the gift of eternal life and joy. We who are called to follow the Savior can be like Santa, and find ways to bring joy to those around us.
Scripture: Romans 5:11 “And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.”
Red reminds us of the stripes of Jesus’ blood, and the price He paid for our sins through the atonement.
Scripture: 1 Peter 2:24 “Who His own self bare our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.” and Isaiah 1:18 “Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow, though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.”
Green represents everlasting life. Like the evergreen tree under which we place gifts, we will have the gift of everlasting life if we choose to follow Christ our Savior.
Scripture: 1 John 5:11 “God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.”
As you find ways to bring Christ into your Christmas, we hope this printable, and the messages of the symbols of Christmas, help you. Merry Christmas!
More Christmas Posts You Might Enjoy:
- 30+ Memorable Christmas Traditions for Families
- The Best Christmas Eve Traditions for Families
- 20+ Elf on the Shelf Ideas That Will Keep Your Kids Entertained
- 30+ Dollar Tree Stocking Stuffers for All Ages (and Pets!)
- The 13 BEST Alternatives to Elf on the Shelf (That Kids LOVE!)