Although there are a couple of different explanations as to why red and green are the colors associated with Christmas, the one presented here is based more on historical facts…
Back in the 1300’s illiteracy was rampant. Most of the population could not read so storytelling was the dominant form of communication to the masses. At Christmas time, churches would present plays and use them as learning tools. A prominent church play at this time was The Miracle Play which told about Adam and Eve and in which the Paradise Tree was introduced. This green apple tree represented the life and the fall of mankind when the apple was taken and eaten in the garden of Eden. Since an apple tree was not widely available in winter, a pine tree was used with apples tied to it (side note: this is how the Christmas tree became popular). Green was equated to life (as it had been for centuries). The red apple represented the fall of man and the subsequent blood of Christ shed as the ultimate sacrifice for the world. Red was equated to the blood of Christ, hope and new life.
As time has passed, the secular world often outshines the sacred so The Miracle Play and the Paradise Tree are no longer well-known. However, red and green have remained as colors that symbolize Christmas.
- “How many observe Christ’s birthday! How few His precepts! Oh, ’tis easier to keep holidays than commandments!”
– Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790)