Heartwarming Hearth Gifts

Have you ever noticed how the fireplace is a central theme around Christmas time? We here at Sturbridge Yankee Workshop are taking a moment to explore the origins of this theme and feature fireside gifts to warm your home, and your hearth, all season long.

The Yule Log, Edible, And Not

Ever had a yule log for Christmas dessert? You know the one, the log-shaped cake covered in frosting, resembling a freshly cut tree branch. The roots of this traditional dish actually go much deeper than most of us may know. Today, the term ‘yule log’ is used to describe a dessert, especially in French cultures where it is known as bûche de Noel. Historically, the yule log would refer to what began as a Northern European Winter Solstice festival, dating back to the 6th or 7th century. This type of yule log, the inedible sort, references a log that would be burned each year to celebrate the solstice.

Red Snowflake Knit Stocking
It was believed that burning the log would offer prosperity and protection from evil. In fact, a piece of the log would be kept to start the fire for the upcoming year; another sign of the deep meanings that this tradition held for our ancestors.

Solstice Morning Print History of Santa and the Chimney

In many cultures, the fireplace remains a central part of Christmas celebrations. Although prominent in the modern era, this tradition dates back to the pre-Christian period in Norway. Odin, the Norse version of Santa, would enter through chimneys and fireplaces on the solstice. We also see that same trend in Italy, with the gift giving witch covered in soot, and for St. Nicholas when he tossed coins for children through the chimney, as the windows were all locked.

Here in America, we continue to celebrate the arrival of Santa through the chimney, believed to have started in the 18th and 19th century through influence from the 1823 poem A Visit From Saint Nicholas by Clement Clarke Moore. Stockings are also hung by the chimney with care, as referenced in this same poem.
Santa Stops Here Sign

Gifts for the Fireside

Here at Sturbridge Yankee Workshop, we embrace all celebrations and traditions, as we have for over sixty years. In our earliest catalogs we featured “Gifts for the Fireside”, and continue this tradition today. Whether you celebrate Christmas with an edible yule log or the flammable sort, cherish your own family traditions with heartwarming gifts for your hearth this year.

1963 SYW Catalog Gifts for the Fireside

Hearth Rack Store Firewood and Keep Those Mittens Warm

Stoke the fire all season long with easy to access wood and kindling stored in an American made Hearth Rack. Available in many sizes and styles, these racks will keep your fire burning all season long. If lacking space near the hearth, try a braided basket for corralling your firewood, instead of a storage rack. Sturdy enough for long term use, and keep splinters out of your hands and arms when transporting firewood inside. Keep mittens, hats, scarves and boots dry after a cold walk outside on Christmas day with a drying stand perfectly suited for placement near the warmth of a fire. Available in many styles, and powder coated for protection, there is no need to worry about putting on cold mittens for a jaunt in the snow.

Wrought Iron Mitten and Boot Dryer Stand Portico Cablelock Braided Utility Basket

The Look of a Fireplace, Without a Hearth

If you do not have a fireplace, you can still celebrate the magic of Santa’s arrival, with a magical touch of course. Emulate the look and feel of a fireplace with brightly lit candles as a table centerpiece, or along the mantel of a closed off fireplace. Used inside or outside, powder coated for weather protection, wrought iron pillar candle holders are a great option for recreating the look and feel of a fireplace or wood stove.

Wrought Iron Fireplace Pillar Holder

No matter how you celebrate holiday traditions, take a moment this Christmas to appreciate how the symbolism of the fireplace, yule log, and chimney folk lore are central to your family. Share the magic of Christmas year after year with quality goods from Sturbridge Yankee Workshop.
At Christmas Time Sign Celebrate Holiday Sign

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