Posts Tagged ‘christmas traditions’

Heartwarming Hearth Gifts

Friday, December 13th, 2013
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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Have a Homespun Holiday Season

Thursday, November 14th, 2013

We here at Sturbridge Yankee Workshop would like to share with you a collection of holiday items that offer a heartwarming theme of a Homespun Christmas. Decorating your home with a homespun feel evokes memories of Christmas as a child and reminds us of a simpler time. It is the material used that helps create the handcrafted or handmade look. Consider any of the Sturbridge products featured below to present your home this Christmas with country charm and character.

All Hearts Come Home for Christmas

Whether or not your whole family is together for the holiday season, it can be said that all hearts come home for Christmas. If you have loved ones far away, send them a little love and let them know how much you care with a sweet Heart Button Hanger, featuring various calico and check fabrics pieced together for a patchwork look, and petite buttons that add that special handmade touch. Set of plaid County Heart Ornaments is sure to warm the heart of anyone who receives them. Give a heart to each of your closest friends and family members for a charming reminder of your friendship each time the ornament is hung. Use the sweet smell of orange and cinnamon on a Scented Heart Ornament to evoke a nostalgic feel of a Christmas past.

Heart Button Hangers
Country Heart Ornament Set Scented Heart Ornament

Christmas Postcard Pillow Decorative Pillows For Use In Every Room

Bring a bit of handmade appeal into every room with pillows that will accent your style and the season. Christmas Postcard Pillow features a vintage inspired design of a feather Christmas tree, a perched cardinal, and scrolling script alluding to the magical holiday of Christmas.

Presents for Pups has bells that jingle, tails that wag, and an embroidered feather tree with ornaments and festive accents. Woodsy Owl features leather-like fabric and button eyes on a tartan plaid background with applique felt holly to bring the whole look together and offer a natural, woodland feel.

Presents For Pups Pillow Woodsy Owl Pillow

Ideas for Your Own Homespun Christmas

1. Design handmade greeting cards with extra wrapping paper scraps, felt, and buttons.

2. Replace store-bought stockings with your personal long stockings or long socks for a vintage touch.

3. Fill a mason jar with the dry ingredients to your favorite cookies or sweet treat. Write out the recipe and attach to jar with ribbon for a great hostess gift.

4. Have an evening filled with cookie making and singing Christmas carols.

Heart Button Hangers

Tall Green Felt Tree Decorative Accents With Handmade Appeal

Fill your house and charm your guests with decorative accents that look as though you just picked them up at a local craft sale. Knit stockings, felt trees, and other items such as handmade ornaments will make your entire home feel as though it was decorated by a magical handicraft fairy (and no one ever has to know that you put it all together yourself with items from Sturbridge). Hang the stockings by the chimney with care with a set of wooden stocking hooks, made right here in America from solid wood with differently colored ends on each hook to easily distinguish which stocking belongs to which person.

Red Snowflake Knit StockingWooden Stocking Hooks


What do you do with your family to create a homespun Christmas feel each year?

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An Ornamental Tradition

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009

Here at Sturbridge Yankee Workshop, we love tradition, but we also embrace new spins on tradition. During the winter holidays, people love basking in nostalgia—trees, greens, decorations, smells—and all families have their own special stories to go along with each thing they do. Most decorations also have stories that go with them and it’s the memories attached that make decorating every year so special.

One member of our workshop team created a tradition when her daughter, the only grandchild on both sides of the family, was born. Each year she takes a photograph of the child and mounts it into a photo ornament frame. Michael’s has a nice variety that can fit school pictures. She uses these as gift tags.

These special ornaments usually end up hanging on the trees, often lost among the other special ornaments or the branches. Another idea would be to hang them on a special ornament tree or display stand.

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