Decorating your house for Christmas is a great way of getting into that festive feeling. Wreaths, garlands, and swags have long been part of our traditions for adding a natural touch of magic to your home. However, when shopping, many people get confused between the three items and aren’t sure what exactly they are. So Primrose has created a handy guide on the differences between wreaths, garlands, and swags.
A wreath is an arrangement of leaves, flowers, or other foliage and accessories fastened in a ring. They are used for decoration and sometimes laying on a grave. Christmas wreaths are typically made with pine branches that replica those of a Christmas tree, along with pine cones, berries, birds, or ribbons.
Wreaths can trace their origins back to Ancient Rome, where Romans used to hang a wreath on their doors to symbolise victory after a win in battle. Some people believe that the circular shape of the wreath represents eternity and the circle of life. For Christians, the Christmas wreath can represent Jesus’s suffering. The wreath represents the thorns he wore on the cross, while the tiny berries represent blood and the evergreen branches represent eternal life.
At Primrose, we sell wreaths in a variety of styles, including this Artificial Pine Christmas Wreath enhanced with sparkly frosting and model turtle doves, to this Classic Red Bow Real Christmas Wreath with pine cones and glossy red berries.
A garland is an arrangement of flowers, leaves, and other accessories. It can be hung as a decoration, or worn around the head. Christmas garlands are usually made with Christmas tree-style pine branches and can contain other items such as berries, pine cones, and model birds. The most common place to find them is hung over the fireplace, but they can also be hung from the ceiling close to the wall, or outside.
Originally, garlands also had Christian symbolism; they were circular in shape and used to represent the infinite love of Jesus. At Primrose, we sell a range of Christmas garlands, from this natural-looking Wintry Pine Garland with Trimmings and Snowflakes to this contemporary Sleigh and Ski Christmas Garland.
What is the difference between a wreath and a garland?
The difference between a wreath and a garland is the shape. A garland is a long string that is usually draped along a wall or over an object. It can be hung in a circular shape, but it is flexible and free-flowing. A wreath is rigid and fixed into a ring position and is usually hung from a door.
A swag is similar to a garland. But while a garland is of a similar width throughout, a swag has a tapered end or ends, with a thicker area at the top or in the middle.
Swags can vary in shape. Some, like our Frosted Christmas Swag, are garlands that are weighted in the middle and taper towards the ends. These are great for draping over a fireplace, mantelpiece, or mirror to add an instant traditional Christmas feel. There are also shorter teardrop swags that are hung vertically, and are wider at the top and taper down to the end.