Why are Apples Linked to the Holidays?
Oranges are most likely to come to mind first when we think of Christmas fruit – the winter citrus is a traditional addition to hanging stockings. But gourmet apples make a regular appearance in Christmas gift baskets, and no wonder – in some parts of the world, apples have long been an integral part of holiday festivities. Here’s how:
Apples as Decorations
Decorating evergreens pre-dates Christmas, when people found whatever they could to bring color to festivals taking place during the dreary winter months. Easy ways to do this included decorating evergreen trees, wreaths and hangings with candles, fruits and nuts. The round, colorful fall/early winter apples contrasted nicely with the deep green of the evergreen boughs, and it was this “look” that may have inspired our round, modern tree ornaments.
Even today, receiving an apple fruit box just before Christmas can serve as an opportunity to add to your festive décor. Use them to add a shiny flash of scarlet to your holiday greens, or place them in a bowl with sprigs of holly to serve as a centerpiece and easy, healthy snack besides!
Apples as Stocking Stuffers
Oranges may be the quintessential stocking stuffer, but that wasn’t always – or only – the case. A crisp Fuji apple was just as likely to make an appearance instead of, or along with, a juicy orange. During times when fresh fruit was harder to come by in some areas during the winter months, a sweet apple was as welcome a treat as candy in a Christmas stocking!
Apples as a Romantic Gesture
In many Eastern European cultures, you men would send apples as a gift to the object of their affections at the Yuletide. (Perhaps this where the expression, “Apple of his eye” came from!) Receiving an apples gift from one’s intended was a serious declaration of love in times past!
Apples as Christmas Gifts in China
While Christmas is not widely celebrated in China, those who do have recently developed the tradition of exchanging “peace apples” on Christmas Even. Peace apples are regular, individual apples packaged in a special box or wrapped in colored paper; some have messages like “Merry Christmas” stenciled on them. This may stem from the similarity of the Mandarin word for apple (pingguo) to the word for Christmas Eve (pinganye). Young men in particular may wrap an apple gift box intended for a girlfriend in paper decorated with hearts as well as Christmas symbols. Because of apples’ low price, it makes for an affordable gift, too.
Apples for Hanukkah
Apples play an important part in a number of Jewish holiday celebrations. Applesauce has long been a delicious accompaniment to the traditional potato pancakes, or “latkes” served during Hanukkah. During the Jewish New Year of Rosh Hashanah, celebrants dip slices of apple into honey to signify a sweet, fruitful new year.
Apples as Gifts
Sending a beautifully presented apple gift basket containing other fruits and treats is a convenient yet thoughtful gift option that is sure to be appreciated! The assortment of items inside a gift basket is sure to have something for everyone, and it can be shared with the whole family to make your thoughtfulness go even further. They’re a great choice for everyone on your list!
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