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What is Candlemas? The history, customs, and significance of Candlemas

Lit candles on a table in a church.

In the heart of winter, when the days are short and the nights long, there is a glimmer of hope that lights up the darkness especially after the Chistmas lights come down. This ancient tradition, known as Candlemas, has been celebrated for centuries, and it continues to hold a special place in the hearts of many. Join us as we delve into the history, customs, and significance of Candlemas, a radiant festival that warms our spirits during the coldest season.

The Origins of Candlemas: The Feast of the Presentation of Jesus Christ and the Feast of the Purification of the Virgin Mary

A painting of the nativity with candles around it.
An image of the Presentation of Jesus at the Temple.

Candlemas, also known as the Feast of the Presentation of Jesus Christ and the Feast of the Purification of the Virgin Mary, has its roots deep in history and spirituality. It is celebrated on February 2nd, marking the 40th day of Christmas, a day when Mary and Joseph brought the infant Jesus to the Temple in Jerusalem. This observance not only signifies the end of the Christmas season but also commemorates the presentation of Jesus in the Temple, as per Jewish custom.  The couple was poor, and as such, they did not bring the traditional lamb as well as a turtle dove or pigeon. Instead, Mary brought the requirement for poor people: either two turtledoves or two pigeons. In addition to the purification of Mary that occurred during the Presentation, Jesus was, in accordance with Mosaic law, presented in the Temple to redeem him as a firstborn son. This was required as a consequence of the firstborn sons being saved by God during the tenth plague.

Two pigeons sitting in a wooden cage.
Two Turledoves sitting in a wooden cage.

The name “Candlemas” itself derives from the practice of blessing and lighting candles during the church service on this day. These candles symbolize the light of Christ, dispelling the darkness both literally and spiritually. The tradition of blessing candles is a solemn and beautiful ceremony, where the candles are sanctified for use throughout the year.

Candlemas Traditions and Customs: Kindling the Flame

A candle is sitting on a table against a light background.
A single lit candle is sitting on a table against a light background.

Let’s explore some of the enchanting customs associated with Candlemas.

Candle Blessing:

The centerpiece of Candlemas is, of course, the blessing of candles. In churches and homes alike, candles are lit and blessed during a special ceremony. These blessed candles are believed to bring protection, warmth, and blessings into the home throughout the coming year.

Creeping of the Candles:

In some parts of the world, particularly in Scotland, there is a charming custom called “creeping of the candles.” A member of the household, often the youngest, carries a candle while walking around the darkened house. This act symbolizes the return of light and the banishment of shadows. Let’s hope they are not afraid of the dark!

A young girl holding a candle in a dark room.
Creeping of the Candles; A young child holding a candle in a dark room.

Weather Predictions:

Candlemas is also known for its folklore surrounding the weather. The old saying goes,

“If Candlemas Day be fair and bright,
Winter will have another flight;
If Candlemas Day be wind and rain,
Winter has gone and will not come again.”

People believed that the weather on Candlemas could predict the duration of winter. Certainly in Scotland we know that winter rarely ends on the 2nd of February!


In some countries, especially France, the association of crepes with Candlemas has both historical and practical origins. Legend has it that Pope Gelasius I, in the 5th century, distributed crepes to pilgrims who visited Rome on Candlemas day. These crepes symbolized the round and golden sun, signifying the end of winter and the arrival of spring. This festival is also accompanied by superstitions: If the peasants did not make pancakes on Candlemas, the wheat would be bad the following year.

A plate of pancakes and lemon slices on a table.
A plate of pancakes and lemon slices on a table.

The Symbolism of Light and Renewal

Candlemas holds a profound symbolic meaning that transcends the boundaries of religion. It represents the triumph of light over darkness, hope over despair, and renewal over stagnation. As we celebrate this festival, we are reminded that even in the darkest of times, there is a spark within us that can light up our path.

In the depths of winter, Candlemas serves as a reminder that spring is on the horizon. The days are getting longer, and the earth begins to stir beneath the frosty surface. It’s a time to reflect on our own lives, to shed the darkness of our doubts and fears, and to welcome the light of new possibilities.

Celebrating Candlemas in the Modern Era

While some may view Candlemas as an old-fashioned tradition, it continues to resonate with people in the modern era. In a world that often feels chaotic and uncertain, the simplicity and beauty of lighting a candle and seeking solace in its glow can be a powerful and comforting ritual.

Many individuals and families still observe Candlemas in their own unique ways. Some attend church services, while others have candlelit dinners or simply light a few candles at home. Regardless of how it’s celebrated, the essence of Candlemas remains the same – a celebration of light, hope, and the promise of brighter days ahead.

A 3d model of a table setting with candles and flowers.
A table setting with candles and flowers.

The Timeless Magic of Candlemas

As we begin Candlemas, we are transported to a place where tradition and spirituality intertwine. It’s a time when we pause to reflect on the circle of the seasons, to embrace the light within, and to look forward to the arrival of spring. So, on February 2nd, as we light our candles and share in this timeless tradition, let us be reminded that the warmth of Candlemas continues to illuminate our lives, year after year.

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Keeping the Christmas Spirit Alive: 7 Festive Tips for a Cheerful New Year


As the holiday season drifts away like a snowflake on the wind, many of us find ourselves grappling with the post-Christmas blues. The transition from yuletide merriment to the regular rhythm of life can be a bit like stepping out of a winter wonderland and into the cold, but fret not! We’ve gathered seven enchanting and Christmas-themed strategies to help you keep that festive spirit alive and kick off the New Year with warmth and joy!

1. Maintain a Season of Gratitude

A winter-themed image that symbolizes the gratitude of Christmas. The scene includes a person standing in a snow-covered landscape, surrounded by festive decorations.

Instead of bidding farewell to the joy of Christmas, let’s keep the spirit of gratitude alive. Each day, take a moment to cherish the wonderful moments from the holiday season – the laughter shared with loved ones, the thoughtful gifts exchanged, and the scrumptious feasts devoured. It’s like savoring the sweetest candy cane – practicing gratitude can light up your heart and keep those post-Christmas blues at bay. What part of your Christmas brought you the most joy this year?

2. Create a Holiday Mood Board

A festive image of a Christmas holiday mood board. The mood board is arranged on a wooden background, showcasing various elements that capture the spirit of Christmas.

The New Year is the perfect time to extend the magic of Christmas into your future. Imagine creating a holiday dreamscape by making a vision board, an artistic tapestry of your Christmas wishes and dreams. Gather images, quotes, and holiday-inspired ideas that tug at your heartstrings. As you arrange them, you’ll be creating a map of dreams that will keep your festive spirit alive and your heart aglow.

3. Stay Sprightly with Seasonal Activities

An image depicting winter activities, focusing on themes like winter walks or joining the gym. The scene shows a group of people enjoying a scenic winter walk and another group enjoying the gym.

Physical activity is not just for elves! It’s also a magical way to chase away the post-Christmas blues. Exercise releases those feel-good endorphins that are as delightful as gingerbread cookies. Whether you prefer a wintry walk, cozy yoga by the fireplace, dancing to your favorite holiday tunes, or even a visit to an ice-skating rink, staying active can keep your spirits as high as a treetop angel. Wrap up in the scarf your auntie gave you and go out for a walk or make use of that gym membership you promised yourself.

4. Revel in Festive Self-Care

An image depicting the theme of self-care during winter. The scene includes a cozy indoor setting with a person relaxing by a fireplace, wrapped in a cosy blanket reading a book.

Amid the hustle and bustle of the season, don’t forget to give yourself the gift of self-care. Dedicate some time to activities that keep your holiday spirit alive and your soul cozy. Time to open up the bath bombs that Santa left in your stocking! Soak in a warm, fragrant bath infused with holiday scents, try some festive meditation, dive into a heartwarming holiday novel, or immerse yourself in crafting holiday decorations. Pampering your soul is like sipping hot cocoa by the fire – it warms you from the inside out.

5. Set Holiday-Inspired Resolutions

An image that captures the concept of holiday-inspired resolutions. The scene includes a person writing down New Year's resolutions in a cozy, festive setting.

New Year’s resolutions don’t have to be dull! Create resolutions that are inspired by the holiday spirit. Resolve to spread kindness like confetti, cherish each moment with loved ones, or embark on festive adventures throughout the year. These merry resolutions will keep your festive spirit alive and inspire joy in your daily life. Sometimes a simple smile at a stranger can be enough to improve someone else’s day.

6. Share Christmas Stories & Connections

An image depicting ways to combat loneliness, especially during the holiday season. The scene includes a person engaging in a video call with family online.

Feeling a bit like a lonely reindeer? Reconnect with friends and family to share holiday stories and reminisce about your favorite Christmas moments. Upload your festive photos to Facebook and tag your friends. Strengthening those bonds will help you feel like you’re celebrating Christmas all year long. Consider joining holiday-themed clubs, groups, or online communities to kindle your festive spirit and meet like-minded Christmas enthusiasts. One of our favourite local community groups in the Helensburgh area is Grey Matters – Active Ageing.

7. Plan Jolly Activities Throughout the Year

An image reflecting the theme of organizing seasonal outings with friends, exploring holiday-themed hobbies, and scheduling weekend getaways to Christmas locations.

Rather than succumbing to the post-Christmas slump, why not extend the holiday joy? Plan festive activities throughout the year to keep your heart aglow. Organize seasonal outings with friends, explore holiday-themed hobbies, or schedule a weekend getaway to a Christmas-themed destination. Winter is a busy time of the year, plan to start your Christmas crafting in July. By sprinkling your calendar with holiday-inspired adventures, you’ll keep that twinkle in your eye and the spirit of Christmas alive all year round.

There’s no need to bid farewell to the enchantment of Christmas once the holidays are over. Embrace gratitude, set holiday-themed goals, stay active, and pamper yourself with festive self-care to keep the Christmas spirit alive. Reconnect with loved ones, create a holiday-inspired vision for the year ahead, and fill your calendar with joyful activities. And remember, if you find yourself in a snowy valley of post-Christmas sadness, don’t hesitate to seek help from the holiday spirit or a professional. With these enchanting and Christmas-themed strategies, you’ll fly through the year with joy and goodwill, just like Santa on his sleigh!

Santa Claus flying in his sleigh, pulled by reindeer. The scene is set against a festive winter background.
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The 5 Prettiest Robin Decorations in 2023

A wooden box with robin decorations on a Christmas tree inside.

We know that Christmas Day is on its way when we start to see the tell-tale signs in nature; nights get longer, the ground gets frosty, plants go to sleep in preparation for a new year of blooming… But one thing that we all look forward to is the more frequent appearance of the beautiful European robin, whose numbers in the UK swell as our robins stay local and many others migrate here to avoid the harsher winters of the Baltic states. These birds, with their many legends and symbolic meanings, hold a special place in the hearts of many which makes them very popular in Christmas displays across the country. 

At The Olde Christmas Shoppe, we are never short of robin decorations for the tree and the mantlepiece, and so we have compiled this handy list of our top 5 favourite robin decorations for your Christmas tree this year to give you the best décor and gift inspiration!

1. Postbox with Robin Decoration

“This beautiful British post box with a beautiful robin couldn’t get any more festive –  in traditional festive red with added hints of crisp white snow, this classic Christmas decoration will look fantastic on any tree.”

Pillar Box with Robin

Dimensions: 12cm

Material(s): Painted Ceramic

Colours: Red, Black, White

Price: £8.99

Why We Love This Decoration

This lovely traditional tree decoration is one of the most consistently popular amongst our range, and is often bought as a gift to someone special. The classic pillar postbox topped with snow is in itself an iconic emblem of the British Christmas season which brings to mind the excitement and anticipation of posting your Christmas cards and letter to Santa Claus the good old fashioned way, as well as complimenting most other decorations with its fetching festive red. This is enough to make this one of our favourite all-time decorations, and the tiny brown and red robin sitting atop the postbox is a sweet addition to this nostalgic piece!

2. Mesmerising Matt Gold Bauble with Robin & Holly – 8cm

“Brighten up the branches of your Christmas tree with this lovely and bright glass bauble, brought to us by the talented designer Gisela Graham.”

Mesmerising Matt Gold Bauble with Robin & Holly - 8cm
Matt Gold Bauble with Robin

Dimensions: 8cm

Material(s): Glass

Colours: Gold, Green, Brown, Red

Price: £6.99

Why We Love This Decoration:

We fell in love with this bauble’s soft glowing colours as soon as we saw it, with a warm golden matt base that casts a slight shimmer across the bauble. The realistic robin design in the centre, toadstools and holly leaves all combine to give the bauble a rustic woodland feel that seems oh so Christmas-y! 

3. Perching Robin Decorations

“Get in touch with the natural side of the Christmas season with these adorable assorted robin decorations to hang from your branches… perched in various poses on top of tree nuts for an element of wintery realism.”

Robin tree decorations
Robins on Various Nuts

Dimensions: 9.5cm

Material(s): Painted Resin

Colours: Brown, Red, Green

Variations: Robins Perching On Hazelnut / Acorn / Pinecone / Conker

Price: £6.99

Why We Love This Decoration:

We love this set of robin decorations in all of its different styles for its combination of rustic quality, natural colours and impressive realistic carved detailing. Each bird is expertly painted with soft muted watercolour and hung with a piece of homey twine – any of these lifelike robin decorations would fit perfectly on a nature-inspired Christmas tree, nestled in pinecones and holly, or perhaps as a gift for the avid birdwatcher or casual nature enthusiast!

4. Red Robin and Bluetit Bauble

“Fly into Christmas with one of this beautiful selection of bird-inspired baubles by the wonderful Gisela Graham. These baubles each have a fabulously festive matte red base and both a beautiful bluetit and winter robin expertly painted and adorned with poinsettia wreaths…”

Red Bauble with Robin and Bluetit, 2 Sided

Dimensions: 8cm

Material(s): Glass Bauble

Colours: Red, Green, White, Blue

Price: £5.99

Why We Love This Decoration:

This bauble is the perfect blend of festive fun and tradition, making it a perfect bauble to suit almost any Christmas tree style. With both a robin and a bluetit emblazoned on either side of the festive red bauble, it appeals to bird enthusiasts as well as us Christmas lovers, and the added details of pretty poinsettia flowers and glitter give the decoration a touch of welcome Christmas glitz and glam.

5. Gift Bag Figurine with Robin and Gold Tree

“Mix whimsy and tradition with the sweet robin figurine, perched preciously upon a sack of brightly painted red-and-gold Christmas presents – the festive glittering golden Christmas tree poking out from the bag gives this traditional ornament a little  bit of fun and sparkle.”

Robin and Gift Bag Ornament

Dimensions:  17cm x 11cm

Material(s): Resin, Wire, Glitter

Colours: Brown, Red, Gold, Green

Price: £10.99

Why We Love This Decoration:

The vibrant colours of this beautiful ornament are what immediately catches your eye, with its metallic painted gifts and of course the ever-welcome addition of lashings of golden glitter on the tree poking out from the brown gift bag. Most importantly, the ornament features our favourite bird – a small realistic-style robin with mesmerising eyes and an added subtle sprinkle of gold dust on its wings. We think that this sweet figurine would look especially perfect amongst a traditional Christmas display featuring festive reds and greens!

To learn more about these amazing wee winter birds and their connections to Christmas, be sure to check out some more of our Christmas Robin blogs linked below. Merry Christmas, all!

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The Best Colours To Pair With Blue Baubles This Christmas

Merry Christmas one and all, from The Olde Christmas Shoppe!

The merriest of all seasons is fast approaching us, and we want to make sure that this Christmas is the biggest and best yet by providing you with all of the inspiration and top tips you need to transform your home into a winter wonderland. Perhaps you’re looking for a new blue colour scheme for your Christmas tree, or even just to update your current collection of Christmas goodies – we’re here to help!

There are so many shades of beautiful blue baubles, from bright and colourful to muted and icy, but it can be rather tricky to build up your Christmas tree around just one colour. To help bring a little variety to your branches, here are some of our top tips for pairing different colours of baubles – and don’t forget to check out our list of The 6 Best Blue Baubles For Your Christmas Tree in 2022 for further inspiration!

Blue & Silver

A classic Christmas colour combination, blue and silver work really well together on a Christmas tree as they are both quite cold and icy complimentary colours. Try pairing silver tinsel and decorations with deep midnight blue tones or metallic teal – if the effect is a touch too icy for your liking, warm up your festive look by adding slight touches of sparkly gold and bronze!

Blue & Bronze

As mentioned above, adding a touch of bronze to your blue Christmas tree is a perfect way to lend this cold colour a little bit of warmth while still keeping a classy and elegant feel. Top Tip – bronze in all of its forms – matte and glittery – pairs extremely well with darker tones of blue as well as vibrant turquoises!

Blue & Green

A match made in heaven, there are many shades of blues and greens which look absolutely gorgeous on a Christmas tree! Both are classed as cold colours, but if you vary the shades (bright blue, teal, emerald green, sage…) then you can create a beautiful display to suit any theme, whether you are inspired by the natural tones of water and earth or are leaning towards an even more fun and unique nautical theme.

Blue & Purple

Adding any tone of purple is a fun and colourful way to break up the sea of blue baubles on your branches this year. We especially would recommend a combination of deep plum tones with light lilac, to add even more dimensions to your tree without overwhelming and taking away from the overall blue theme – don’t they just look so pretty next to each other, together at last?

For more festive fun facts and inspiration for your tree this year, check out some of our other blogs below and join us in getting excited for Christmas 2023!

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4 Festive Floral Decorations

Summer is truly in full swing now, and we can’t get enough of our fabulous floral decorations this season! Perfect for making your Christmas tree the prettiest in the street or even as decoration all year round, you’ll be sure to fall in love with our selection as we take a closer look at our very own Christmas Shoppe favourites below. So beautiful we can almost smell the fresh flowers!

1. Colourful Floral Blue Bauble by Gisela Graham

“This colourful  bouquet of red, yellow and blue flowers with glitter detail on their petals pop against the matt blue background of this bauble from Gisela Graham.”

Size: 8cm

Colour: Blue with red and green

Price: £5.99

What we love about this bauble…

This bauble, like all Gisela Graham pieces, is a truly beautiful piece to have hanging on any tree! We love the almost antique-style floral design that sprawls across the blue surface, and of course the addition of glitter makes this bauble all the better as it catches the light in an room and just brightens it up. The perfect blend of old-fashioned and modern home décor!

2. Pretty Purple Poinsettia Clear Glass Bauble

“Add a little bit of colour to your Christmas tree this year with this gorgeous floral bauble by the very talented Gisela Graham.”

Pretty Purple Poinsetta Clear Glass Bauble - 8cm

Size: 8cm

Colour: Clear, purple

Price: £5.99

What we love about this bauble…

This is definitely one of our favourite floral decorations this year, and it’s easy to see why! Because of the crisp clear glass, the stunning purples and greens of this pretty floral pattern appear extra vibrant as the centrepiece of the entire decoration, accentuated even further by tasteful tones of shimmering glitter. We also love the hand-brushed effect of the paint which adds a softness to the decoration.

3. Colourful Peruvian Inspired Embroidered Felt Daisy

“Embrace the flower power and display one of these adorable Peruvian Inspired colourful embroidered felt daisy decorations.”

Colourful Peruvian Inspired Embroidered Felt Daisy - Purple Colour

Size: 16cm

Colour: Multicolour

Price: £5.99

What we love about these floral decorations…

These decorations bring something a little bit different to your tree at Christmas time, and if you’re mad about bright colours like us then they are perfect for display all year round! They are also wonderfully soft, with a distinct handmade look and a selection of brilliant bright colours – we even have a number of colour options for you to choose from.

4. Gold Floral Bee Baubles

“Showcase your appreciation of nature this holiday season with one of our variety of bee-inspired baubles by the wonderful Gisela Graham.”

Size: 8cm

Colour: Clear, gold, black, red

Price: £6.99

What we love about these floral decorations…

These are some of our prettiest baubles, with delicate and opulent golden flowers standing out brilliantly on the clear glass base. The bees are the sweetest addition too – small gold and black striped bees with ruby red diamantes for a little extra colour and sparkle. With these classic festive colours on such an unusual themed decoration, there’s nothing not to love about this Gisela Graham piece.

Feeling inspired? Be sure to check out our blog ‘The 5 Prettiest Christmas Decorations for your 2022 Enchanted Forest Theme’, where you’ll find some woodland-inspired decorations that will pair perfectly with your floral baubles!

The Olde Christmas Shoppe
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What is Christmas in July?

Merry Christmas everyone!

Have you ever wondered why people say “It’s like Christmas in July”? We have, and with summer upon us we figured it’s about time we take a dive and find out exactly what Christmas in July is… is it just a silly phrase, a Christmas comedy classic, or a more-than-welcome chance to get into the Christmas spirit mid-year? Join us as we take a look at the origins of Christmas in July and how you can celebrate this whimsical phenomenon no matter where in the world you find yourself!

The History of Christmas in July

Christmas in July as a practice has its roots in the Southern hemisphere (Australia, New Zealand…), as their winter season takes place during this time of year – while we’re all sunbathing and drinking cocktails! Since the weather is a little bit colder in July than in December down under, many people take this opportunity to celebrate Christmas the way that we do in the Northern hemisphere – cozied up inside round the nearest heat source, wrapped in blankets and watching festive films with a hot drink. We think this is a fantastic way of capturing the traditionally wintery feel of the Christmas season, and of course they still celebrate on December 25th too; usually with a trip to the beach or a barbecue in the sun, since the average temperature across Australia ranges between 25°C and 30°C in December.

Santa enjoying Christmas in July

We would love to experience a Christmas in the sun, and even the thought of celebrating two Christmases has us too excited to handle… but thankfully, Christmas in July has a place in the Northern parts of the world too! It goes without saying that July is very different in the northern hemisphere than the south – while Scottish weather is unpredictable at best, July finds itself nestled right in the middle of the summer months, usually filled with heatwaves and trips to the seaside (maybe even ‘taps aff’ weather if we’re lucky!). So what would a Christmas in July look like in the height of summer?

It’s hard to pinpoint exactly where this tradition comes from in the UK and US, with pop culture references cropping up from the mid-20th century such as the 1940 comedy film ‘Christmas in July’ starring Dick Powell, but the mystery of the tradition’s origins in the north certainly won’t stop us celebrating! While our December Christmas perfectly scratches the itch for the idyllic winter festive season, some of us just love Christmas so much that we’d gladly have two celebrations in the year. Christmas in July usually falls around the beginning of the Christmas retail season, with decoration and gift stock beginning to arrive in our favourite stores as well as a treasure trove of seasonal bargains that make it the perfect time to consolidate the Christmas list and get your shopping done early. It’s also the best excuse to party away and celebrate the year so far, with festive decorations and treats for all. Maybe try a festive-themed barbecue – pigs-in-blankets anyone? – and cuddle up on the cooler nights as all of your favourite Hallmark-esque Christmas movies tend to be showing or streaming online during the month, including the 2021 ‘Christmas in July’ which, unlike its 1940 predecessor, is actually a Christmas movie with all the heart-warming moments we expect! There are so many ways to make this summer a little more festive and get in the Christmas mindset, and we at The Olde Christmas Shoppe are excited to try them all with you in 2023!