Christmas Hearts of Love

Dear Reader:

Yesterday I told you that I received a wonderful package filled with ‘everything good about Danish Christmas customs.’ (A children’s book filled with Danish stories, a bag filled with angel labels and another with traditional Christmas hearts for the tree.)

It is an old Scandinavian tradition to make woven paper or felt hearts filled with candies or nuts to put on the Christmas tree. … Danes say it is the symbol of the heart of Christmas (love and respect) and was invented by Hans Christian Andersen in the late 19th Century.


The enduring stories of Hans Christian Andersen have long been staples of library story programs. His tales are widely read and enjoyed, with new picture book versions being published on a regular basis.

What isn’t as well-known is Andersen’s contribution
to the way Denmark celebrates Christmas, a contribution that goes beyond the written word.

In the early 1800s, Danish Christmas trees were largely decorated with items that could be eaten after they had been admired: kringle cookies, marzipan figures, and gingerbread men. Paper ornaments began to be used around the 1820s.

Then, in the mid-1860s, Andersen, who had by this time was well-established as a prolific and successful author of fairy tales, created a paper heart basket for his friend, Mathilde
Ørsted, by weaving two pieces of folded paper together.

This first heart did not include a handle, a feature which would be added later to make it possible to hang the woven
heart on the Christmas tree.

Some of the author’s paper hearts have survived and the oldest known version, a green and gold heart without a handle, can be found in The Hans Christian Andersen House Museum in Odense, Denmark.


In the 1870s, the heart basket Christmas ornament was fast becoming a new Christmas tradition.

Today, the Danish woven heart is a much-loved Christmas tree tradition that is enjoyed throughout Scandinavia. The craft has evolved from the simple classic red and white version into a variety of multi-colored designs and motifs and has become a respected art form. One day or evening is usually left in Danish homes (over the holidays) to make these hearts together as a family to place on their Christmas trees.

As early as kindergarten… students start learning to cut simple patterns for gifts for their families. The older the students, especially those with artistic talents…the more complex the now braided patterns display… using  diverse materials from nature.

It reminded me of the Gullah baskets our Gullah Club, consisting of  eighth graders, learned to make one year at Alston Middle School…The process definitely involves lots of patience and do-overs.

***Kevin and Rikki were involved in a teacher/administrative exchange program (many years ago now) and taught one semester at Summerville Elementary School.

Dr. Gene Sires, the principal at the time, brought furniture over for them so they could stay on my other side… soon after mother had gone to the Presbyterian Village.

I remember they went to the Christmas Eve Service with me and the family that year to listen to the story. So many sweet memories. I love that we are still in touch after all these years…their subsequent marriage and now two beautiful daughters!

So until tomorrow…Let’s all fill our hearts with love and respect for tradition this Christmas…including acceptance of others and unity among our fellow countrymen in the name of freedom and democracy.

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

Another alteration to the an annual tradition…Honey and Mike barely got out of the NC mountains yesterday morning to come to Summerville…they awoke to ice and snow…but they did it.

This year Honey and I met on the porch, exchanged gifts, and Honey took the Apple Tree platform  back to her house (for a couple of more days) to “build” it this year. Honey also made me a Sammy and Sammy nest from her kiln…adorable!

It adds on to my Sammy the Cardinal gifts over the years…I will try to add a few photos each day to show you the diversity of memoirs I have collected through so many of your Christmas gifts over the years. Here are a few for today’s photos. Love you Sammy and so does your fan club! “)

P.S. 4:00 p.m. – A black truck pulled up yesterday afternoon and Mike Burrell got out with more Christmas surcies…unbelievable! Will save them to open today…yesterday was  filled with “enoughs” to make me so happy. My heart is overflowing.


P.S.S.  To top off the cold rainy day here on a high note…Susan called and said she was running supper over to me…it was delicious…a yummy pasta dish and salad…just hit the spot…thank you so much Susan for the unexpected meal…I gulped it down. 🙂



***Look at Ady modeling…I had this coat, in my closet, for a long time…thinking it would fit someone in the family…older…but didn’t realize that Ady has shot up so much this year…and while she has room to grow in it…it looks adorable on her right now…she’s ready for winter!






About Becky Dingle

I was born a Tarheel but ended up a Sandlapper. My grandparents were cotton farmers in Laurens, South Carolina and it was in my grandmother’s house that my love of storytelling began beside an old Franklin stove. When I graduated from Laurens High School, I attended Erskine College (Due West of what?) and would later get my Masters Degree in Education/Social Studies from Charleston Southern. I am presently an adjunct professor/clinical supervisor at CSU and have also taught at the College of Charleston. For 28 years I taught Social Studies through storytelling. My philosophy matched Rudyard Kipling’s quote: “If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.” Today I still spread this message through workshops and presentations throughout the state. The secret of success in teaching social studies is always in the story. I want to keep learning and being surprised by life…it is the greatest teacher. Like Kermit said, “When you’re green you grow, when you’re ripe you rot.”
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5 Responses to Christmas Hearts of Love

  1. Rachel Edwards says:

    ❤❤❤🎄🎄🎁🎁🎁 fascinating story of the customs in Scandinavian countries..
    Loved your gifts…

  2. Marcia says:

    I am so enjoying your Christmas posts!
    We will be celebrating Christmas in Summerville this year with our daughter and son in law and family. I can hardly wait!
    May your Christmas be merry and bright!
    God bless you and be with you in 2021.
    It will be a very good year, I’m sure of it.

    • Becky Dingle says:

      I am hopeful too Marcia that faith and hope will guide us into a more fulfilling new year with healing and prosperity on the rise…brightened with love. Merry Christmas…Enjoy your family!!!!

  3. Rikke Hvidt Larsen says:

    Dear Becky, we are so happy that you liked the Danish hearts and that they arrived before Christmas. They look great on your beautiful tree. We value our friendship very much and we hope we can come to the US again soon. Love from the Danes 🇩🇰♥️Kewin/Rikke/Frida & Karla

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