The theme of our Alderney Christmas 2017 stamp set is a popular Christmas Carol, The Holly and the Ivy.
Carols have been part of our festive tradition since the Middle Ages. Carols used to be written and sung during all four seasons, but only the tradition of singing them at Christmas has really survived.
In Pagan times, long before the birth of Christianity, homes were customarily decorated in winter with evergreens taken from the surrounding landscape.
According to records, ivy was used as a decoration way back in Roman times, as was holly, which played a major role in summer and winter solstice observances.
Christians adopted evergreens as Christmas decorations in Roman times, despite protests from disapproving Church Fathers, who regarded the decorations as too pagan.