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The Original Traditions Behind Our Favorite Christmas Symbols

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Christmas is the season for joy and forgiveness, however it is also full of strange and beautiful traditions we all follow without really understanding. Ever wondered where your favorite Christmas traditions came from? Well let’s have a look!


mistletoeMistletoe

Traditionally it is said that mistletoe should never touch the ground between being cut and its removal (it is to be the last of the greens removed from the house after the Christmas season is over). It is supposed to be hung each year to protect the house from fire and any man and woman that met each other under it were obliged to kiss. After each kiss a berry was plucked from the bush, once all the berries were plucked the privilege ceased. The use of mistletoe as a Christmas decoration is very common and originally began way back in the 18th century.

Christmas tree with presents and fireplace with stockingsChristmas Trees

The Christmas tree originally began in modern Germany in the early Renaissance with the decorating of pine or fir trees with apples, roses, candies and colored paper. Its 16th century origins seem to center around Martin Luthur but its widespread popularity followed introduction by various members of the nobility. To decorate a Christmas tree became much more popular and widely accepted in the United Kingdom after Queen Victoria’s marriage to the German Prince Albert.

christmas-stockingsChristmas Stocking

There is a lot of confusion surrounding where the tradition of Christmas stockings came from but popular legends have found ways to try and explain it. It starts with the story of an old man with three beautiful daughters who had no money to pay for their dowries and so they could not marry. St Nicholas was riding through the village and heard of this story, understanding that the old man would not accept charity he crept down the chimney that night and found stockings that the daughters had hung by the fireplace to dry. Into these 3 stockings he placed a bag of gold each, the next morning the 3 beautiful women and their father were overjoyed and soon after the women were married. Ever since adults and children alike have hung stockings by the fireplace or at the end of their beds to be filled with presents while they sleep, ready to be joyfully opened the next morning!

candy_caneCandy Cane

According to popular history in 1670 a German choirmaster wished to find a way to get the children to be quiet in his church during Christmas Eve ceremonies. He asked the local sweet maker to make sweet sticks for the children but in order to justify the giving of candy during worship he had the sweet maker add a crook to the tip of each sweet (to resemble the crocks of the three shepherds) and to make them red and white (to reinforce Christian beliefs in the sinless life of Jesus). These delicious candy canes then spread through Europe while being given out at nativity plays. Now they are a popular tradition each year and come in many different flavors, not just the traditional peppermint, which the whole family can enjoy.

poinsettiaPoinsettia

This plant and its associations with Christmas stem from Mexico, where they tell the story of a young girl who was too poor to pay for a present to celebrate the birth of Jesus. Angels inspired her to pick weeds from the roadside to place in front of the church alter and these weeds became poinsettias when beautiful crimson blossoms sprouted from them. From the 17th century onwards friars in Mexico incorporated these bright flowers into their Christmas celebrations, as they believe the flowers have a special symbolism. The star shape of the leaf symbolizes the Star of Bethlehem and the red symbolizes the blood sacrifice through the crucifixion of Christ. Today these beautiful flowers are popular Christmas decorations, with December 12th being National Poinsettia Day in the USA.

As can be seen many of these traditions are old and steeped in centuries of history but that doesn’t make them any less important or special today. All five of the listed traditions are some of the most beautiful and enjoyable parts of Christmas that anyone from the youngest child of a family to the aging grandparents can participate in!

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Antonio-Massey

Antonio Massey

Production Team: Folder

Antonio Massey recently joined NWCA in June of 2022. His role on the Production Team has greatly improved our processes and productivity. Antonio is always willing to lift heavy boxes or help his co-workers during busy times. In his free time, he enjoys playing with his dog and mastering video games.

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Alicia Wada

Shipping Clerk

Alicia Wada is passionate about helping her co-workers at Northwest Custom Apparel in any way that she can. She works in our Shipping and Logistics department. Alicia, who goes by Ali, has a bachelor’s degree in Applied Mathematics. She lived in Japan for ten years and recently brought her family to America in 2019. She is interested in learning crafts and textile art from around the world.

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Erik Mickelson

Manager

Erik Mickelson’s position as Manager is more than a job, it’s a passion. It’s always fun and exciting because he enjoys marketing, computers, and coming up with innovative ideas to help NWCA grow. He majored in accounting and finance at Washington State University, graduating in 1996, and returned to school to obtain his Master of Business from WGU, graduating in 2016. Erik continually strives to advance his education through podcasts, audiobooks, and industry tradeshows. He is married to a remarkable and caring wife named Wendy, a Registered Nurse, with whom he shares his many hobbies and a love for the outdoors.

 

Ruth-Nhoung

Ruth Nhoung

Production Manager

Ruth Nhoung is our Production Manager and Northwest Custom Apparel is lucky to have her. Thanks to her vast knowledge of machine embroidery and dedication to creating a comfortable and supportive work environment, the production plant runs smoothly and customers are pleased with our work. She is a loving mother and grandmother and enjoys spending quality time with her siblings. She says, “I love everything about Northwest Custom Apparel: the people, the atmosphere, the work, and the customers. I love what I do and I embrace all of NWCA’s core values”.

Steve-Deland

Steve Deland

Art Director

Steve Deland has been our amazing Artist since 2017. He loves working at Northwest Custom Apparel because he appreciates the goal-oriented, progressive-thinking management style. He is most passionate about his art, which includes scroll saw woodwork, and his five grandchildren.

 

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Taylar Hanson

Sales

Taylar Hanson is a highly acclaimed Saleswoman at Northwest Custom Apparel. She has a BA in Apparel, Merchandising, Design, and Textiles from Washington State University. “Go Cougs!” The best part of Taylar’s job is getting to work with longtime customers who trust us to do the best work and take care of their needs. She is passionate about appreciating nature, traveling, and spending time with friends and family.

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Nika Lao

Sales

Nika Lao is very knowledgeable in how the business is ran because she began as an Embroidery Machine Operator and has worked hard to become the excellent and personable saleswoman she is today. She enjoys the stress-free environment and the many chances to connect with her co-workers over potlucks, BBQs, and bowling parties. Nika is a proud sister of two highly successful brothers and can boast mastering three languages herself: Khmer, Thai, and English. She is an avid camper, enjoys going to farmer markets, and loves cooking.

Bradley-Wright

Bradley Wright

Accountant

Bradley Wright has been a vital team member of NWCA since 2017. As our accountant and knower-of-all-things, Bradley is proud to work closely with his wonderful colleagues. He studied at the University of Washington. These days he dedicates his free time to his new house.

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Dominic Nguyen

DTG Operator

Dominic Nguyen recently joined our Direct-To-Garment department. He says he loves the family work environment at Northwest Custom Apparel. In his free time, Dom likes to listen to music, hangout with friends, and play video games. He comes from a very big family which can be very chaotic at times, but is always exciting.

Sothea-Tann

Sothea Tann

Production Team: Trimmer

Sothea Tann recently joined the Production Team in 2022. She finds Northwest Custom Apparel to be a good working environment with helpful and friendly staff. In her free time, Sothea spends quality time with her family and, overall, focuses on a peaceful and happy lifestyle.

Brian-Beardsly

Brian Beardsley

DTG Supervisor

Brian Beardsley has been with Northwest Custom Apparel since 2018. He is our DTG Supervisor. Brian loves that he gets to work with high-tech machines in a fun atmosphere. He has a bachelor’s degree in Graphic Design. He said, “I always wanted to create visually interesting assets in a variety of mediums”. In his free time, he enjoys building and painting models, playing video games, designing, and playing his guitar.

UT-Tri-Tran

UT Tri Tran

Embroidery Machine Operator

UT Tri Tran loves Northwest Custom Apparel so much that, although she has already retired after a long career in machine embroidery operations, she is happy to return part time. She says, “I love the family style work environment and how everyone shares food, laughter, and fun on a regular basis.” In her free time she is dedicated to living a healthy and peaceful lifestyle with her friends and family.

Bunsereytheavy-Hoeu

BunsereytheavyHoeu

Embroidery Machine Operator

BunsereytheavyHoeu, who goes by Theavy, won our Operator of the Year in 2021. She takes on many roles in the production team. She says, “These are not my co-workers, these are my family! I cherish all the memories we make together”. When she goes home to be with her family, she makes the most of her time with them by holding family get-togethers and even karaoke competitions.

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Sreynai Meang

Embroidery Machine Operator

SreynaiMeang is a hard-working Machine Operator. She is most passionate about helping people. Sreynai, who goes by Nai, likes to exercise in her free time and talk with her family in Cambodia.

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Kanha Chhorn

Embroidery Machine Operator

Kanha Chhorn has been an Embroidery Operator with Northwest Custom Apparel since 2018. She is delightful and always makes everyone smile and laugh. Kanha takes on additional tasks that allow us to exceed our customers’ expectations. In her free time, she can be found at her local temple or spending quality time with her family and friends.

Savy-Sorm

Savy Som

Embroidery Machine Operator

SavySom is one of our Machine Operators who is passionate about embroidery and sewing. She enjoys working at NWCA because of its flexibility. She has two teenage sons and loves spending time with her family on the weekends.

Sorphorn-Sorm

SorphornSorm

Embroidery Machine Operator

SorphornSorm has been a Machine Operator since 2011. One of her four sisters works here as well. Her other relatives are in Cambodia. In her free time, Sorphorn studies English, listens to music, and enjoys exercising.

Jim-Mickelson

Jim Mickelson

CEO

Jim Mickelson, after a successful career with a major oil company, founded Northwest Embroidery in 1977. This was the first commercial embroidery in the Pacific Northwest. Over the years, Jim has become the guru of embroidery never refusing to answer a question or offer advice to his fellow embroiders. Jim and his wife Leeanna raised four wonderful children who went on to successful business careers.

Northwest Custom Apparel
Northwest Custom Apparel
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Janice Herron
Janice Herron
2024-02-09
Love their amazing customer service! From ordering over the phone, through email, or in person at Northwest Custom Apparel, everyone is very helpful, and very nice! Always! We have been ordering our apparel for our local small business through them for many years! Thank you Thank you!
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Morgan Pero
2024-01-26
Excellent people, products and customer service!
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Drew Halverson
2024-01-23
Great product offerings/results, swift communication, and helpful staff. Highly recommend!
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Tim s
2024-01-12
Northwest Custom apparel always does great work! We have been a customer for over 25 years and are always satisfied with the products we get!!
RPD
RPD
2024-01-12
NW Custom Apparel treats us like we’re their only customer! Everyone is always so friendly and helpful. They’re great!
Randy Birch
Randy Birch
2024-01-11
We us Northwest Custom Apparel for our work shirts and they are incredible. The staff is super friendly, the quality of workmanship is outstanding and they stand by the work they do. I love this place.
Heidi Christiansen
Heidi Christiansen
2024-01-10
Eve
Eve
2024-01-10
The company I work for has been buying custom apparel for the team members for years now. We love working with NW Custom Apparel because the process is easy, delivery is timely, and materials are high quality. Anytime I’ve ever had an issue, they’re quick to resolve it. We’ve purchased both embroidered items and DTG graphic tees. We’ve purchased blankets, shirts, jackets, hoodies, etc. Everything ends up looking super professional, and our team members always have positive things to say. Ally is always there at the warehouse with a smile and a friendly greeting when I pick up materials. She is so helpful and respectful. Taylar is a wonderful customer service rep. I’ve sent her some complicated orders—like 20 different items with all different colorways and styles or 150 items with three different styles—and she is so good at getting everything just right. I plan to continue purchasing from NW Custom for high-quality custom apparel.
Hoa DeBusk
Hoa DeBusk
2024-01-09
Have used them for years. Knowledgeable team that is always so helpful in recommending options or creating designs. Great quality too for embroidery or digital prints. Very happy with them as a vendor.
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Stacey Perez
2024-01-09
We use Northwest Custom Apparel for all of our professional embroidery needs for the orthodontic office I work at. They do great work, are quick and have never missed a deadline. Highly recommend if you need any custom apparel needs.