Christmas Pineapple

Today I made a pineapple snowflake.

The pineapple has served as a symbol of hospitality and warm welcome through the history of the Americas.

Christopher Columbus wrote the first account of a western encounter with the pineapple in the journal of his second discovery voyage across the Atlantic. He and his men landed on the Caribbean island of Guadalupe where the sailors enjoyed this sweet, succulent new fruit, which had already become a staple of native feasts and religious rites.

In 1493, Columbus first brought the pineapple back to Renaissance Europe that was largely devoid of sweet foods, including fresh fruit. The pineapple’s exotic nature and sweetness soon made it an item that soon acquired both popularity and curiosity for centuries after its European arrival. For two centuries, as European horticulturists struggled to perfect a hothouse method for cultivating pineapples in Europe, the pineapple became even more a coveted commodity. In the 1600s, King Charles posed for an official portrait while receiving a pineapple as a gift.

In colonial America, hostesses would set a fresh pineapple in the center of their dining table when visitors joined their families in their homes. Visiting was the primary means of entertainment and cultural exchange, so the concept of hospitality was a central element in colonial life. The pineapple, then, symbolized the warmest welcome a hostess could extend to her guests, and then often it also served as the dessert for the meal. If the visitors spent the night, they would be given a bedroom with a bed in which pineapples had been carved on either the bedposts or the headboard — even if that was the master bedroom.

Creative food display became a competition among the hostesses, because it declared her personality and her family’s social status. Hostesses tried to outdo one another in creating memorable dining events. In larger, more affluent homes, the doors to the dining room were kept closed to create an air of suspense and excitement over the preparations of the hostess. Colonial grocers sometimes rented pineapples to hostesses desperate to create a dining experience above their financial means. Later, once that hostess had returned the pineapple, the fruit would be sold to more affluent clients who could afford to actually buy and eat it. Regardless of ones financial ability to actually buy and eat the pineapple, however, visitors to the homes that displayed the pineapple felt particularly honored that the hostess had spared no expense to secure one in their behalf.

The Pineapple is often used in Christmas displays.

pineapple fan Pineapple Wreaths © Britt Conley

I have use pineapples in floral designs

2010_0516pineapple-des4-1-110021 2010_07125-27-11-pineapple0008 2010_07125-27-11-pineapple0004 Floral Design School

And quilt patterns are often called Pineapple.  here is a vintage quilt top that I plan to hand quilt one day

and the Pineapple applique quilt I made


Here is the snowflake which will be added to the giveaway …you have until the 12th to enter (enter here)


I think this design would make a great center medallion for a whole cloth quilt (more pictures click to enlarge)

Add a pineapple to your Christmas display


24 thoughts on “Christmas Pineapple

  1. Sara says:

    WOW! That one tops the list I think!

  2. Ann Hancock says:

    Great post! My Mom’s family is from Virginia so I grew up visiting Williamsburg and the Pineapple is a huge thing there in holiday decorations.

    Love, love, LOVE that pink and green pineapple quilt!! And the pineapple snowflake is awesome!

    • timquilts says:

      I keep thinking that top is going to be the next one I quilt,,,then I get involved in something new and forget about it….then something reminds me about it and I go back to thinking I need to get to work on it again…..
      I have never visited Williamsburg myself but would love to go at Christmas time to see the decorations!

  3. Sue says:

    This is just amazing! I sure am holding out hope that I wind these snowflakes 😀 I just love the pineapple in my home decorating. In fact, I love eating them too 😉

  4. Sandra henderson says:

    Drool….my absolute favorite. We have a pineapple chandelier, made of brass, but hammered looking. Will have to take a pic. Was my mil, so probably from 40s. I dont know. I have needlepointed pineaples. I have always wanted to do a door welcoming arrangement like this, so colonial to me. Too hot here…. Of course,C harleston is just down the road… You are so talented. I would just go nuts if i won these. Such fun to frame them all. Each and every one. Your posts are to thorough and educational. Thank you

    • timquilts says:

      Thanks Sandra, I really enjoy realting the things im working on to some history info….and really glad that you enjoy that! you chandelier sounds great!When id do pineapple things I am always inspired to do more….I might need to do another pineapple quilt!

  5. Sandra henderson says:

    Remind me to show you the little piecei bought at shelburne museum in vermont where the lady made it using sheep shearing sheers…can you imagine?,,,!

  6. Kathleen Campbell says:

    These cuttings leave me in AWE! The pineapple one is special. Your pineapple florals are really good. My DIL’s father is a flower grower on the Big Island. He sends me the Bird-of Paradise a few times.

  7. Kristen says:

    Here in New York City (and I assume up and down the East Coast) many of the wrought iron newel posts on 18th century railing of brownstones (town houses) are topped with (wrought iron) pineapples.

  8. Jill says:

    This snowflake may be my favorite so far, just lovely!
    I could absolutely see it quilted as a center medallion.

  9. Siobhan says:

    Growing up in Boston we had a carved pineapple on our door for years. Even here in Georgia it is the antique quilt applique pattern I see most often…

  10. Trina Schellhammer says:

    Thank you SEW very much for this wonderful teaching on pineapples!! I knew it had something to do traditionally with the symbolism of being welcome, but now I know. LOVE the history of the story behind the story with these cool patterns. 🙂

  11. Patti J says:

    I recently found your blog and love all your snowflakes. I would especially love the pineapple snowflake.

  12. […] market” .  I went to the local market and bought a variety of fruit.  I was inspired by the Pineapple post I did a few days […]


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