I remember bowls of apples and walnuts and bits of evergreen or glass ornaments in a big crystal bowl on our holiday mantel when I was a kid. I followed the tradition with my own family, along with the orange in the bottom of the Christmas stocking.
I hadn't really stopped to think that these were age old traditions. The oranges had many meanings, depending on who is telling the tale. And I love the old one about floating candles in walnuts. I can remember using the shells and making little sails for them. Do you have holiday traditions steeped in historical meaning?