A Brief History Of Christmas Ornaments

One aspect of Christmas that the whole family can get involved with is the decorating of the tree.  Every year family’s around the world get together and start placing those beloved Christmas ornaments on their trees.  They are helping to create memories that will then pass on from one generation to the next.

But how is it that Christmas ornaments have become to play such a large role in this festive period?

The History Of Christmas Ornaments

The actual idea of decorating a tree at Christmas started in Germany.  In Germany they would use fruit and nuts to decorate trees after their leaves had fallen off.  It was a way to help show that spring was on its way.

Then in 1605, someone decided to actually bring a fir tree into their home. They chose to decorate it with candles, fruit, nuts and paper roses.  This was a very unusual but ground-breaking thing to do!

It was very long however, before more and more people throughout Germany also decided to bring a tree indoor and then decorate.

This was something that continued to happen for the next 200 years.  Then in the 1800’s a large number of Germans immigrated to the USA.  They still chose to keep up those traditions but also decided to create their own as well.  They would often make most of their Christmas ornaments from whatever items they had available.  This is why they started using things as fruit (especially apples), nuts, candles, paper streamers and strings of popcorn with cranberries.

christmas tree globe decoration

The thing was that even before lights had been invented people were finding ways to help light up their trees.  Many would use pieces of tin foil to the tree as it helped to reflect light into the room and made their trees glisten.

Like them you could in fact make your own Christmas tree ornaments. You can then pass on from one generation to the next.  You could get some glass or plastic baubles to which you can then glue say pearls other materials to create your own ones.

The History Of Traditional Christmas Ball Ornaments

You know those set of plastic baubles that you use to decorate your tree with each year?  Well these also originally came from Germany.

The first set of glass ball ornaments (or as we often refer them as baubles) were created by Hans Greiner in the 1800s.  These were the first-ever Christmas ornaments to be manufactured.

Then by the latter part of the 1800s a very enterprising American, by the name of F W Woolworth brought the idea of making such ornaments to the USA.  He sold more than $25 million worth of these baubles every year.

Furthermore, other manufacturers became involved and starting using injection molding to create their ornaments for Christmas trees.   They were able to use plastic rather than glass. This meant as part of the history of Christmas ornaments on the tree, they had more options available to them.  They could, in fact, create Christmas tree ornaments that were different shapes and sizes.

Interesting Fact:  The round shape of the ornaments that were first produced originates from the original shape of the first materials used to decorate trees.  They relied on the shapes of the fruits and nuts that were first used as Christmas tree ornaments.

The History Of The Christmas Tree Star

As you are aware that the star that is placed at the top of your tree as well as sometimes hangs from the trees branches have religious origins.  But do you know why this is?

It all revolves around the birth of Jesus.  There were three wise men (Magi) that saw an unusual star in the sky.  For some reason only known to them, they knew it would take them to the baby Jesus.

The star that we all tend to place on the top of our tree is there to represent the original star that shone above the stable where Jesus was born.

christmas pearl decorations

Christmas Tree Ornaments History – The Candy Cane

Some people like to place candy canes on to their trees. Also, they use them as stocking fillers.   This is yet another Christmas tradition that comes from Germany.  The first time that candy cane’s appeared, as part of the Christmas festivities was around 1670.

However, they were not originally used to decorate the tree. Initially they were used to help keep children quiet during the long Christmas religious services.   They shaped the candy-like the letter “J” in order for it to represent the crook that the shepherds who visited the baby Jesus used for herding their sheep.

Then around 1900 the peppermint flavour along with the red stripes was added. For many Christians the inclusion of the red stripe is supposed to represent the blood Jesus shed when on the cross.  As for the use of peppermint to flavour the canes this is supposed to represent the hyssop plant that was used for purification of the body.

In fact, the original candy canes made in Germany were colourless and flavourless.  They were just really a stick of sugar.


Christmas Decorations History – The Angel

These days some people rather than placing a star on the top of their tree, choose to place an angel instead.  They may also include a few that they hang from the branches.  You could in fact create your own beautiful Christmas angel that you could decorate with some beautiful coloured pearls.

Just like the start the use of angels on a tree has religious connotations.  Many believe that these represent the angel Gabriel who appeared to Mary to say she would give birth to the baby Jesus.  Some say it represents the angel that appeared in Bethlehem when Jesus was born.  Whilst others believe it represents the angles that watch over us and protect us.


christmas tree ornament angel

Interesting Fact: Not long after the Christmas tree becoming popular in homes, many parents would use streamers to decorate theirs with.  They would then tell their children that these were pieces of angel hair that had become caught up in the branches of the tree.

Contemporary Use Of Christmas Ornaments

These days when we talk about the history of Christmas ornaments on the tree they have now come to represent the interest of every particular family.  Some choose to place ornaments on their trees that they have collected during their family vacations.  They use them to provide a visual memory of such wonderful times.

Then there are other families who prefer to buy custom made ornaments that relate to special events in their family’s life.  Some relate to the birth of their children, others to important anniversaries, such as a wedding or a child’s graduation.

These days some even prefer to use ornaments on their Christmas trees that revolve around particular hobbies, sports, music or certain colours that they like.  Then there are others who prefer to actually create their own ornaments for their tree.  If you would like to do the same there are plenty of places online. On various websites, you can find ideas and tips for making your own Christmas tree ornaments.  You could even make ones that include some beautiful loose pearls in their design.

Interesting Fact: The first keepsake ornaments that were introduced to us by Hallmark appeared in 1973.  Originally they comprised a small selection of glass baubles and yarn figures.

christmas globe decoration

However, since then the choice of ornaments created by Hallmark has grown substantially, now they have well over 8,500 different Christmas ornaments that you can choose from.  So finding ones that suit your taste and your budget shouldn’t prove challenging.

Plus of course you could also create a few of your own special Christmas tree ornaments.  Something that your children can enjoy and pass on to their children in the future and provide a special memory for everyone.

As you will see from this brief look at the history of Christmas ornaments they have become an indispensable part of this festive time of year.   The actual manufacture and sale of such is one of the largest markets worldwide.  Christmas has become somewhat more commercialized. But the inclusion of the use of Christmas ornaments can lend a very special charm to this festive period.

It allows us to keep up with those old Christmas traditions. Moreover, we enjoy our Christmas celebrations even more.   For many people it is a time of year when we not only spend time with our loved ones, but also remember those who may have left us.

At Pearlsonly.com, we have a fantastic selection of loose pearls available.  They are available in a wide variety of different sizes and colours.  So choosing ones to use to create your own very special Christmas ornaments this year should prove difficult.  How about buying some lovely pink or lavender coloured pearls to create some beautiful and unique baubles for your tree? Or even to use to help create other beautiful and unique ornaments for your tree? We will let you decide!

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