The use of the Christmas tree began to spread from Germany throughout Europe, and eventually fully decorated Christmas trees were brought to America by German mercenaries fighting in the Revolutionary War. Due to Puritan influences, Christmas was not fully celebrated in America until the late 19th century. Decorated Christmas trees were not very popular until people saw the decorations brought to America by families who had emigrated from Germany and England in the 1840s.
Jewelry was not very common in America, and most came from Germany. They were incredibly detailed and often made of hand-blown glass, lead, silk and woolen threads. Christmas trees at the beginning of the year were also lit by small candles in small copper holders, not by the modern incandescent bulbs found on Christmas trees today. One can only imagine how dangerous it is to use really burning candles on a dry wooden tree. It seems that once again we can thank the dear Thomas Edison!
In the early 19th century, real fruit also appeared and was used to decorate the Christmas tree because it symbolized the things that would grow on the trees and also the rebirth of life in anticipation of spring. Each year more and more traditions were added to decorate the Christmas tree. In America, people began hanging popcorn and dried cranberries on the tree as tinsel. Small gifts were other items hung on the Christmas tree, sometimes in small handmade baskets. In fact, these small trinkets became such a popular way to decorate the Christmas tree that the tree was often so full that you could barely see the real Christmas tree underneath….. It looks familiar!
Folklore and legends also play an important role in Christmas tree decorations are numerous. A popular German cucumber ornament carries a beautiful story. Cucumber ornaments are glass ornaments shaped like a cucumber. German parents used it to judge the smartest child in the family. The first to follow the cucumber received an extra gift from Santa Claus. Other popular ornaments include stars symbolizing the star of Bethlehem that led the three wise men to Christ, a bell that would return the lost sheep to their flock, bows symbolizing eternal benevolence, and, of course, crowns symbolizing the eternal love of God.
F.W. Woolworth, one of America’s first mass merchants, began importing German glass jewelry into the country in the 1880s. In 1890, he reportedly sold $25 million worth of it. According to Wikipedia, the first glass ornaments made in the United States were made in 1870 by William DeMuth in New York City, near Corning, which is best known for its collection of glass confections. Although glass ornaments are still expensive, good quality jewelry can be found in the markets. Today, ornaments are often made of plastic and are available worldwide in a wide variety of shapes, colors and patterns. In 1973, the American company Hallmark first introduced the “Keepsake” Christmas ornament, which revolutionized the ornament industry as we know it today. Once ornate glass balls and wire figurines, today they can be found in a wide variety of wood, acrylic, porcelain and other handmade materials.
Frequently asked questions
Where does the tradition of Christmas decorations come from?
What are Christmas decorations?
The house ornament symbolizes the safety and protection of the family. The bird ornament reflects happiness and joy. A heart-shaped ornament signifies true love in the home. An angel ornament asks God to lead her into the home.
Who invented Christmas decorations?
Babouls were invented in Lauscha by local resident Hans Greiner, who first made them in the late 1840s. The first Babouls were glass fruits and nuts that eventually took on a more spherical shape.
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