The history of the Christmas decoration
5th November 2015
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Christmas and Christmas trees can be enjoyed by anyone regardless of their culture, they are pretty and add colour, and that wonderful scent of the forest, to our homes in an otherwise dowdy month.

When did Christmas Decorations start trending?

The advent of the Christmas decoration seems to have occurred as early as the mid nineteenth century and was quite common across Europe.

Bringing indoors evergreen boughs was both a pagan symbol and an act of Christian custom, in both cases bringing in a sign of the season soon to come.

The Scots will collect coal, salt and a green branch at New Year for their Hogmanay celebrations for much the same reason.

Paper chains and wax candles on a Christmas Tree? Really?

Even as recently as the 1950’s homes would be decorated with colourful paper chains and illuminated with lit wax candles, a health and safety nightmare but it appears to have worked quite well back then!

Glass baubles arrived in the mid nineteenth Century bringing in fragile beauties that could be used, packed away in tissue, and re-used again and again. All manner of shapes and sizes were made by craftsmen copying the shapes of fruit, flags, lanterns, even vegetables, and of course angels and Santas.

The highly flammable Christmas tree was introduced to the UK through Germany and Scandinavia, and to this day in Germany the Christmas Tree is referred to as Christbaum (Christ's Tree) or Tannenbaum.

In the 15th and 16th Centuries Christian people would bring indoors small decorated trees. This custom was spread throughout Europe including here in Great Britain.

The idea of festooning a tree with nuts and fruit for children at Christmas has been modernised progressively throughout the years with electric Christmas tree lights, in place of burning candles, and the bright and sparkling baubles of today, plus the odd chocolate goodie for good measure.

Many of the Christmas tree decorations are still hand painted to this day, some still made of the most fragile materials whilst others are safety conscious and are of a plastic material that will not shatter.

Electric Christmas tree lights replaced the wax candles that were intended to replicate the sparkling of lights upon the trees in nature when covered with snow, hence the tinsel that covered the tree like snow to help the light to twinkle.

The electrical variety is very much a 20th Century creation. From the heavy painted light bulbs and heavy wiring we then graduated to tiny light bulbs hand painted and wired together, to the present day where tiny Christmas tree lights are available in many colours, and they can sing and play a tune or two.

Christmas decorations have changed vastly with advances in the ability to produce them and with the need to make them safer, lighter, less costly to run, and prettier.

Because Christmas decorations are so inexpensive now it is not uncommon for people to have a total change each year. It is also possible for the folks who prefer an artificial tree to buy it ready dressed and set with lights allowing them ‘to plug and play without delay’!

Surely that is not as much fun as buying the real thing and spending a warm winter's evening dressing the tree, even if it prickles, and sitting back and soaking up that special feeling. Christmas time is here again for all to enjoy.

I do it 2 weeks before Christmas Day with a glass of bubbly and loud Christmas music blaring out. It signals that Christmas is near!

About the Author

Michelle H

Member since: 26th February 2014

Michelle is the owner & MD of The Best of Windsor and she also runs a business and marketing consultancy called Quivr. She's passionate about Windsor and loves being able to connect people to each other...

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