The History of Tree Decorating

The History of Tree Decorating

Christmas trees light up the windows of homes in almost every neighborhood. In fact, they might just be the most common symbol of Christmas itself. Have you ever wondered how the tradition of decorating trees for the holiday got started in the first place?

Decorating the Tree 1800sThe history of tree decorating as we know it actually began all the way back in the 16th century in Germany. Devout Christians would bring decorated trees into their homes and dance around them during their holiday festivities. It was once believed that the triangular shape of Christmas trees pointed upward toward heaven to signify everlasting life. The first Christmas trees were decorated with colorful edibles including such things as apples, candy canes and pastries that were created in festive shapes. When wood was scarce, many would create pyramids out of pieces of wood and decorate them with sprigs of evergreen as well. Eventually, other types of fruits were added, as well as festive paper streamers and tiny bits of tin foil.

old-tree-decorIn the mid 1800s, as the concept of decorated trees spread, other countries began adding their own variations of decorations. Americans, for instance, would often string impressive strands of popcorn or cranberries through the branches of their Christmas trees. Soon, small gifts were also used to decorate American’s trees. While some simply rested on the branches, others were hung with tiny bits of yarn or thread. In the UK, creatively made ornaments of lace, paper and other festive materials were used to reflect the marvelous talents and varying interests of their makers. As more decorations eventually made their way to Christmas trees in the UK, it became increasingly difficult to see the branches of the evergreen underneath.

Decorating_the_Christmas_treeUp until the 19th century, Christmas trees had been decorated by creative family and friends. In the latter part of the 19th century, however, numerous Germans began to create more intricate ornaments and they soon began being mass produced. Long known for its fabulous glass creations, Lauscha quickly became the center of the glass ornament industry in Germany. Initially, ornaments that resembled fruits, nuts and other edible items were popular, but before lone the industry began to manufacture ornaments in the shape of hearts, stars and many of the other festive shapes that once had been made out of cookies

Before long, the talented glass blowers of Lauscha began creating magnificent depictions of children, saints, famous people, animals and other creative designs to be used as Christmas ornaments. As other countries grew more familiar with the beautiful ornaments from Germany, they began importing them during the holiday season. Eventually, other types of tradesmen realized the earning potential of creating unique ornaments, and they started creating them from other materials such as tin, wood, and eventually plastic. These days, Christmas trees all over the world are decorated with magnificent ornaments made from fabric, tin, glass, wood, plastic and other materials, and electric lights (instead of the previously used candles) add a warm glow to holiday celebrations every year.