How Lovely Are Thy Branches: Fanciful Christmas Ornaments to Dress Up Your Tree This Season
For some, Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year, but for most of us, it’s the busiest, most stressful period when you have to juggle so many tasks at work, do your Christmas shopping and organise the Christmas dinner. However, we can all agree that one of the best things about Christmas is that you can decorate your home with lovely ornaments and portray the Christmas spirit the way you like it.
It’s one of the most cherished holiday traditions around the world and each year family members gather together and pull out boxes of Christmas ornaments and start decorating the Christmas tree together. It’s a nice way to keep the tradition passed down from generation to generation and make memories together.
A Short History of the Christmas Tree Decorating Tradition
Many years ago, people in Germany were adding fruits and nuts to trees when the leaves fell off. It was a way to symbolise the promise of spring to come and that’s how decorating a tree for Christmas started. Over time, the idea of decorating a tree indoors started becoming more and more popular in Germany, and fir trees were adorned with nuts, fruits, paper roses and candles inside the houses.
It didn’t take much until this tradition spread throughout Europe and early ornaments were made of different items, from fruits, like apples to nuts, cranberries, strings of popcorn, metal foil, paper streamers and candles. Today you can find a wide selection of Christmas ornaments to decorate your tree with and make your home all festive and bright. But how did these ornaments become so popular?
The Muller family first began offering their hand-blown glass ornaments for sale around Christmas in 1596. These ornaments were known as baubles and each one of them had a different, but special meaning. A house ornament symbolised family shelter, safety and protection, while an angel ornament was a symbol of asking God for guidance. A bird ornament was reflecting happiness and joy, while a rabbit was a symbol of nature and peace.
In England, decorating a Christmas tree became very popular during the reign of Queen Victoria. And today, the modern usage of ornaments for Christmas has come to represent the interests of each family individually.
Traditional, yet Still Popular Ornaments for Christmas Trees
For many, decorating the Christmas tree is the best part of the holiday. But, there are so many ornaments associated with the festive season, and very often you may find yourself hanging the same decorations over and over again. You don’t have to necessarily change the type of ornaments, but you can always buy new ones and refresh the look of your Christmas tree. Here are some of the most traditional, but always popular ornaments used for decorating the Christmas tree and portraying the Christmas spirit brightly and beautifully.
Glass Ball Ornaments: The Staple
The most traditional, classic Christmas ornament is the ball ornament. The baubles’ round shape originates from the shape of the original decorating material, which was apple and nuts. You can easily create a theme for your Christmas tree using ball ornaments in the same colour or mixing two or more colours, depending on what suits your taste and preferences.
Shaped Glass Ornaments: The Magic
There are a wide variety of shaped glass ornaments you can choose from. Some are shaped into animals, while others are shaped into adorable symbols. They are enchanting to view and can help you make magical decorations for your Christmas tree.
The Christmas Star: The Must-Have
The star we see on top of Christmas trees and hung on branches has religious origins. When Jesus was born, the three wise men saw an unusual star in the sky, which lead them to the newborn baby in Bethlehem. Today, the star that we use to decorate our Christmas trees symbolises the Star of Bethlehem.
Angels: The Symbol
Beautiful, ornate angels are often used to decorate the top of the Christmas tree or hang them mixed with other ornaments. They may represent the angel Gabriel who told Mary that she would give birth to Jesus or the idea of angels watching us and protecting us.
In case you have a special ornament that you are not sure where to put on your Christmas tree, you can make a special place for it in another area of your home. You can place it on a side table or use it as a table decoration for your Christmas dinner. Whatever you opt for, your ornament stand can easily become a beautiful centrepiece in the room.
Where and How to Hang Your Ornaments
There is no right or wrong way to decorate your Christmas tree, the hallway, the living room, the garden or the front porch. The idea is to create a look and ambience that you like. Choosing the right ornaments can be a challenging task, but decorating with them is a lot of fun.
It’s a good idea to hang your ornaments on the Christmas tree after you have strung and lit the lights, so you can get an idea of how much space is needed between each one of them and the effect they create. As a rule of thumb, you should hang 10 to 12 ornaments for every foot of tree height.
For a minimalist look, you can use fewer, but if you want to overload your room with Christmas joy, then you can even use more. Anyway, make sure to space them around, to create a balanced look for your Christmas tree.
The easiest way to begin is to randomly hang ornaments, fill in some gaps and adjust as needed. Ornaments of the same size or colour clustered together may overwhelm the look of your Christmas tree. Always put precious and fragile ornaments near the top of the tree, so your kids and/or pets will not be able to reach them. Arrange your decorations from the top of the tree towards the bottom.
Once you are done, make yourself some tea, get the Christmas cookies and enjoy your beautiful tree.