History of Christmas Ornaments – Part 1
16 Friday Aug 2013
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Ever wonder about the History of Christmas Ornaments?
To enter someone’s – anyone’s – home at Christmastime and view their Christmas tree is to anticipate a story waiting to be told through their Christmas ornaments – if you’re willing to experience the story.
Wholly unique to that particular family, the tree might glimmer with antique, glass-blown wonders attached to dainty metal chains. It might feature miniature, hand-carved wooden figures from the Nativity scene, painted in painstaking detail. The tree might be festooned with flowers and garland amid a floating display of embroidered, blonde angels. Or it might proudly display the handiwork of little hands that arduously glued together criss-cross patterns of craft sticks and then scrawled in red crayon: “Merry Chrismuss, Mom! Luv, Jen, Chrismuss 2001.”
Even misspellings become a charming gaffe when they grace the splendor of a Christmas tree because in America, Christmas ornaments have come to depict every family’s story, with a nostalgic anecdote glittering behind each and every one.
Given our natural affinity for Christmas ornaments, we couldn’t help but wonder: How did Christmas ornaments become so ubiquitous in America? And for a country that celebrates the unique customs of so many ethnicities and religions, how did Christmas ornaments rise to the surface of our great melting pot to become a single and dominant source of family pride?
Welcome to the history of Christmas ornaments in America
In a seven-part “History of Christmas Ornaments” series, ChristmasOrnaments.com will reveal the answers to these questions as well as so many more. In fact, if we could, we would wrap our series in a big, red bow, for this package promises to inform and entertain you, inspire and surprise you and, we hope, infuse you with even greater enthusiasm and affection for those precious family heirlooms that you so proudly display each and every year amid a glittering display of light.
The North Star might have provided guidance in this undertaking – just as it did for the Three Wise Men. But we chose to leave religious lessons to the theologians and historians in favor of a more secular if not more well-rounded tale of the genesis and and propagation of Christmas ornaments in America.
Still, we couldn’t help but turn our gaze in an upward direction and right to another Christmas mainstay: the Christmas tree. After all, if necessity truly is the mother of invention, then Christmas ornaments owe their very existence to the emergence of the Christmas tree as a universal holiday presence.
Surprisingly, it took a long time for the tree to gain favor among Americans, especially when you consider that St. Boniface’s angry encounter with that oak tree took place in the eighth century and President Coolidge flipped the switch for the country’s first national tree-lighting ceremony in 1923.
Throughout those years and well after the Roaring Twenties, Christmas ornaments continued to evolve, influenced by such diverse factors as artisans in other countries – especially Germany – another world war and the shrewd mass marketing prowess of retailing powerhouses like F.W. Woolworth.
Charles Schulz, who knew a thing or two about pulling heartstrings through his “Peanuts” cartoon series, once said that “Christmas is a box of tree ornaments that have become part of the family.”
This is the tale of the remarkable history of Christmas ornaments in America, which in turn reveal every family’s unique and compelling story. We hope you join us on this fascinating journey – and maybe feel the pull of your own heartstrings along the way.
Stay tuned for Part 2 of our “History of Christmas Ornaments” series when we pay homage to the Christmas tree, realizing that no account of the history of Christmas ornaments would be complete without the medium that displays these artistic representations!