The best of all gifts around any Christmas tree: the presence of a happy family all wrapped up in each other. ~Burton Hillis
Dear Kindred Spirits!
It’s romantic December, time to unwrap a trove of Christmas treasures. Decorations are just one of the ways to bring the beauty and wonder of the Christmas season into our homes. And, when it comes to the time-honoured tradition of trimming the tree, I permit myself to indulge – it is one of this season’s greatest pleasures.
Collecting beautiful Christmas ornaments and treasures is a year-round pursuit. In our travels over the years, my husband and I try and visit antiques malls and Christmas shoppes. I’m continuously on the hunt for beautiful ornaments to adorn the boughs of our magical Christmas tree. My tree ornaments are among the most personal things I own. They remind me of travel holidays, tradition and past Christmases together. Sandwiched between layers upon layers of white tissue paper, they rest in special boxes. And, it seems, the unpacking and re-packing of the decorations has become an inherent ritual of this season of comfort and joy.
DID YOU KNOW?! The ornaments were first sold by Woolworth’s around 1880?
Often entire German families were involved in preparing the special Christmas ornaments for sale. The father and oldest son often did the glassblowing. The mother and younger children would decorate and laquer each glass figure before adding the hangers. The mother would carefully pack the family’s week’s work – perhaps as many as a thousand or more glass figures – and deliver them to the wholesaler.
Because the ornaments were so fragile, few survive today. A rare treasure can sometimes be found at antiques markets or on e-bay and sell for $200 plus.
Queen Victoria and her beloved German Prince Albert introduced Christmas trees with the intricate ornaments to England in 1840. Glass ornaments, decorative beads, paper baskets with sugared almonds and hot air balloons adorned the trees.
Germany dominated glass ornament production until 1939. The Second World War caused the closure of glassblowing factories around the country. By the time Europe finally recovered from the war, American manufacturers had already captured the domestic market with the production of cheaper ornaments with new technologies.
Post-war America demonstrated a preference for uniform, single-colour balls over the unique and more interesting, and often irregular hand-blown German-made ornaments.
In recent years, demand seems to be again growing for many of the molds and the old techniques once used by German glassblowers as collectors long for historically accurate Christmas ornaments.
DID YOU KNOW? Early Christmas trees were typically trimmed with real candles, wafers, gingerbread cookies, fruit, candy, as well as paper flowers and tinsels fashioned from tin and silver.
A glassblower in Lauscha decided to create a unique collection of small glass balls to hang on his family’s tree. And, within only a matter of years, glassblowers in Lauscha (a district long recognized for the quality of its glass) became a hub for making tree ornaments, and they were filling orders for glass balls by the thousands, and also for hollow glass ornaments either molded or free-blown into the shapes of pinecones, fruit, flowers, animals and birds.
I hope you enjoy the photos of some of the ornaments that hang from our tree in our living room. It looks a little different this season. In a previous post, photos showed the room painted a cozy shade of brown. It’s now a warm winter white…
I’ve decorated four trees this year (two full size and two about 4 1/2 feet high in urns on tabletops). The photos below are of the tree in our living room glammed up with pink, gold and silver themed ornaments…
Thanks for dropping in. I know you’re all busy as bees with your Christmas preparations. I hope, though, you will manage to find a moment to come back later this week when I will be sharing some photos of the house tour and tea that we hosted yesterday. Until then…
My idea of Christmas, whether old-fashioned or modern, is very simple: loving others. Come to think of it, why do we have to wait for Christmas to do that?”~ Bob Hope, American film actor and comedian.
The perfect Christmas tree? All Christmas trees are perfect!”
~ Charles N. Barnard, American author, travel writer
Even as an adult I find it difficult to sleep on Christmas Eve. Yuletide excitement is a potent caffeine, no matter your age. ~Carrie Latet
I love my pink-themed tree. Hmmm…I just may leave it up until Valentine’s Day!
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