Home > CHRISTMAS > Ornaments of Wonder…

Ornaments of Wonder…

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!

I have some lovely NOEL tea steeping in my Portmeiron Holly and Ivy teapot. Every cuppa just tastes so wonderful when poured from a beautiful teapot, doesn’t it?!  Would you like some?!

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.

Many of us have special decorations and treasures, saved from one year to the next, and passed down through the years from one generation to the next.

I have a preference for trims of glitter and frost and sparkle. We have often found glamourous ornaments to add to our collection and bring meaning to our tree.
There are perhaps no ornaments today, though, that can rival those made in the first half of the 20th Century by talented German glassblowers.  All kinds of shapes (including animals and figurines) were produced in large quantities for export to North American markets.


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…

Merry wishes,

Linda

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!

I am joining 504 Main for Tickled Pink and How Sweet the Sound for Pink Saturday! Brew yourself a cuppa cause you’re going to be browsing awhile…

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  1. 2011/12/13 at 7:04 pm

    Hi Linda,
    I enjoyed reading the history of the tree ornaments. You certainly have collected some beautiful ones for your trees.
    I am really looking forward to the tour coming soon!

    Hope you have some time to relax now and enjoy it all!

    Carolyn

  2. David R. Kelly
    2011/12/16 at 7:29 pm

    Beautiful tree and photos.

  3. 2011/12/17 at 12:45 am

    What a beautiful post. I love your ornaments!

    Judy

  4. 2011/12/17 at 1:05 am

    Beautiful, beautiful ornaments! And thanks for the history, I really enjoyed it.
    Happy Pink Saturday.
    ~Marti

  5. 2011/12/17 at 1:15 am

    Lovely captures of your beautiful decors!

    Pink at my page, please come and see. Have a wonderful holiday from my family to yours!

  6. 2011/12/18 at 4:06 pm

    Your tree and ornaments are gorgeous! It’s really a beauty! Thank you for linking to the Christmas Tree Party at 2805!

  7. 2011/12/20 at 11:06 am

    Your tree and ornaments are gorgeous! Piled on high and deep just like I love! Each ornament, (especially those cherubs and that owl!!!) are fabulous! Do you make bunches and then put them on, or do you hang each one individually? It is all gorgeous! Thanks so much for sharing it at “What’s It Wednesday”, it was a treat having you. Please feel free to link up again this week!

    Hugs,
    Patti

    • 2011/12/20 at 7:05 pm

      Merry Greetings, Patti!

      Oh, thank you tons for your beautiful comments. You made my day! Lol

      To answer your questions about hanging the ornaments, I normally do the flocked tree with the cherubs (handmade by my friend Jeanie) as shown in the post by hanging all the ornaments one by one just because they are so delicate. I hang the larger ones deeper within the branches and the slighter ones nearer toward the branch tips where they can be easily seen and appreciated, especially the cherubs – and there are all styles of these sweet faces that my friend has made for me through the years.

      There is second full-size tree in our TV room that is trimmed in all reds…when I decorate the ‘red tree’, I do actually string several ornaments together on a long piece of wire and then tie them on. This tree, too, is very full. I have a tabletop tree in the kitchen and another in a bedroom. The tree in the bedroom has only a few touches of special ornaments, so the tree itself can be appreciated. It looks as though it just came right out of the garden, and I could hardly bare to decorate it at all as I love the natural look, too. I just LOVE Christmas and enjoy indulging in the ornaments, though. They bring me so much pleasure.

      I’m glad you enjoyed the post. I’m new to bloggyland, and this is the first time I’ve signed up for the blog parties. I am really enjoying it, so thanks for the opportunity! I’ll be posting lots more pics very soon from my fundraiser “Christmas Tea, Tour and More” that my husband and I hosted in our home just over a week ago on December 11th, so stay tuned. 🙂

      Happy Christmas to you and yours,
      Linda

  8. 2011/12/21 at 3:55 pm

    Everything is just gorgeous! What beautiful ornaments!

    Thank you for sharing the season at Potpourri Friday! May you have a Merry Christmas and the Happiest of Holidays!

  9. 2012/01/07 at 10:34 pm

    Oh, the joy of visiting blogs on the weekend. Everything you see is gorgeous and sweet. I love it!

    Come see my PINK, when you get a chance. Have a great weekend!

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