The Origin of Ornaments
People everywhere love ornaments! The dazzling colors, sparkling finishes, and intricate details delight and fascinate young and old. No less fascinating is the back story about how all of these bangles, baubles and miniature beauties came to be such an integral part of the holiday landscape.
The first known Christmas ornaments were bright red apples, which is likely the original source of the red and green Christmas color connection still widely recognized today. Although somewhat speculative, it is commonly believed that apples were used as ornaments because of their relation to the winter solstice and its celebrations. Food was scarce during the harsh winter months, and stored up apples (which were easier to grow and store than many other fruits) played a big role in the feasts that celebrated the solstice, when farmers could begin to look forward to the next planting season.
After that first original Christmas tree with its shiny red apple ornaments, changes were introduced that would ultimately usher in centuries of transformation. Initially the lineup of ornaments was expanded to include nuts, cheeses and candles. Inspired by the way the candles reflected in the shiny apples, crafty innovators began gilding the apples and nuts with gold and silver, catering specifically to the elite.
As gilded ornaments increased in popularity, the selection of items used as ornaments also began to include small toys and sweets. Although the exact date is unknown, German craftsmen began making hollow clay molds of the toys, fruit and sweets that adorned the Christmas tree and used them to make blown glass replicas. Not long after, again inspired by the dancing reflections of the candlelight, they introduced silvering into the glass, and began hand-painting the silvery glass ornaments.
The selection of shapes grew over the years, but the European process of making hand-blown silvered glass remained the standard in ornament creation for many years. It wasn’t until the 1800’s that the creation of Christmas ornaments would come into its own as a unique art form, and begin to gain world-wide popularity.
Since the “ornament renaissance” of the 1800’s, a variety of exquisite ornament makers have gained both popularity and reputation for their amazing craftsmanship, and continued to broaden the scope of ornament creation and selection, and the variety of materials used to make them.
Fast forward to 2014…
Today you can find just about any type of ornament imaginable. Forward-thinking Christmas decorators can create themed trees—anything from a safari theme to a “Legends of Hollywood” theme—and find plenty of ornaments to complete their creation.
One of the best places to find everything that you’re looking for is at Ornaments.com. Our selection of literally thousands of ornament styles, themes, collectibles and materials is enough to keep you decorating year round. And to think…we owe it all to those first imaginative ancestors that liked the way the apples shined in the candlelight.
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