Where Did All These Christmas Decorations Come From?
We love them; we buy truckloads of them every holiday season. So where did all the Christmas decorations come from? Here are some facts about a few Christmas decorations that might amaze you.
The Christmas Decoration of Stockings
The Christmas Decoration of Stockings. In medieval times, St. Nicholas's Day was celebrated on December 6th. Tradition says that on St. Nicholas Eve, St. Nicholas would drop down the chimney to fill up children's stockings and shoes with treats-and thus the stocking became a familiar Christmas decoration. Today's Christmas traditions are similar. Each child hangs a stocking over the fireplace where Santa will enter Christmas Eve and fill them with candy and presents.
Electric Christmas Lights are a recent Christmas Decoration.
Did you know that Thomas Edison invented the first electric Christmas lights? Who would have thought that he would have invented one of our most beloved Christmas decorations? It is said that Edward Johnson, the vice president of Edison's company, decided to adorn his Christmas tree with eighty red, white, and blue bulbs. And presto! The Christmas decoration of Christmas lights was born!
Christmas Trees are the Ultimate Christmas Decoration.
St. Boniface, born in 680 A.D., is often credited with the fir tree's being associated with the Christmas celebration." Christmas tradition says that he happened upon a human sacrifice that was taking place at the foot of an oak tree. In anger, he felled the tree with an axe. In the ruins of the great oak was a single fir tree. He pointed to the fir and told the idolaters that they should cease their wicked ways and only worship Christ, the bringer of life "ever green." The Germans probably originated and popularized the Christmas tree. The earliest written record of an evergreen tree being decorated for Christmas is 1521. Today, the Christmas tree, or "Tannenbaum" is still a symbol of peace and eternal life-the central Christmas decoration.
Christmas Cards are a Cheery Christmas Decoration.
Did you know that the first Christmas card was probably made in 1843 at the request of Sir Henry Cole? But it was a Christmas decoration that had a controversial beginning. It turns out that Cole's Christmas card was a disaster. It contained a middle panel of a family--with a child!-- sipping wine together while enjoying each another's company. A child drinking wine! No way would the public condone such a thing. According to Christmas tradition, Cole's Christmas card was so controversial that it drew public attention and became an instant hit. Without the negative publicity, Christmas cards might have become a favorite Christmas decoration. Aren't we glad they did?
The Poinsettia is a Beautiful Christmas Decoration.
The poinsettia has become the Christmas flower. The star of the leaf of this lovely Christmas decoration is said to represent the star that stood over the Christ Child. Likewise, the red flower signifies the blood that Christ shed for each of us.
The Wreath is an Old Christmas Decoration.
The symbolism of the wreath has popular for centuries. In this Christmas decoration, the circle or ring shape is said to be symbolic of eternity or eternal life, because the shape has no beginning or end. In ancient Rome, this symbol became so powerful that people used decorative wreaths as a sign of victory. Some believe that this is where the Christmas decoration of wreaths on doors came from. The Christmas decoration of the Advent Wreath is unique. From Germany, the ancient use of the Advent Wreath spread to other parts of the world. The Advent Wreath is a Christmas decoration made of four violet or rose candles in a circle of evergreens with a fifth candle in the middle. Each day at home, the candles are lighted before the evening meal, one candle for the first week, and then another each succeeding week until December 25th. The last candle is the middle candle of the wreath. The lighting of this candle takes place on Christmas Eve and represents the birth of Jesus Christ, the light that illuminates a dark world. A beautiful and highly symbolic Christmas decoration!
Christmas Candles...a Christmas Decoration we cannot do without.
The Christmas decoration of Christmas candles placed in windows dates from the beginning of Christianity. Candles in medieval times were often lit on Christmas Eve to symbolize Christ, the light of the world. These Christmas decorations were supposed to burn throughout the night to mark the path to the Nativity-in other words, lighting the way for Mary and Joseph. This ancient custom continues today in European countries such as France, England, Ireland and Denmark. Many people still place these Christmas decorations in each front window of their houses as a welcoming symbol of friendship.
Christmas Bells--Another Ancient Christmas Decoration.
Christmas bells might pre-date Christianity by centuries. In the book of Exodus, Moses wrote, "Aaron [the High Priest] must wear it [bells] when he ministers. The sound of the bells will be heard when he enters the Holy Place before the LORD and when he comes out, so that he will not die." The Christmas decoration of bells has always produced joy and excitement. Bells were used in religious services long before Jesus' birth.
Since then, these Christmas decorations have been in churches in every land ringing out the glad tidings of great joy of the coming of the Lord. According to some Christmas traditions, bells were supposed to ring on Christmas Eve for an entire hour before midnight as if to warn the powers of darkness of the approaching birth of the Savior. Then, right at midnight, the bells' message would change to a joyous peal, ringing out the news that Christ is born!
The Christmas Decoration of Ornaments.
Did you know that Christmas ornaments had their origin in props for religious theatrical plays about Adam and Eve? These ancestors to our modern-day Christmas decorations were initially apples hung on the Paradise Tree to represent our first parents' expulsion from the Garden of Eden. Later, prop designers hung wafers on the Paradise Tree to represent Christ's redeeming sacrifice. But the Germans were the ones who really made ornaments a favorite Christmas decoration. Germans made ornaments of cookies, bread, nuts and other delicious foods. In fact, the German Christmas tree was decorated with so many sweets it was nicknamed the "sugar tree."
Over time, other Christmas decorations such as small gifts filled the tree. When German immigrants arrived in America, they brought with them their Christmas decoration traditions with them, and the idea of ornaments on trees caught on fast. Later, these Christmas decorations got a big boost when F.W. Woolworth reluctantly began selling ornaments one Christmas and sold out in two days. That remarkable success convinced him of the Christmas decorations' profitability, and he began traveling to Germany to stock his stores with ornaments each season.
Candy Canes are a Delicious Christmas Decoration.
We love their sweet flavor, but the Christmas decoration of candy canes goes back 2,000 years. This Christmas decoration is linked to the shepherds' staff. In fact, Christmas tradition states that the candy cane was created to honor Jesus. If the candy is held upright, it clearly has the shape of a shepherd's staff, and Christ is the Good Shepherd who always watches over his sheep. If the candy is turned upside down, it becomes the letter "J" for Jesus.
And this Christmas decoration has more meanings. The candy cane's stripes symbolize the stripes, or whipping, that Christ received before He was crucified. The candy cane was made with red stripes, to represent the blood of Jesus that washed away our sins, and white stripes representing Christ's ability to make us pure as snow.
Although there are many varieties of candy canes today, they are not true candy canes unless they are red and white and thus tell the story of Jesus.
The Nativity Scene is an Enduring Christmas Decoration.
No Christmas decoration better visualizes the scriptural account of Christ's birth than the nativity scene. These Christmas decorations can be traced back to the 4th century A.D. Eight hundred years later St. Francis of Assisi popularized the nativity scene. He is said to have constructed a life-sized manger scene with live animals. In those early years, the Christmas decoration of nativity scenes was simple, focusing on the baby Jesus Christ and His mother Mary. Joseph was added later, as were the three wise men.
Over time, this Christmas decoration became more elaborate; some nativity scenes contained hundreds of figurines. Since those early days, nativity scenes have grown in popularity. Formerly, you could only admire these Christmas decorations in a church setting, a town square or a palace. Now, you can find nativity scenes everywhere-you may even have one of your own.
Fruit as a Christmas Decoration
Fruit has long been associated with Christmas and used as a Christmas decoration. In Europe fruits, nuts and gingerbread were popular Christmas gifts. In fact, in Europe and Britain, early Christmas decorations for Christmas trees were apples, hard pears and nuts. But fruit as a Christmas decoration had to be used sparingly because of scarcity and rotting; only locally grown and plentiful fruits could be used as Christmas decorations, and those usually became part of the Christmas feast.