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Maintain Tradition With German Christmas Decorations

Updated on March 22, 2011

German Christmas decorations are steeped in tradition. And thanks to the glassblowers hundreds of years ago in Germany, glassblowing evolved into making glass ornaments and decorations. In the mid to late nineteenth century, Germany began selling them all over Europe. German Christmas decorations did not really catch on in the United States until German immigrants brought some over from Europe for their own Christmas traditions.

Glass ornaments are the most popular of today's German Christmas decorations. One glass ornament in particular is very interesting. It is a pickle! Pickles were used as common German Christmas decorations on the Christmas tree. The legend of the pickle states that when decorating the tree, you must hang the pickle last and hide it among the Christmas tree branches. On Christmas Day, the first kid to find the pickle would get a special blessing for the coming New Year and an extra present.

Beautiful German Christmas Pickles
Beautiful German Christmas Pickles

Other popular German Christmas decorations are special glass ornaments. In old world Germany, it was customary to bestow on a new bride Christmas heirloom wedding ornaments. Giving these ornaments to a bride symbolized your good wishes to the newlywed couple and the hope that their home would be healthy and happy. Often, each of these ornaments has special meaning. For instance, the glass pine cone ornament stood for fertility and an angel was representative of the guidance of Gods hand in your home and marriage. Jolly Santa Claus portrayed kindness and a rabbit symbolized faith and hope for the marriage.

You can count tinsel as more of the German Christmas decorations to have made it to the United States. Originally, tinsel was made from real silver. Silver was pressed flat into sheets then thin strips were cut. Since silver tarnished easily, other materials were experimented with like tin, pewter and even aluminum. Today, we are accustomed to the stringy silver plastic foil variety.

Not only do we have Germans to thank for the beautiful glass ornaments and tinsel, but also the Christmas tree itself, the ultimate in German Christmas decorations! German immigrants brought over the tradition to the United States a few hundred years ago. A few hundred years ago, child saw the Christmas tree as magic. They were not allowed to see the tree until just a day or two before Christmas. German Christmas decorations that adorned the tree were often edible treats that the kids could consume on Christmas Day like shaped sugar cookies hung on ribbon, fruit, nuts and special family treasured keepsakes like toy trains and angels. Of course, there were lights or candles to illuminate the tree as well.

Today, German Christmas decorations are valuable mementos. The glass ornaments you buy today may have the Made in China label on them, but just remember that it was Germany who created the beautiful tradition of these glass ornaments. If you are helping decorate the tree this year, look at those old vintage looking glass ornaments carefully. Chances are you may see the tiny signature of the artist of created those German Christmas decorations so long ago.


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