How Christmas Ornaments Originated

How Christmas Ornaments Originated

The snow is gently cascading to the ground. The pot of water on the stovetop whistles, signifying it’s ready to be used for rich hot chocolate. Your children are running into the living room, laughing and playing while singing (ahem, shouting) choruses of “Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer.”

OK, so maybe it’s not quite that idyllic — but you can’t deny you’re filled with cheer at the prospect of the upcoming festivities (and the impending candy, cookies, and treats galore aren’t too bad either).

As you transition into this holiday season by hanging modern Christmas ornaments, classy Christmas decorations, or rustic holiday decor, have you found yourself wondering how Christmas ornaments even got their start on trees? We’re here to fill you in on the matter. Our blog today will explore the history behind those festive baubles, tinsels, stars, and more, and, of course, you can always shop for Christmas decorations with Gigi Seasons. We’re here for all of your decor needs — from Christmas design ideas to high-end Christmas decorations to stockings for your favorite furry friends.

Early 1800s

This is the earliest we know of for decorations festooning Christmas trees, though who really knows for sure (besides Saint Nicholas, of course)? These trees brought into Germans’ homes were decorated with fruit (primarily apples), along with white candy canes and pastries formed into hearts, flowers, and stars. Again, this isn’t certain, but supposedly these fruits and treats, along with the tree itself, symbolized the belief and faith that life and renewal would return come spring.

Other fruits were slowly added to the decor, along with paper streamers or shiny metal foil. Gingerbread cookies started to be seen on Christmas trees as well, which would also be baked into the shape of fruits, hearts, angels, stars, and, of course, bells.

The tradition spread outward from Germany, and many different Christmas decorations were suddenly implemented: lace, small presents, and strands of popcorn, cranberries, yarn, or thread abounded on indoor evergreens. It was a labor of love, so to speak, and the decor was far from modern Christmas tree decorations online today.


The mountain village of Lauscha, in Thuringia, Germany, put itself on the map with the advent of glass ornaments. Lauscha — to this day — is known for its glassblowing and glass Christmas ornaments. These rustic tree ornaments benefited from color, detail, and sophistication, and the workers in Lauscha soon made an industry out of creating ornaments for people the world over.

Late 1800s

The Christmas decor industry took off! It may not be the same as a viral Christmas internet sensation today, but it was certainly the equivalent for the time. American mass merchandisers imported German glass ornaments beginning in the 1880s, and the rest is history.

By this point, though, glass was certainly not the only option for classy Christmas tree decorations. Dresdens and tinware were also popular from Germany, and lacy, colorful, gaudy ornaments had their heyday as well.   


In America, World War I caused halted shipments and productions from Germany. Shipment began soon after the war ended, but American manufacturers then began production in their own country. A light bulb manufacturer took on the challenge with gusto, and he was widely successful. World War II limited the amount of metal that could be used (for, say, the metal cap and hook on the ornament or to give the ornament its metallic shine), so people would substitute with common household materials when materials were scarce.


What Christmas ornament can you not get today? The industry is alive and thriving, and your options are seemingly endless. Personalized ornaments, fancy Christmas ornaments, rustic tree ornaments, throwback ornaments, and even traditional German glass ornaments — along with many others — can all adorn your Christmas tree this year.

Whether you’re interested in a rustichic, bougie, or boho lodge Christmas theme — or your own personal spin to meet your tastes — Gigi Seasons is for you. We love all things Christmas, and our selection certainly shows that. Get Christmas design ideas from us today when you shop our collection; we have Christmas decor for throughout your home that will truly represent your style. One of the best parts? You can relax at home, drinking your hot chocolate, while you order Christmas decorations online.