During the 7th or 8th century, a brave monk, now known to us as Saint Boniface arrived in Germany to share the Christian message. As he preached from village to village, he would eventually impact the world for many centuries to come.
He encouraged the decorating of nearby Fir trees to celebrate the birth of Christ. He said that the triangular shape of the Fir tree represented the Holy Trinity – God, Jesus the son and the Holy Spirit.
Completely taken with the idea, the villagers used white candles in what would be the first celebration of the Christmas tree.
In 1510, roses began to accompany the candles on the Firs. The rose was known in those days to represent the Virgin Mary. By the 1600’s, these traditions had crept into France. The French took it a step further by bringing the actual Fir tree indoors. The real rose was replaced by a paper imposter and sweets and nuts took their place on the tree.
The decorating of the Christmas tree differed from family to family as each household made their own décor. Painted egg shells and even cookies were a popular choice. It was in 1610 when tinsel first made an appearance and amazingly enough was made from real silver.
It would take another couple of centuries for the Christmas tradition to arrive in England and America. The British made use of glass beads and hand-sewn snowflakes whereas the Americans would hang apples – fruit symbolizing new life and spring – on theirs along with paper or popcorn streamers.
In 1880, Christmas decorations hit the shop shelves in Germany. The Germans become well known for their fine glass ornaments in the shape of animals and toys. Ten years later, when these German exports hit America, millions of dollars were made.
Around this time, coloured ornaments such as embossed paper and pressed tin proved popular. These were the humble beginnings of Christmas balls or baubles.
By 1935, this craze has spend so far around the world that Japan and the Czech Republic were leading the way in producing mass Christmas decorations!