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The history of Christmas Ornaments

Christmas ornaments are decorations usually made of glass, metal, wood, or ceramics that are used to festoon a Christmas tree. Ornaments take many different forms, from a simple round ball to highly artistic designs. Ornaments are almost always reused year after year rather than purchased annually, and family collections often contain a combination of commercially produced ornaments and decorations created by family members. Such collections are often passed on and augmented from generation to generation.

Santa Claus is a commonly used figure. Candy canes, fruit, animals, snowmen, angels and snowflake images are also popular choices.

Lucretia P. Hale’s story “The Peterkins’ Christmas-Tree” offers a short catalog of the sorts of ornaments used in the 1870s:

There was every kind of gilt hanging-thing, from gilt pea-pods to butterflies on springs. There were shining flags and lanterns, and bird-cages, and nests with birds sitting on them, baskets of fruit, gilt apples, and bunches of grapes.

The modern-day mold-blown colored glass Christmas ornament was invented in the small German town of Lauscha in the mid-19th century

The Christmas Bauble 

A bauble is a spherical decoration commonly used to adorn Christmas trees. The bauble is one of the most popular Christmas ornament designs, and they have been in production since 1847. Baubles can have various designs on them, from “baby’s first Christmas” to a favourite sports team to a simple shiny sphere of a single colour.

Invention

The first decorated trees were adorned with apples, white candy canes and pastries in the shapes of stars, hearts and flowers. Glass baubles were first made in Lauscha, Germany  by Hans Greiner (1550-1609) who produced garlands of glass beads and tin figures that could be hung on trees. The popularity of these decorations grew into the production of glass figures made by highly skilled artisans with clay  molds.

The artisans heated a glass tube over a flame, then inserted the tube into a clay mold, blowing the heated glass to expand into the shape of the mold. The original ornaments were only in the shape of fruits and nuts.

After the glass cooled, a silver nitrate solution was swirled into it, a silvering technique developed in the 1850s by Justus von Liebig.  After the nitrate solution dried, the ornament was hand-painted and topped with a cap and hook.

Modern baubles

Although glass baubles are still produced, as expensive good quality ornaments often found at markets, baubles are now frequently made from plastic and available worldwide in a huge variety of shapes, colors and designs. There are a large number of manufacturers producing sophisticated Christmas glass ornaments in Poland and millions of glass blown Christmas ornaments are made year-round in Tlalpujahua,  , Michoacan, Mexico and exported to Spain, New Zealand and France

Verano Home & Gifts Ltd. are an Irish Wholesale business that specialise in Christmas giftware, Verano brand glassware, spring and summer seasonal ranges and high quality silk flowers to trade only.