Christmas Tree Decorations & Seasonal Family Traditions

How old is your earliest Christmas tree decoration? What can you share about it? How many of your decorations are home-made, and by who?

It is an annual event that many of us enjoy – hauling out the Christmas decorations, lights and more.  Do you rediscover a treasure trove of cute memories in your boxes?  I know that I do!

Christmas Tree Ornaments

This glass and wire hanging fir comb (pine cone) is a sole-survivor from our family home at 54 Portobello Grove, in Portchester, Hampshire, England. It dates to around the 1950s. I was particularly fond of it, because it was blue (an unusual colour for Christmas at the time), and it is also snow-covered, hence it landed in my personal collection. We saw some snow when in my younger years in Southern England, but not nearly as much as we enjoy here in Ontario, Canada.  This item, was the only early glass ornament to survive when in 1997, our tree fell onto our ceramic floor.

How many decorations on your tree have been made by your children/grandchildren?  Isn’t it lovely to revisit the memories – helping children create them, assisting with school class projects and more?

The Pickle

Does your Christmas tree have a pickle ornament? Over the last few years, I have seen several versions for sale in the stores. It has become a new tradition for some of our family households. The story goes….. the pickle is hidden among the tree decorations late on Christmas eve…. when the children visit the tree on Christmas morning, their first task is to find the pickle. This aim is to encourage them to really look at the various tree ornaments…. appreciate their origins, the history and traditions, before diving into gifts and presents.  A lovely sentiment, the Internet tells me the tradition originated in Germany, and the glass ornaments were originally imported from Germany by F W Woolworth in the 1880s.

Glitter on Christmas Cards

Many cards sparkle with glitter –  but I didn’t understand the true significance of this until moving to Canada, when, on a crisp cold winter’s day, I saw the snow outside glistening  in the sunlight.  New to me too were sun-dogs (or sun halos), and the hoar frost – who knew?

Cake Decorations

Christmas cake, with snow-effect royal icing and a layer of marzipan beneath – is a strong tradition in my family. Maybe it’s a British thing?  As I grew up, it was a ‘whole family affair’ to prepare, bake and decorate the cake. Just a handful of my family’s original decorations have survived from various eras….. they are easily broken and damaged when stuck in the ‘snow’ or washed clean! The wood and wire fir tree has seen better days, and no longer healthy to use!

Others which didn’t survive, were the red and gold paper frills, to go around the cake, wooden Santa, a swinging public house sign staying “Brickwoods”, an earlier set of reindeer and Santa’s sleigh.

The newest addition to this group is the skier, which came from a birthday cake brought from England, by friends, on a 1985 ski trip to Yugoslavia.

What traditions and items in your home that prompt fond memories at this time of year?