Five Interesting Facts About Christmas Decorations
Five Interesting Facts About Christmas Decorations
By Mike Searles Staff

There was something about tinsel in the 1960s.

It was 'different' to the tinsel of today.

The silver tinsel we decorated our Christmas tree with 50 years ago had a certain feel to it.

Do you remember?

It seemed heavy to handle. Much heavier than today's shiny plastic tinsel.

I can also remember the tiny slithers of old-style tinsel coming off the heavy strands and sticking to our hands and clothing.

Plus it had its own unique smell - something that made Christmas tree decorating strangely special.

Here's some interesting facts I found about tinsel and other Christmas decorations.

1. Tinsel

The origins of tinsel has been traced back to the early 1600s in Germany. The tinsel of 400 years ago was nothing like the plastic tinsel we use today. The first tinsel was made from shredded silver. Real silver.

Tinsel makers hammered the silver until flat and then cut it into thin strips.

When supply could not keep up with demand the tinsel makers invented machines to help increase production.

Later versions of tinsel were made with a tin and lead combination. But this proved to be too heavy. So we have the Brits to thank for the light silver sparkly tinsel we enjoy today.

2. Christmas Tree

Our Australian summer Christmas tree of the 1960s was purchased from the local greengrocer. Today we have dedicated Christmas tree farms where families make it a special occasion to visit the farm to select and cut down their own tree.

There's a lack of recorded history as to when fir and pine trees were first used as Christmas trees. The general consensus is that it began about 1000 years ago in Northern Europe. Many early Christmas trees would be hung upside down from the ceiling using chains (hung from chandeliers or lighting hooks).

Plastic unfold-and-stand-up trees are very popular today for their convenience, and lack of a need to dispose of a pine or fir tree.

3. Christmas Lights

Oh, those eye-catching lights!

In Victorian times, the tree would have been decorated with candles to represent stars.

In many parts of Europe, candles are still used to decorate Christmas trees.

The first electric powered Christmas lights were invented by American, Ralph Morris back in 1895. Interestingly the lights you probably use today are not all that different to the original Morris design of 123 years ago.

4. Baubles

Here's an interesting fact you may not know.

American retailer F.W. Woolworth made his fortune by importing baubles into the US in 1880. Just ten years later he was reportedly selling $25 million worth a year.

Baubles were first invented in Germany, by Hans Greiner, who first manufactured them in the late 1840s. The first baubles were fruit and nut shaped glass, eventually turning into a more spherical shape.

Britain’s Queen Victoria was said to be quite taken with the tradition of baubles and brought them from Germany to Europe in the mid to late 1800s.

I distinctly remember getting into trouble as a kid for rough-handling the brittle baubles we used in the 1960s.

Can you recall how they would easily shatter into tiny pieces? Today we have the plastic versions. They last longer and they're cheaper to buy compared to the old 'glass' variety.

5. Miscellaneous Decorations

Just about anything goes.

You see more home-made and art-and-craft style decorations today. I love them! My two eldest daughters, both aged in the thirties and with young children, enjoy making their own Christmas decorations.

Some items being turned into decorations by crafty type people today are wine corks, paper cups, paint chips (paint color sample charts), popsicle sticks, and paper plates.

With a bit of craft paint, colored glitter and imagination it is amazing what can be created.

Or take your pick from manufactured plastic variations of reindeers, stars, angels, fruit, butterflies, birds and gingerbread men.

By the way - what is your family's choice for topping your Christmas tree each year?

Star or angel?

Whether star, angel, or something specially private - I hope it helps to bring good cheer into your home this festive season.

A very Merry Christmas to you and all readers.



About the writer:

Mike Searles is a baby boomer, grandfather, and freelance copywriter at

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