The Yuletide is a period of love, joy, good food and festive decorations. Now while some opt for the simplest of decorations to celebrate the occasion of Christ's birth, others go all the way in and try to even outdo the other homes in the neighborhood for reasons best known to each individual. There's the Christmas wreath for door posts, brightly colored lights and mistletoes are hung and evergreen trees like fir, spruce and pine are harvested by the dozen for the yearly buyers who do not prefer the artificial ones. All these decorations are considered important by some, trivial by others but nonetheless, they are outward manifestations of the joy and happiness we feel at this period. And prominent among these outward manifestations, is the decoration with Christmas ornaments. ...
Christmas ornaments (some prefer to call them bulbs or baubles) are decorations used to festoon a Christmas tree. They are made from different materials from wood to glass, and even metal. They also exists in different shapes and forms, from the simple blown, spun and molded glass baubles to artistic and intricate designs such as bells, candy canes, snowmen, Santa Claus, golden stars and characters from the nativity story. One beautiful fact to note, is that each ornament as beautiful and elegant or even simple looking is symbolic and meaningful. For example, the bell is meant to symbolizing the bringing back of lost sheep to the fold, the candl e represents Jesus as the divine light, the candy cane is the good shepherd's crook to bring back lost sheep, the star is the star of Bethlehem that led the three wise men to baby Jesus and the wreath symbolizes eternal life. Even the evergreen Christmas tree is a symbol of everlasting life and light. Christmas balls on the other hand have a rather interesting history.
The first Christmas trees, long before ornaments were used, were decorated with apples, white candy canes and pastries in the shape of stars, hearts and flowers, making a Christmas tree a tree of edibles. However, after all the apple trees died in the harsh winter of 1858, a glassblower from Meisenthal in the Moselle (Eastern France) made colorful glass balls to replace them. However, this was after glass baubles were made in Lauscha, Germany by Hans Greiner (1550-1609) who produced garlands of glass beads and tin figures that could be hung on trees.
Christmas is a sort of tradition for most, and for families that religiously observe it, it's not surprising that decorating with ornaments has become symbolic, a kind of ritual that cements the bond of family and friendship. It's why new ornaments are not preferred to older ones by most, rather they are added to an existing collection by a family as years pass by with an almost religious consistency. Although the traditional dates of putting up decorations and how long they are supposed to stay on are not usually observed, individual families have different times and different ornaments which they pass down to their generations for years and years and can remain for decades or more. This is how deeply rooted Christmas ornaments are in cultures and what sentimental value it holds for individuals and families in the society.
The decorating of Christmas ornaments can very well be called an art, shapes and figures and patterns can be achieved in proper arrangements of these beauties. In the decoration of Christmas trees for example, a system of careful layering takes place to ensure the tree looks beautiful and not crowded. According to bhg.com, the hanging of Christmas ornaments comes also in de decorating a tree. To showcase favorite ornaments, they should be hung in positions where they are most visible such as the top of the tree or in the middle. Next, hang the larger ornaments, making sure they are evenly spaced around the tree, then place smaller ones within the spaces. Finish it off with specialty items like clip-on ornaments or icicles.
Christmas ornaments are a necessity, a small part of a large celebration that cannot be overlooked. Understanding the importance is the first step towards the recognition of Christmas and its meaning, a time of love and family and giving. And whether you are religious or not, know that, like the s tar on top of a Christmas tree, love would always shine brightest.