All That Glitters

Artistic decoration from plywood. Source: Soe,

Spending time browsing the malls these days is a feast for the eyes. Sparkling vibrant colors are everywhere, be it in decorational items, clothing, or edibles. It is time to be merry because Christmas is coming!

Decoration for the houses.
Source: Soe

People always associate Christmas with Christmas trees, Christmas presents, chocolates & candy canes, and a feast on Christmas day. How did Christmas trees become a Christmas tradition? According to one history, the Christmas tree tradition originated in Germany around the 16th century. The evergreen family (pine, fir, spruce) were chosen because like many other four-season countries in the northern hemisphere, evergreen trees are one of the few trees that retain their leaves in winter. German people adorned the trees with apples, nuts, and marzipan cookies, which would be eaten on Christmas day as a special treat. There was a story of a German man who walked home one starry night. He saw the twinkling stars among the leaves of the trees and thought how beautiful it was. He got home and tried to recreate the sight by putting candles on his Christmas tree. Soon other people started to do the same until electricity was invented and light bulbs took the place of the candles.

Decorative plastic Christmas tree.
Source: Soe

German immigrants coming to America and Canada brought this Christmas tree tradition into their “new world” and soon it became a part of Christmas celebration in North America. Instead of hanging apples, nuts, and other edibles, the North Americans ornamented their trees with paper flowers, tinsels, ribbons, and colored popcorn.

Snowman lanterns.
Source: Soe

In our modern days Christmas tree decorations come in many types and shapes: colorful glass balls, silvery tin bells, golden ribbons, plastic angels and stars, and many other pretty knick-knacks. As time goes by, the more affluent began to share their Christmas feasts with those who were less fortunate. What started as sharing food progressed into giving away other items such as warm clothing, blankets, and other winter necessities. This tradition was the beginning of what we know as Christmas presents.

“Mardi Gras” theme Christmas tree.
Source: Soe

Many hang wreaths at the doors. There are different theories of how a wreath is associated with Christmas. One theory stated that wreaths originated from Rome — soldiers coming back from war were awarded with wreath crowns as a symbol of victory. Another theory mentioned that when the Germans cut their Christmas trees they also collected the fallen branches and leaves, and made them into wreaths. In the 16 century anything that was useful was not thrown away.


An elegant wreath.
Source: Soe

Decorational items are not only for Christmas trees. There are ornaments for every nook and cranny in a house if one choose to go overboard, from tiny glass baubles to life-size inflatable reindeer and snowman, from one candle on a table to strings of lights around the frame of a house. Some communities hold annual Christmas decor competitions. Participants are judged by the accessories they put up inside and outside of the houses. The winner of this competition does not receive prize money, however, his artistry will surely be a topic of conversation in the neighborhood.

Little angel statues to decorate the yard.
Source: Soe

Christmas is about glitters and colors, delicious sweets, appetizing feasts, and family and friends getting together. Christmas is also about the spirits of giving and sharing, to bring cheers and joy in everyone during the festive season!

A glittery decoration.
Source: Soe

Just for Fun:

  1. What is the meaning of “browsing”?
  2. Why do people use evergreens for Christmas trees?
  3. Why did the Germans hang apples, nuts, and cookies on their Christmas trees?
  4. What does “nook and cranny” mean?
  5. Describe Christmas decorational items you see in your neighborhood.
A life size Santa doll.
Source: Soe


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