The Legacy of Christmas Ornaments

Christmas ornaments are one way to remember loved ones during the holidaysChristmas ornaments are one way to remember loved ones during the holidays

This holiday time of year, especially Christmas festivities, inspire us to celebrate the ones we love. Going through the grief of loss after a person passes away can be especially difficult during the holidays. Although we may miss people who have passed away, the gifts they gave us, such as handmade Christmas ornaments, might outlive them. We remember and continue to celebrate our loved ones’ heritage throughout the holidays with family Christmas ornaments that help keep their spirit alive.

Germany and Christmas Ornaments

We have Germany to thank for establishing the tradition of decorating an evergreen tree and deeming it a “Christmas tree.” Originally, Christmas trees were decorated with fruits and pastries, but became decorated with ornaments made from cookies and gingerbread in many shapes, pressed paper flowers, painted eggshells, hand-sewn snowflakes, strings of cranberries, and tinsel.

In the 1880s, pressed-glass ornaments were introduced and were immensely popular. In one region of Germany, the economy was dedicated to glass Christmas ornament production. Japan and the Czech Republic entered the international market, and became known for their ornaments. The US also began producing glass ornaments, starting with the Corning Company.

Some interesting Christmas traditions have developed in different countries. In Germany, often the last ornament hung was a pickle. When a child found the pickle, he received an extra gift and a blessing. Today, we manufacture glass ornaments shaped like pickles to remember this tradition.

Every year at Christmastime, in Nuremburg, Germany, a Kris Kringle mart is held to celebrate the holidays and showcase beautiful ornaments for purchase. You can walk among the outdoor stalls and sip your Gluhwein (hot mulled wine), while musing over the delightful designs of all kinds, including wooden ornaments of angels, soldiers, and stars. Lights brighten the town everywhere, as it becomes a magical land.

Families and Christmas Ornaments

Many families have their own traditions of handing down special ornaments to the next generation. As life events are celebrated, ornaments are made or collected and treasured as keepsakes. Anyone who is crafty can make an ornament. Some people sew and make stocking ornaments to hang on the Christmas tree. Some people are handy with stained glass, making glass ornament angels and hearts. Those who crochet might create a snowflake. Even children can turn macaroni shells into ornaments. It’s not about what you make, but about the memories created when making them and sharing them with the family. It is a proud moment when you hang your handmade Christmas ornament on the family tree.

Some people are careful in handling their family Christmas ornaments through generations; you might find in one home, the same star has sat atop the tree for fifty years or more. Many individuals have keepsakes given to them by parents or grandparents, and after these loved ones pass away, the handmade Christmas ornaments become the favorites because of their meaning.

Handmade Christmas ornaments come in all shapes and sizesHandmade Christmas ornaments come in all shapes and sizes

When your special Christmas ornaments have been put away for the year and forgotten until the next season, the next Christmas you get to open up a box of memories again. Unwrapping each family ornament is a walk down memory lane; you recall the good times, the meaningful moments with your loved ones, and the stories behind those handmade Christmas ornaments. Although your parent or grandparent may no longer be with you, you celebrate them.

Share stories of your family’s legacy with Everlasting Footprint. Remember and honor your loved ones.

About Cindy Readnower

Cindy Readnower, MBA, specializes in sales, marketing, and entrepreneurship. An award-winning certified Life Coach, business consultant, and publisher at Skinny Leopard Media, she helps writers produce and promote their books. She is a newspaper columnist, author of "Inherited Secrets," and a blogger.

Leave a Reply