It’s November! That means we can officially start ranting and raving about Christmas! Whether you’re a big fan or not, it dominates our lives for weeks at this time of year. From fab food to sparkly outfits, it’s an excuse for a bit of frivolity and indulgence as we begin the darkest and coldest months.
Decorating a Christmas tree is a time-honoured tradition, with decorations handed down and given as gifts to commemorate special events as we head toward the end of the year.
The ritual of bringing evergreen branches into the home was a Pagan practise celebrated across Europe dating back thousands of years, even by Druids, Romans and Vikings. The purpose was to protect the eternal spirits of nature by bringing them into hearth and home during winter, especially on the Solstice, the shortest day of the year, usually December 21st or 22nd. The Winter Solstice was celebrated with a final feast before the deep winter months, where the risk of starvation was highest for these early civilisations.
These practises were adopted as many cultures began to convert to Christianity. The modern Christmas tree is believed to have originated in Germany and was only introduced to Britain around 200 years ago.
Traditionally, a Christmas tree can be put up on the first day of Advent but also as late as Christmas Eve in some countries. It is widely established that the tree should be removed before the Twelfth Night after Christmas Day.
No matter when you put up your tree, you will be decorating it with a selection of ornaments and trimmings that are personal to you. Maybe you have a strict colour scheme and contemporary design, or an eclectic hodge podge of hand-me-down and homemade decorations. Every year when you unpack and hang each decoration, you will remember the first Christmas you had it, where you bought it or who gifted it to you. Those memories can be priceless.
We have a wide selection of decoration shapes and designs to suit any Christmas tree decorating style. Remember, if you hurry, we still have time to personalise your order.
Take a look at our full range;
Tree – early Christmas trees were decorated with paper roses, sweet meats, apples and wafers. Tinsel and candles were added, and eventually electric lights replaced the candles.
Snowflake – always have 6 sides and fall at a speed of 3-4 miles an hour. They are not frozen raindrops, known as sleet. They are in fact clumps of frozen water vapour, made up of around 200 ice crystals merged together to create unique fractals.
Ribbon Bow – ribbons are used by many to decorate the boughs of a Christmas Tree. They easily add pops of bold colour without adding a lot of weight. Can be great on large trees to fill spaces.
Bell – while bells are used by churches during the religious celebration of Christmas, they are also used in decorating. Hearing Santa’s sleigh bells must be one of the most iconic Christmas sounds and everybody knows Jingle Bells.
Bauble – the first manufactured ornaments were quite expensive hand-blown glass balls made in the 1840s by Hans Greiner.
Stocking – a European tradition, originally filled with food and sometimes small presents. Usually hung by a fireplace, near where Santa enters, or at the foot of the bed, where he can check you’re still sleeping. Each stocking is named so he doesn’t get mixed up in the dark.
Penguin – did you know there are no penguins at the North pole? (so, they aren’t helping Santa at his workshop). And despite common misconceptions, there are no penguins at the South pole either! They live exclusively in coastal areas of the Antarctic, where they have access to the ocean, to swim and catch fish.
Star – the three wise men followed the star to Bethlehem in the nativity story from the Gospel of Matthew. ‘Wise men’ was translated from the word Magi, which can more accurately be translated as astrologer.
Wreath – originally work as a headdress in ancient Greece, a modern wreath is used as festive decoration. Generally circular and made up of winter foliage, most commonly holly. The use of evergreen branches has a purpose similar to the Christmas tree, to protect the eternal spirit of nature.
Present – in the story of the nativity, it is well known that the Three Wise Men gave the baby Jesus gifts of Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh. Both Frankincense and Myrrh are scented resins extracted from trees and were believed to have medicinal uses.
Angel – angels are messengers and placing an angel at the top of a Christmas tree represents the appearance of angels in the sky above Bethlehem to announce the birth of Jesus.
Now let’s have some fun! We’re going to have a bit of a caption competition. Pick a decoration shape and tell us what you would have it say. It could be a pun or play on words, could be a song lyric or festive message.
We will pick our favourites and post them on our social media next week. Then you will have the opportunity to vote for your favourites, which will then be made and available to order. The winning creators will also receive they’re new Christmas decoration design as a free gift!
Share your ideas by taking a screenshot of your preferred decoration shape from the pictures here in the blog, then add that image to a story on your Instagram. Don’t forget to tell us what it should say and tag @onlywillowjewellery.
We can’t wait to see what you come up with! Good luck and have fun.
Stay Safe and Shop Small and Local where you can.
Written by Siobhan Green.