Decorating the tree has been a tradition all over the world for centuries. It's an event we enjoy every Christmas without even thinking twice about it. But how did this festive tradition begin?
The First Ornament
It all starts with the Christmas tree itself. Word has it that in 16th Century Germany, Martin Luther came across a snowy tree in the forest and its shinning beauty couldn't help but capture his eye. He felt so moved by the experience that he simply had to share it with his family. So, he decided to bring the tree inside. But something was missing -- the sparkle. In order to simulate the shimmer from the forest, he placed candles on the tree -- certainly an event that would be frowned upon today, but then again, he didn't have the luxury of light bulbs.
19th Century Ornaments
By the early 1800s, the idea of having a Christmas tree was a well-known holiday tradition throughout Europe. Families would get-together and decorate with apples, nuts or dates. They chose these foods as symbols of the budding life that would emerge again in the spring. Eventually, wafers became popular for making ornaments, too, as they could be trimmed into stars, hearts and angels.
Delicate Glass Ornaments
During the mid-to-late 1800s, mouth-blown glass ornaments dazzled the tree in the shape of animals, fruits and characters. By the 1880s, ornaments were common to practically every home, as U.S. department stores were selling them by the millions.
Modern Day Ornaments
Today, some of the most popular Christmas gifts are ornaments. With thousands of different styles and designs, you truly can find one for everyone on your list. And whether the sentiment is large or small, an ornament can sparkle on the tree for generations.