Christmas Tree Decorations

miniature Christmas tree
© F H Powell 2008

It is generally accepted that the area of Europe that is now known as Germany was the home of the traditional Christmas tree. The tradition is believed to have started in the 16th century when trees were bought into homes and decorated. Strasbourg Cathedral’s records make mention of a tree as early as 1539.This then spread to other parts of Europe.

The custom gained a major boost in Britain in 1841 when Prince Albert, husband of Queen Victoria, decorated a tree in Windsor castle. For the royal family Christmas trees were not a new thing (13-year-old Victoria made note of a tree in her diary of 1832). During the middle of the 19th century Christmas trees became increasing popular especially amongst the wealthier British families who liked to emulate their royalty. So much so that in the 1850’s Charles Dickens was moved to comment on the amount of miniature dolls, furniture, musical instruments and food that were adorning trees.

In America there are a number of claims to have had the first Christmas tree. Windsor Locks in Connecticut claims theirs from 1777, which is probably the earliest claim. Decorating the trees with candy is attributed to a German immigrant, August Imgard, who in 1847 cut down a spruce tree and also had a star made for its top.

A number of trees are gifted each year from one country to another. In Britain the tree in Trafalgar Square, London, is a gift from the people of Oslo in Norway. The Mayor of Oslo switches on the lights. In North America Boston receives a tree from Halifax Nova Scotia.

Early tree decorations were quite basic hand crafted ornaments or fruit and nuts. An account from Germany in 1605 talks of sweets, apples and paper roses with gold foil being added to give the tree sparkle. By the early 1700’s candles were added to trees and the practice of placing gifts under the tree emerged.

Now is the time to consider the decorations for your miniature tree with a little help from Buttercup Miniatures. We have the patterns so you can make them yourself.