Why do we decorate our Christmas tree? The history of the bauble

It has long since been custom to embellish our Christmas trees with ornaments, tinsel and lights, but just when did the idea to decorate a real or artificial Christmas tree at Christmas time become an annual tradition?

Christmas tree decoration became fashionable in Queen Victoria’s reign, most notably in 1848 when a picture was published in the Illustrated London News of the Royal Family. In an elaborate image, Queen Victoria and her family were pictured at Windsor Castle stood beside a large tree adorned with glass ornaments hailing from Prince Albert's native Germany.

What followed was the tradition of Christmas tree decorating as we know it today, as many homes in Britain followed suit by decking out their tree with sweets, candles, homemade decorations and fruit.  

The humble bauble, a Christmas decoration staple...

For centuries, baubles have evolved in design, material and cost and these days any Christmas tree would look a little lost without a few cheerful baubles hanging from its branches. But just where exactly did the first bauble originate from?

These days you can pick up baubles from just about anywhere in the world.  However, the original bauble comes from sixteenth century Germany in the alpine town of Lauscha. This town would become infamous for its skill in glass-blowing and Christmas ornament production.

By the 1800s, founder of the first glassworks in Lauscha, Hans Greiner, began producing fruit and nut shaped glass ornaments complete with decorative silver embellishment using mercury or lead.

With popularity and interest in the bauble growing, other glassworks in the area also began to produce their own style of glass decorations, creating moulds of animals, famous saints and children.

Eventually, the beautiful glass ornaments, renowned as a German invention, were discovered by the infamous F.W Woolworth on a visit to Germany. Sensing an opportunity within the rise of global commerce, he began to import the glass ornaments to the United States and the rest they say...is history.

The introduction of global production...

The turn of the century saw Japan emerging in the bauble market by producing more elaborate bauble designs on a wider scale. Sadly, as the market evolved and more economical baubles were being produced for people to buy cheaply, Germany's handmade, glass bauble industry began to fade.

These days, you can find baubles for your Christmas tree just about anywhere, including here at Christmas Tree World and next time you come to hang one on your tree, you’ll know exactly how the humble bauble began.

What is your favourite Christmas tree decoration? Check out our great range of baubles and other Christmas decorations.

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