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A French-Inspired Garden and Home by Judith Stringham

O is for Ornament

Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Since the Victorian Age ornaments on a Christmas tree have been a Christmas tradition in celebrating the most wondrous time of the year. O is for Ornaments in the list of Christmas traditions from A to Z written to add joy, love, laughter, beauty, nostalgia, comfort, sparkle, and meaning to the Christmas season. 

is for ornaments

Traditionally ornaments were used to decorate Christmas trees in England beginning in the reign of Queen Victoria. Shortly thereafter, the tradition spread to the United States. 

Ornaments vary from homemade to heirlooms and have evolved from just decorating a tree to decorating the house in other ways. 

Tree Styles

Christmas tree decoration traditions are different for different families. For some decorating Christmas trees has gone from simple candles and glass blown ornaments as in the Victorian era to grand scale themed trees using ribbons, artificial sprays, and ornaments designed by color and/or by subject in the current era. 

Over the years I have collected angel ornaments and have enough to decorate an entire 6'-8' tree solely with angels. The angel tree is a simplified version of the themed trees on Instagram and blogs today. 

This golden flying angel was tied by a ribbon to a Christmas present I received several years ago.  Now she often graces an angel-decorated Christmas tree. 

An outdoor tree on the covered back porch reflects the traditional trees my family decorated when I was very young. Growing up on a farm, we cut a cedar tree from the farm or roadside ditch and decorated it with homemade and/or natural ornaments. On this recent tree similar to my childhood ones, a grapevine wrapped around the tree is the garland. Cotton bolls from the cotton fields and hand-cut snowflakes made from old book pages are the ornaments. Often in the past we strung popped corn, grown on the farm, as a garland also. Nothing was store bought, and everything was composted after Christmas. 

Ornament Styles

Ornaments today vary widely from handmade to priceless heirlooms. Green and red were once the only colors available, but no longer. Now you can buy ornaments in any color you love. And, you can find whatever style appeals to you. From rustic to blown glass, from farmhouse to French Country, from unfinished to hand painted. 

If an ornament isn't quite the style you want, 
you can always change it. 

This metal angel was very rustic in the beginning with a rusted finish, but a little blue spray paint transformed it into a colorful metal ornament with a bit more polished style. 

A brown paper bear went from a plain brown corrugated cardboard bear to a fluffy white polar bear with a little white spray paint, an updated hanging ribbon, and white mohair yarn from a Paris ribbon shop. 



Ornament Uses Other Than On Trees

Beautiful ornaments can be used all around the house to decorate for Christmas besides hanging from a Christmas tree. 

Instead of hanging ornaments from branches on a tree, hang ornaments from the ceiling on ribbons around a tree. 

A single large unusual and beautiful ornament takes center stage hanging from the center of a horizontal wreath placed over a dining table, kitchen island, or entry foyer. 

A flurry of glass snowflakes hanging from ribbons in a window spotlights their beauty which could be overlooked if the snowflakes were hanging on a Christmas tree. 

Variations in colors, size, and position make the arrangement more appealing than one in which all the snowflakes are the same size hung in a straight line. One loop bows with long tails on the ribbons add more flair than simply tying the snowflakes to the ribbons without bows. 

A bejeweled ornament that opens can serve as the gift wrap of a small gift for a special person. A friend gave a pair of earrings to her granddaughter by enclosing them in this ornament and hanging the ornament on the Christmas tree. While the ornament decorated the tree, its real purpose was to serve as gift wrapping. 

May your Christmas traditions include ornaments that add love, joy, and sparkle to your holiday.