The practice of decorating our homes and trees for Christmas is a ritual that not only brings great joy and happiness to ourselves and those around us but is also something that has withstood the test of time. We often don’t give a second thought to where all the glitzy tinsel and sparkly baubles originate from, but the history of all these colorful decorations are just as enticing as the pure joy it brings during the festive season.
From the devout Germans who first decorated a Christmas tree with candles, the 16th century Protestant reformer Martin Luther who has been credited to place the first Christmas lights on a tree, to the glass ornaments that certain families took 16 hours a day to produce in the 19th century, the history surrounding our favorite festive season decorations are fascinating.The next time you feel the overwhelmed by creating the perfect Christmas setting for your home of, spare a thought for folks who spent hours upon hours painstakingly creating each ornament by hand in the past.
Take a journey back into time to see where these beautiful decorations originate from and get inspired by some useful ideas to decorate your home inside and out.
History of Christmas Decorations
Christmas is probably one of the oldest holidays that Christians celebrate all over the world. Hence, its history dated back for thousands of years Know the history of some of the popular Christmas decorations:
Ornaments- The first known ornaments to be placed on a Christmas tree was ordinary white candles. Although history is sometimes a point of contention, it’s stated that a monk who came to Germany in the 7th or 8th century introduced decorating a fir tree in this country. During the 19th century families took great care in creating glass ornaments, often up to 16 hours a day, and for some it was also their only income.
Tinsel- This favorite décor item was invented in Nuremburg, Germany in 1610. However, it only vaguely resembled what we now know as tinsel, as it was made from real shredded silver.
Tree Skirt– Again the Germans were the first to use this nifty décor item. As they started out decorating their trees with real candles, they invented the tree skirt to catch all the wax dripping down.
Christmas lights- Although the practice of placing lights on a tree can once again be traced back to devout 18th century Germans, the 16th century Protestant reformer Martin Luther has also been credited for being the first to think of this, quite literally, bright idea. The first person to bring us electric Christmas trees in 1880 is none other than Thomas Edison.
Garlands- They are, in fact, an ancient tradition that can be traced back to the Egyptians, as they placed garlands on their mummies as a symbol of celebration upon entering the afterlife. The first garlands that were brought from Europe to America were used to decorate Christmas trees. The shape of the garlands is said to symbolize the infinite love of Jesus.
Baubles- They were invented by the German Hans Greiner in the late 1840s. However, the very first baubles weren’t the shiny beauties we know today, but rather fruit and nut-shaped glass.
Types of Christmas Decorations
Today, there are so many types of Christmas decorations being used. Some of the most commonly used are:
Christmas tree – The practice of decorating Christmas trees date back centuries ago. By some accounts it was a monk who came to Germany during the 7th or 8th He is said to be the first to instruct the Germans to decorate a fir tree as he claimed the triangular shape of a Christmas tree signified the Holy Trinity.
Here’s How to Decorate a Christmas Tree.
Fresh poinsettia – Joel Poinsett, a botanist and ambassador to Mexico, first brought this plant into America during the 1820s. Mexicans had always called the plant Christmas Eve flower, as it turned into a glorious red just before the holiday season.
Mistletoe – This Christmas décor item signifies peace, love, magic and healing and the first recorded use of it can be traced back to 200 years before Jesus. It has long been used in celebration of the different seasons. Source
Christmas stockings – Although the exact origin of the Christmas stocking is not known, there are a few fables which attempts to explain where these traditional décor items originate from. One such story tells of Saint Nicholas who heard of a poor family in a village. He wanted to help them in secret and threw three bags of gold through their windows. One of these bags landed in a stocking which was hung above the fireplace to dry.
Christmas Tree Decorations
Glass ball ornaments – There’s something very glamorous about a real glass bauble. The way it catches the Christmas tree lights will surely delight friends and family alike. There are various intricate designs to choose from and is always a beautiful addition to your Christmas tree.
DIY holiday ornaments – This is a great way to involve the kids and there are many tutorials on the web to show you how to make that special Santa or snowman hanging ornament.
Personalized ornaments – To add that extra special touch to your Christmas tree, opt for personalized ornaments. You can engrave your child’s name on a shiny bauble and even include the family pet in your celebrations!
Tinsel and garland – Tinsel and garlands are widely used and never goes out of style. Choose the color to go with the rest of your Christmas décor. It always makes a huge impact if used correctly.
Wreaths – Wreaths can also be placed on your Christmas tree to add that traditional touch. It always looks elegant and oh so festive.
Christmas lights – There are a wide variety of different lights to choose from. You can opt for the LED version to keep your Christmas celebrations green.
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Christmas Decorations for Outdoor
Wreaths – These items are great to place indoors or outdoors. Adorning your front door with a beautiful wreath, such as a magnolia one, can really bring home that festive spirit.
Solar lights – The twinkling of lights in your garden is sure to create a magical Christmas feel. Hang solar lights in your trees to rid yourself of all the stress of cords while still creating the very same magical effect.
Statues – If you have a bigger budget, you can go all-out in purchasing Christmas statues, such as the Nutcracker or Santa. Kids will absolutely love this addition to your outdoor decorations.
Outdoor Christmas tree – Decorate a tree and showcase it on your porch. What a beautiful sight to behold and it’s sure to turn up the festive excitement.
Outdoor Christmas inflatables – For the absolute wow factor why not hire or purchase inflatables for your outdoor Christmas décor. It will yet again be a definite hit with the kids and transform your garden into an instant wonderland.
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Christmas Decorations for Indoor
Christmas tree – The number one festive decoration for indoors is the Christmas tree. You can opt to go for a natural fir tree or go modern with a white artificial one. The options are endless and the decorating process a fun, family affair.
Ribbon and bows – Wrapping your dining room chairs with a bright, red ribbon can instantly transform the feel of the room and add that festive cheer around the dinner table.
Brightly colored baubles – Hang baubles from your ceiling or place them strategically in glass flower pots to show off their colorful joy. There are so many possibilities and they’re certainly not confined to the Christmas tree.
Ornamental Christmas trees – You can have mini Christmas trees in all shapes and sizes adorning every room of your home if you so choose. They can echo your main tree, or each have their own design. Either way, they always bring that festive cheer into any home.
Holly – This Christmas berry is synonymous with Christmas and can also be used in a wide variety of ways to instantly transform your home into a wonderful haven of Christmas cheer.
Cutout letter banners – By simply hanging a banner with cutout letters spelling out the word ‘Christmas’ or ‘Holiday’ and hanging it on a strategic place, you can create that extra touch at Christmas time without having to do too much.
Candles and lighting – When one thinks of the festive season dreamy and glittery lights often come to mind. Create a soft glow with tealights or go extravagant with electric. Either way, lighting is key for a successful festive scene.
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Natural Christmas Decorations
Christmas firs – Using a natural Christmas tree at Christmas is arguably every passionate Christmas decorator’s dream. The most common types of trees in this selection are usually found among the spruce, fir and pine families. Although they can’t be packed away for next Christmas, they do remain beautiful and can be decorated just like any artificial Christmas tree. Just take care not to place the tree too close to heat, as it can dry out.
Ivy – Ivy is a wonderful greenery to use together with your bright Christmas décor. It adds an extra layer of depth and makes for a great backdrop for the glitzy baubles and colorful holly to take center stage.
Holly – Holly also falls into the category of greenery, with the exception that it’s bright berries will cheer up any room. It can be used on its own in a vase or part of a wreath or even garland.
Pine cones – Pine cones are such a versatile item to add depth and even color to your Christmas décor. The cones can be painted or sprayed in a variety of colors, such as silver and gold, be made into Christmas ornaments by hanging them on your tree by a string, or just placed strategically on your dinner table among other Christmas greenery and décor.
Laurel – This greenery has an interesting history. It has been worn as a wreath on the head to symbolize success and victory for many, many years. It adds another wonderful dimension to your Christmas wreaths and décor.
Evergreen wreath – Nothing says welcome over festive season than a natural evergreen wreath hanging on your front door. Romans even hanged them on their doors to signify success and victory!
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White Christmas Decorations
Winter wonderland – To create a winter wonderland look incorporate lots of snowflake cutouts, snowman and white decorations into your Christmas theme. It can be offset with brightly colored baubles or you can keep with a more neutral theme by incorporating silver décor.
Tartan – Tartan material just screams winter and warmth during the festive season. Incorporate it into your décor by way of scatter cushions or ribbon in your wreaths.
Christmas stockings – You can opt to go for the traditional red or even white furry socks. There’s such a large variety of stockings on the market that your options are endless. Hang them by the fireplace to complete the perfect winter Christmas theme.
Pine cones – Pine cones placed close to candles create a heartwarming Christmas display while it’s cold outside. There’s something so familiar and warm about these natural beauties that will surely add that extra winter Christmas touch.
Mason jar lighting – Bring warmth to the winter season by adding tealights in your old mason jars and hanging them up by a string. It creates a soft glow sure to warm up everyone’s hearts at Christmas time.
Stacks of logs – Something so simple as stacking a pile of logs together and tying it with wreath and pine cones can instantly transform your home into a cozy, festive setting.
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Summer Christmas Decorations
Unusual Christmas tree – If your Christmas falls within in a warmer climate you’re probably not keen on the idea of decorating with snowflakes and snowman. Why not celebrate with a palm tree to suit the sweltering festive season? A modern type of Christmas tree will also do well, such as the wooden or upside-down versions.
Beach-inspired décor – For those lucky enough to live near to or be on holiday at the beach during the festive season, incorporating the natural elements found close to the sea is a brilliant idea. Seashells can make the perfect Christmas tree ornaments and sea sand can be used for a twist on the traditional DIY snow globes.
Sand Snowman – If you feel like you’re missing snowmen in your Christmas décor, why not turn tradition on it’s head and create your own sand snowman? It will be loads of fun to make and the kids will love it!
Choose the correct color palette – Although there’s no hard and fast rules to create a summer Christmas feel, a color combination such as white, blue and a touch of silver work perfectly for a summer Christmas. It creates a light and breezy effect, while still maintaining loads of festive appeal.
Decorate with flowers – Seeing as it’s summer and everything is bright and cheery, why not ditch all the traditional baubles and tinsel and opt for a Christmas tree entirely decorated with fresh flowers? If you’re worried about expenses some natural-looking plastic flowers could also work a treat.
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Christmas Figure Decorations
Santa Claus Figures – Probably the most popular figures associated with Christmas Day – Santa Claus or Saint Nicholas. That’s why it’s not surprising that many Christmas decorations use theme of Santa Claus. Brightly red with a hint of black is the usual pattern for santa-themed decors.
Snowman Figures – Next to Santa, snowman is another popular character of Christmas. You can feel the hint of winter by having a snowman incorporated to any christmas decoration.
Reindeer Christmas Decorations – Cool reindeer crafts and ornaments can make a good holiday decor. For tree, small reindeer figures can be a good addition. They can also be added to table setting and wall decor.
Angel Christmas Decorations – Who would forget Angels. One of the mostly used Christmas tree topper is Angel. They are also used as tree ornaments and addition to nativity setting.
SourceNativity Scene (Jesus Christ) Christmas Decorations – You know it’s Christmas time when homes and business establishments are starting to put a Christmas tree and nativity scene. Being one of the most popular Christmas stories, nativity scene is such a glorious Christmas setting to up.
Elf Christmas Decorations – Aside from Santa and Rudolf the reindeer, elves are also cute addition to every Christmas decoration.
Nut Cracker Figurines –
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Christmas Decorations Ornaments
Stars – As a symbol of when Jesus Christ was born, stars is one of the most popular ornament to use in decorating for Christmas. They can come in different styles such as ornament, lighted or lantern.
Personalized Baubles – You can make your own Christmas baubles with lots of materials. You can use bits of old CDs and stick them on a transparent Christmas ball to get a sort of futuristic feel. Or you can even paint your own design on them.
Felt Ornaments – You can also create christmas ornaments out of felt. It is thick yet soft fabric, perfect to create any craft. Some of the decorations you can make it out of are snowflakes, mini tree, etc.
Christmas Snow Globes – You know that magical-looking wonderland inside a globe filled with water? Yes, that’s snowglobe and can be a wonderful addition to winter wonderland theme decorations.
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Christmas Decorations for Table
Christmas centerpiece – Beautify your dining table this Christmas by adding centerpiece that screams CHRISTMAS! You can add holiday elements like cranberries, pinecones, pine needles, etc.
Candles and candle holders – What better way to light up your table with a couple of Christmas candles? Not only will these candles add a touch of elegance to your table, they’ll set the mood during your Christmas dinner.
Christmas plates – These doesn’t have to bright red. Any colors that will coordinate with your table setting will do.
Christmas table runners – There are so many table runners today that you can get with Christmas theme. You can use them specifically for holiday.
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Christmas Decorations for Classroom
Classroom Door Set-up – During Christmas, teachers and students put effort in adding holiday feel to classrooms. One of the most commonly decorated part of every classroom is the door. They usually put giant cut-outs and figures in the door like snowman, Santa, Grinch, etc.
Ornament and Craft – Christmas is also a time of the year when kids can practice their creativity by making and crafting DIY Christmas ornaments. These will be hanged or displayed in classrooms bulletin boards or corner.
Bulletin Board Decor – Another part of a school that is usually decorated is the bulletin board. You can add garlands, christmas lights, pine cones and ornaments.
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Christmas Decorations for Office
Christmas tree display – One of the best ways to greet a client or customers in office is thru a breathtaking Christmas tree display. This doesn’t have to be huge and grand. A simple but modestly decorated one will do.
Hanging Decors – Simple but elegant Christmas decorating idea. Hang those colorful Christmas baubles or ornament in the ceiling and create festive mood in the office.
Decorated Desks and Booths – Christmas is the time of the year when you can spread good vibes and cheers. You can do it in the office too by decorating your desk or booth.
Christmas Decorations for Christmas Wedding
Magical Christmas Lanterns – One of the best ways to set a wonderful setting in a wedding is through light, and lantern is a good way to achieve it.
Christmas-themed Centerpieces – Cranberries, holly, ivy, Santa-themed napkin holder and a few decorated pinecones here and there.
Flower Arrangements and Decorations – Flower arrangements with poinsettia can be an amazing decoration in Christmas wedding.
Homemade Christmas Decorations
Christmas Lantern – This decoration is simple and fun to make. You’ll only need colorful paper, tape, and scissors for this project. There are lots of types to choose from too!
Paper Christmas Tree Ornament – With some paper, a glue gun, double-sided tape, and green wire, you can make a mini Christmas tree to hang on your actual Christmas tree. Care should be taken when handling the glue gun though. Patterned paper (with designs of your choice) can be used.
Folded Paper Wreath – A great way to use old Christmas wrapping paper! Fold the wrapping paper carefully, making sure that the size of each fold is even. You can stick on additional materials for this idea too.
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Door Christmas Decorations
Classic Wreath – Wreaths look great on front doors. This simple and elegant classic is very refreshing and sweet. Add a bright red bow and some ornaments and it’ll be perfect.
Christmas Stockings – Another excellent christmas decorations for door is stockings. It would be much better if the stockings are personalized. A wonderful way to greet a guest on Christmas.
Bells – Add some jingle to your house! Bells are traditional Christmas decors that can be hung on the front door. You’ll hear a pleasant and merry jingle every time someone opens your door.
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Cheap Christmas Decorations
Recycled Christmas Decors – One way to decorate cheap this Christmas is through recycling. Instead of throwing away those bottles, or tin cans, you can recycle them and turn them into beautiful vases, lantern or snowman.
DIY Christmas tree ornament – Instead of buying expensive Christmas balls (AGAIN), why not make your own tree ornament. There are so many Do-it-yourself tutorials online that you can get inspiration from.
Paper Crafts – Another cheap way to decorate this holiday is by crafting. You’re not just saving a few bucks, crafting can also be a good way to have a bonding with your children this Christmas.
Mason Jar Lanterns – Turn those empty mason jars into magical lanterns. You can simply put a fairy lights inside and you have instant lantern.
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Christmas Decorations for Stairs
Garlands – Twirl some garlands and other ornaments around your stairs. Make it grand by using color scheme like gold and red for elegance or white and silver for winter wonderland.
Christmas Lights – Another way to spruce up a boring staircase is through Christmas lights. Wrap a few meters of christmas lights around the banister. You can also partner this idea to the garland.
Deco Mesh and Burlap Ribbons – These are currently trending Christmas decorations. With their elegant appearance and vibrant colors, it’s easier to decorate and beautify a staircase and banister with deco mesh ribbons.
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Christmas Decorations for Windows
Christmas Curtains – The right holiday curtains always make the house look more festive. Red curtains are great for Christmas. Or if you prefer a gentler look, you can always go for a White Christmas theme and use white Christmas-y curtains.
Christmas Beads – Hang these beads on your window or drape and knot them on your curtains. They are fun to work with and can enhance the beauty of your curtains.
Ribbons – These can be draped around your window or tied into lovely bows. You can use different colored ribbons to match your theme and décor.
Image Source: 1, 2, 3,
Country Christmas Decorations
Wooden Christmas Decorations – Log cuts, branches, pallets and twigs are some of the elements of country Christmas decor. The natural colors of these elements add beauty to any Christmas decoration theme.
Ladder Christmas Tree – From unusual Christmas tree to Christmas village, ladder has become a great alternative as Christmas decoration. People can just hang ornaments and wrap it with lights and voila – instant, unconventional Christmas decoration!
Logs and Greens – In every country Christmas decorating idea, one would never skip using logs and greeneries like pine needles, holly and berries.
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Vintage Christmas Decorations
Vintage bottles – Old bottles topped with Christmas ornaments or candles give your tabletop something nicer and appealing. You can also turn them into flower vase, holding cranberries and poinsettia.
Vintage tins and plates – Dig those old plates and tin wares and spruce em up this Christmas. Include them as your decorate a vignette or tabletop on holiday.
Victorian style Ornaments – Those old but still glorious and beautiful Christmas ornaments make up one wonderful piece of vintage Christmas décor. Hang em up in your Christmas tree to create a vintage feel to it.