Christmas ornaments are decorations (usually made of glass, metal, wood or ceramics) that are used to festoon a Christmas tree.
Ornaments take many different forms, from a simple round ball to highly artistic designs. Ornaments are almost always reused year after year, rather than purchased annually, and family collections often contain a combination of commercially produced ornaments and decorations created by family members. Such collections are often passed on and augmented from generation to generation.
Santa Claus is a commonly used figure. Candy canes, fruit, animals and snowflake imagery are also popular choices
A bauble is a spherical decoration that is commonly used to adorn Christmas trees. It is one of the most popular Christmas ornament designs, and you can find at least one bauble on virtually any Christmas tree. Baubles can have various designs on them, from “baby’s first Christmas,” to a favorite sports team. Baubles have been in production since 1847.
Glass baubles were first made in Lauscha, Germany by Hans Greiner who according to legend, began hand blowing glass into Christmas decorations because he was unable to afford usual ornaments such as nuts, apples and candy. Greiner originally started by blowing glass into the shape of fruit and nuts. The inside of his decorations were made to look silvery, at first with mercury or lead, then later using a special compound of silver nitrate and sugar water. As demand for Greiner’s ornaments grew, he began blowing the glass into new shapes including the sphere which is now the most popular.
Other glassblowers in Lauscha recognized the growing popularity of Christmas baubles and began producing them in a wide range of designs. Soon, the whole of Germany began buying Christmas glassware from Lauscha and after Queen Victoria’s Christmas tree was pictured in a London newspaper decorated with glass ornaments and baubles from Prince Albert’s native Germany, Lauscha began exporting its products throughout Europe.
In the 1880s, American F. W. Woolworth discovered Lauscha’s baubles during a visit to Germany. He made a fortune by importing the German glass ornaments to the U.S.A. By the 1920s, traditional hand-blown methods gave way to mass production and before long there was competition from other regions of Germany and from abroad as well. The demand for the decorative items grew steadily, especially as new colors regularly became fashionable.
After World War II, the East German government turned most of Lauscha’s glassworks into state-owned entities, and production of baubles in Lauscha ceased. After the Berlin Wall came down, most of the firms were reestablished as private companies. Today there are still about 20 small glass-blowing firms active in Lauscha that produce baubles. One of the producers is Krebs Glas Lauscha, part of the Krebs family which is now one of the largest producers of glass ornaments worldwide. Although glass baubles are still produced, baubles are now mainly made from plastic and available worldwide in a huge variety of shapes, colors and designs.
The Pickle Ornament
The German glass pickle ornaments are considered a special
Christmas in Germany decoration by many families where the Christmas tree was decorated on Christmas eve.The glass Christmas pickle ornament is always the last glass ornament to be hung on the Christmas tree. The parents hide the glass pickle ornament in the Christmas tree among the other German glass ornaments. When the children were allowed to view the Christmas tree they would begin gleefully searching for the German glass pickle ornament. The children knew that whoever found the glass pickle ornament first would receive an extra little gift and would be the one to begin the unwrapping of the Christmas gifts.