What is a Bauble

 What is a Bauble?
Adornments, decorations, ornaments, and baubles are ways to describe items that go onto a Christmas
tree to make it more festive. Christmas trees have been a part of celebrating the birth of Jesus, since the
16 th century. Germans would adorn the branches with candles to mimic the stars that led the wisemen
to Bethlehem. Tinsel was made by hammering metal until very thin, and then cut into strips would help
reflect the flickering candlelight. By the 1800’s Christmas tree decorations included fruit, nuts, marzipan
cookies, and candies along with the candles. Often, families would gather around the fireplace and
string popcorn and red berries into a garland to put on the tree. Small handmade tin, leather, or glass
ornaments became treasured heirlooms, and gifts were wrapped and put onto the tree branches.
Delicate glass ornaments imported from Germany in the 1890’s were often fruit, nuts and animals
mimicking real items. These reusable glass ornaments began replacing the real food items that used to
be wasted after hanging on a tree and save the real food for eating. By the turn of the century, many
department stores were selling ornaments. It was very common to see hearts, stars, round balls,
pinecones, squirrels, deer, and other items from nature.
Through the years Christmas decorating trends have emerged and then replaced by new trendier items.
For example, during the Great Depression era handmade items for the tree included paper chains,
painted tin can lids, pinecones, and envelopes were upcycled into decorations. Once the war ended, the
new trend was Christmas trees with white flocking to mimic snow and bright yellow, pink, and turquoise
balls. The 1960’s saw self-expression with handmade decorations made with rick-rack, velvet ribbon,
sequins, gold foil and paper doilies. Today many are opting for farmhouse décor with woodland
creatures. Color schemes seemed to change with each decade and here are some examples; pink,
yellow, and turquoise in the 1950’s… avocado, tangerine and harvest gold in the 1970’s… hunter green,
peach, mauve in the 1980’s… and then jewel tones of sapphire, emerald green and ruby red in the
Some ornaments are more than just pretty objects. For many families, special ornaments are a very
important part of decorating the tree. Here are some such ornaments and their meaning. Do you have a
special ornament that goes onto your Christmas tree?
An acorn ornament shows strength and good luck as a small acorn grows into a mighty oak tree
A rabbit symbolizes peace with nature
A house represents family, shelter, and protection
An angel asks God’s guidance for the home
A heart means there is true love in the home
A bird reflects happiness and joy
A bird nest is symbolic of the love and commitment it takes to make a home
A red cardinal reminds of us loved ones that have passed away
A bee suggests resourcefulness and order
A spider is good fortune as the light reflecting off the web looks like gold or silver
A pickle ornament placed last onto the tree rewards the first child to find it with a special gift
A bell on a tree, much like a church bell, is a call to worship
A star reminds of the bright star that the wisemen followed to Bethlehem
Doves are messengers of peace
Snowflakes symbolize individuality and purity
Frogs cannot jump backward or side to side and therefore represent peace, hope, and luck

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