Christmas Ornaments: Where did they originate from?

Cameron (‘23) and Mia (‘25) Davis and their family love decorating their tree right after Thanksgiving every year.

Provided by Mia Davis

Cameron (‘23) and Mia (‘25) Davis and their family love decorating their tree right after Thanksgiving every year.

Hailey Streckfus, Reporter

With the Christmas season steadily approaching, everyone is enjoying their own family traditions. My favorite tradition is decorating my Christmas tree, but where did these traditions come from?. 

Coming from a family where my mother is often busy, I am usually left to hang around my brother and dad. The other day the three of us went to get our Christmas tree to mark the start of the holiday season in our household. I was forced to come. To spite my father, I made him buy me a pink poinsettia. It already died. As you can tell, my family and I are not Christmas enthusiasts, unlike some of my other friends who decorate their houses the day after Thanksgiving.

 One thing I do however love about Christmas is the ornaments, also called Christmas balls (only by me). Every year, I am left to decorate the tree by myself with my dog occasionally coming in to knock over the ornaments and attempt to eat them. Until yesterday the origin of ornaments was a mystery to me. 

In 1847, Hans Greiner made the first Christmas ornaments in Germany. However, the origin of Christmas ornaments can be traced back to over 2,500 years ago in ancient Rome. During a pagan festival called Saturnalia, homes were decorated in wreaths and evergreen boughs, which are branches of an evergreen tree. A giant feast was also held where gifts were offered to the gods. Early ornaments were shaped like fruits and nuts. The rich used hand-blown glass, while peasants used small household objects and food to decorate.  In the 1840s, Americans finally began to adopt the tradition after seeing Queen Victoria and her family (including German-born Prince Albert) celebrating with a Christmas tree. These trees were soon decorated with ornaments. The tradition is still relevant today. Ornaments evolved into candy canes, family pictures, and many other items people use to personalize their tree.