I love Christmas trees. While not everyone celebrates, I think that everyone can appreciate the beauty of a tree decked out in all its holiday glory. The role of the fir tree in mid-winter celebrations pre-dates Christian times when the tree symbolized nature's triumph over the season’s gloomy darkness. The fir tree also symbolized protection – its thick fir boughs graciously protected delicate birds and provided shelter to other animals in the dense Bavarian forests.
Inspired by glass ornaments, shimmering by candlelight, I have created this month’s pieces with handblown glass beads from an artisan in Rhode Island. Happy holidays!!
Just a few interesting symbols you might find on Christmas trees...
Birds are considered a universal symbol of happiness and joy and are regarded by many to be a necessity on the Christmas tree. Because bird ornaments were difficult to create, few glassblowing families in Germany specialized in the making of these special pieces. Birds represent messengers of love and are the harbingers of good things to come.
Oranges have always been considered a very special treat at Christmas time. Costly and scarce during the winter months many years ago, oranges were highly appreciated and were quite a delicacy. Santa would often leave one of these sweet fruits in the toe of a stocking of good little boys and girls as a delightful reward. Oranges were among the first figural glass ornaments produced.
Acorns have long been thought to be good luck symbols in Germany where oak trees are considered sacred. Acorns are also believed to represent the rebirth of life as witnessed by the coming of the Christ child. Early German Christmas trees were laden with cones, cookies and nuts, most notably the acorn, to commemorate this gift of life and luck. This tradition is celebrated today with the glass acorn ornament.