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Bling, Baubles and Trees

December 16, 2023

Bling, Baubles and Trees

The salon is in full swing for our busiest two weeks of the year. Baubles are twinkling, mulled wine is steaming and prosecco flowing.

We’ve themed our Christmas decorations mostly in red this year, and as usual, delved into our warehouse stores for some heritage pieces. Next week we celebrate 35 years at No.1 Beaumont Street, meaning decades of decorations stored at our Sussex repository.

Whilst we always add something new each year, we enthusiastically explore our warehouse for some retro, each piece triggering a little nostalgia for times past, when things were so very different, and much the same. 😢    

The decorated tree goes back much further than Christmas. Adorning the home with evergreen branches during the winter solstice dates as far back as the ancient Egyptians, and through various pagan winter solstice rituals of the Druids, the Romans - whose practice was to hang fruit from trees, and the Vikings.

Around 1000 years ago in Northern Europe the tradition of whole green fir trees began, often hung upside down from rafters. This was used by Pagans and later by Christians to celebrate winter, giving the comfort of evergreen life and a reminder that spring would return. In 16th century Germany, small evergreen trees were decorated with candles, fruit, berries and nuts in church plays.

It became a Christian ritual when families brought this practice into their homes for the holiday season. Spreading across Europe, it was brought to America by German immigrants.

In the early 19th century, Christmas trees were still being decorated with candles, nuts and fruit. An 1840s a picture of Queen Victoria’s Christmas tree appeared in a London newspaper decorated with glass ornaments and baubles from her German husband Prince Albert. Glass baubles were first made in the 1840s, by Hans Greiner, in Lauscha, Germany, an alpine town skilled in glass blowing. He originally produced glass fruit and nuts along with glass beads on rope to be hung on trees. Queen Victoria set off an export frenzy across Europe and when F.W Woolworths imported them, the popularity spread across America.

And here we are today, with the commercial boom of Santa Claus spreading into all cultures across the world, but all adapted to suit local climates, histories and sensitivities.

Merry Christmas from all of us

Michael Van Clarke

 

 

 

 





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