A tradition of evergreen boughs and decorations
during the winter solstice dates back to early civilizations. However, the Christmas tree as we’ve come to understand it did not gain much popularity in the USA until around 1846 during the reign of Queen Victoria.
An illustrated image of the Queen’s opulently decorated tree began circulating and masses were hooked! But the size of an individual family’s pocketbook was varied in the past even as they are today. Many common items were used as decorations to very good effect. It is my opinion that the artistry of mother nature is challenging to surpass. Along with holly berries, nuts, or pinecones from nature, paper was often an easily available resource for fashioning ornaments to put on the tree.
Martha’s first Christmas at Shaw Point
Many readers of my historical novel, Shaw Point, expressed interest in the paper ornaments mentioned. During her first Christmas at the abandoned farmhouse, Martha doesn’t attempt to decorate but she does wish to spread some cheer and connect with those she has left behind in Roanoke. Inside her letter she tucked a small gift of pretty paper ornaments sent with well wishes.
Lucy removed the delicate paper snowflake from the envelope…”See, Harold, she (Martha) has not forgotten us. She sent holiday greetings and this lovely ornament for our tree.”
Make your own paper Christmas ornaments!
This month the blog will share some ideas for your own paper Christmas ornaments. Did you create the simple paper chain garland as a kid? I bet so, but the ornament patterns included here are slightly more intricate. But not difficult! One is for a dove requiring patience for paper folding. Experiment using different colors or pattern of paper. Of course, there is a quiet beauty to filling evergreen branches with snow white doves, strings of crimson cranberries, and golden stars.
A second option shown uses patterns. You cut out the paper template and assemble as described. You can make them as colorful or traditional as your imagination wills. And, although this post is all about using paper, if you prefer fabric and sewing, you could create similar ornaments. Especially if you want to create a simple gingerbread man or candy cane. Making those from cloth or felt and adding on buttons or beads for extra dimension would certainly be tree worthy.
Ideas and options from other sources
Here is another blogger’s post on using paper straws to create ornaments for your tree. It isn’t exactly what Martha may have purchased during 1918, but YOU might enjoy creating these.
Of course, you could do a search on Esty or Pinterest and buy some from experienced crafters!
Whatever decorations or celebrations you choose this winter, I am wishing you blessed and peaceful holidays!