Evolution of Christmas Decorations: Traditions Through the Years

The way we celebrate Christmas has evolved over time, but the bond formed over family togetherness stay the same. Read on as Tree Classics shows you how our decorations have changed through the years.

Early 1800s

  1. Most people in the early 1800s did not observe Christmas. Many Christians at the time felt that it was too closely associated with its pagan roots from Europe. Those who did celebrate Christmas chose modest decorations usually placed on a small table.
  2. Some groups started to decorate trees with popcorn garlands or cookies baked into festive shapes.

Late 1800s

  1. People often selected 4-foot trees.
  2. Christmas tree embellishments became more ornate and intricate during the Victorian era. Decorations included shiny, elegant ornaments, and elaborate garlands.
  3. Many great traditions began in the late 1800’s. R.H. Pease printed the first Christmas cards in the 1850’s, but Louis Prang turned them into a mainstream tradition in the 1870’s. Harper’s Weekly illustrator Thomas Nast created our modern image of Santa Claus in 1863. He’s also the one who placed Santa’s home in the North Pole, along with the toy-making elves.
  4. Gift giving wasn’t a popular tradition until the 1870’s. People would customize store-bought products and give them as presents to friends and family.

Early 1900’s

  1. People started decorating with taller Christmas trees as high as their ceilings.
  2. Christmas wreaths became popular in America. Wreaths were mostly made from evergreen tree branches.
  3. By the late 1920’s, we begin seeing candy canes as decorations.
  4. Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s famous Nutcracker made decorating with little wooden soldiers a whimsical Christmas tradition.

Late 1900’s

  1. People used to cut down live trees and bring them home. As time passed, not only did the tree size change, but the type of tree as well. Most people started to buy artificial trees that they could assemble and take down year after year.
  2. By the 1950’s, most ornaments in Europe and Japan began to change shape. The ornaments were hollowed out and acted as tiny showcases for a variety of Christmas scenes.
  3. Christmas light strings lit up our outdoors and became a popular trend in the 1960’s.

Modern Day

  1. Artificial trees are now available in different colors including white, silver, apart from the traditional green.
  2. Christmas tree lighting technology has also improved. Energy-efficient LED lights can perform a variety of tasks such as simultaneously blinking to Christmas music and changing colors to give the tree a different look.

Christmas has evolved from a small holiday celebrated by a few, to a popular and more meaningful worldwide celebration. One thing stays constant with Christmas–no matter where you are in the world or how you choose to decorate your home, Christmas will always be a time of togetherness and creating beautiful memories with family and loved ones. Happy Holidays from Tree Classics!

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