Most of us recognise decorating the Christmas tree with baubles, candy canes tinsel and such like. But it isn’t like that all over the world.
In the Ukraine for example, it isn’t baubles that festoon Christmas trees, it’s spider webs. Legend has it that a poor widow could not afford to decorate a tree for her children. The tale goes that spiders in the house took pity on the family’s plight, and spun beautiful webs all over the tree, which the children awoke to find on Christmas morning.
In France centuries ago, real fruit was used to decorate Christmas trees. This practice had to be stopped after a bad harvest one year but, in their place, glass ornaments were used to symbolise the fruit. Red apple decorations are commonly seen on French trees, due to their strong religious association with the Garden of Eden.
In America, families still follow the tradition of decorating their tree with popcorn on a string (extremely popular in the 50s and 60s). It is believed this originates from when outdoor Christmas trees were decorated with food for birds and other wildlife.
As Christmas is not really celebrated in Japan, those who do were left with little choice for Christmas tree decorations. So handmade origami birds were used as a pretty ornament on many Japanese Christmas trees.
As Christmas falls during Australia’s summer months, Australian’s can be found decorating their tree with several types of shell decorations.
For more unusual Christmas tree traditions visit the House Beautiful website .