The Christmas Tree – #CIJParty 2018

Contributor post by Mairi from mairidesign

One cold winter’s night, Martin Luther was walking through a pine forest near his home in Wittenberg when he looked up and saw thousands of stars glinting jewel-like among the branches of the trees. This wondrous sight inspired him to set up a candle-lit fir tree in his house that Christmas.

Long before Christianity, however, people in the Northern Hemisphere used evergreen plants to decorate their homes to celebrate the Winter Solstice. This was celebrated by the Egyptians, the Celts, the Vikings and the Romans, who decorated their homes and temples with green palm rushes or evergreen boughs in honour of their gods and to symbolise everlasting life.

The modern tradition of decorating trees indoors began in Germany in the 16th century. Open-air plays, telling the story of creation, were performed on Adam and Eve day, where the Garden of Eden was symbolised by a ‘paradise tree’ hung with fruit. The church banned these practices, considering them acts of heathenry, so people collected evergreen branches or trees and brought them, secretly, into their homes. On these, families would hang lit candles, gingerbread, gold covered apples, roses made from coloured paper, wafers and sweets.

This eventually reached the shores of the United Kingdom, when Queen Charlotte, the German wife of George III, set up the first known British tree in 1800. She held a large Christmas party for the children of all the principal families in Windsor and set up a yew tree in the middle of the drawing-room, illuminated by small wax candles, and decorated with baubles, fruit and presents. Christmas trees then became fashionable in English upper-class circles, where they formed the focal point at children’s gatherings.

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It wasn’t until half a century later, that the tradition took hold. In 1840, Queen Victoria’s husband, Prince Albert, imported several spruce firs from his native Coburg. Each year, magazines would describe the royal Christmas tree and print illustrations of the Royal Family around it, popularising the custom of setting up trees, which became commonplace in British homes.

Over the Atlantic, in the 1880s, Woolworth brought the magic of Christmas tree decorating into American homes. After a visit to Europe, F.W. Woolworth began importing holiday ornaments from Lauscha, Germany, the small village where hand-blown glass ornaments originated.

Response to the affordable, miniature glass toys was tremendous. More than 250 million ornaments were being imported to the United States from Germany, Japan and Czechoslovakia. But, as war broke out, it became difficult to export ornaments from Germany. In 1939, the American company Corning began producing ornaments on a larger scale, using a machine originally designed to produce glass bulbs.
Nowadays, in the U.S.A., 35 million Christmas trees are sold annually, with an additional 10 million artificial trees, and 300 million Christmas trees are grown in farms around the world.

So, each Christmas, as you decorate your tree, you can recall the origins of this festive custom and delight your family with stories full of holiday spirit.

Sources:

https://www.zmescience.com

https://www.historytoday.com

https://www.whychristmas.com

http://www.peopleticker.com

Thanksgiving Day Decorating

Contributor post by Alicia of AliciasFindings

When the Holidays roll around there are always a few things we begin to think of, including: family,friends,gift buying,food and of course decorating!

The CIJ team got together and told us how they would use some of their items to decorate, from the table to the little details.

Marjorie Scenna of mscenna says:

Thanksgiving is a time for family and feasting! What’s better than a glass of wine to make a toast? With many so many folks around, having charms to distinguish the glasses is a great addition to your place settings! I have fall colored wine charms to do the trick!

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Sue of HomeHolidayAssecori tells me:

Table centerpieces are daunting – you want something for the occasion but not to tall so as to obscure the person(s) across the table. The turkey centerpiece can be filled with gourds and nuts or use it as a caddy for the rolls.

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Sue and Misty of shabbyshopgirls says:

We love to use “Vintage” for our Thanksgiving Table! Set yours with a vintage tablecloth and centerpieces such as these! Great conversation pieces and can be used for generations to come!

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Diana of AcarrdianCards talks about:

Personalized place cards for thanksgiving tables. Can also be used to label food on a buffet.

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Cindy R of PlethoraGifts lets me know:

Here are some jute webbing table setting pieces I’ve created that would be perfect for Thanksgiving!

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Brooke Luallen of teandsugar says:

Great items to add to your beautiful tablescape for Thanksgiving or autumn family gatherings. The table is a place to create memories, catch up, and enjoy time with loved ones.

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Rebecca G of PearlandPoppyShop spoke about:

Banners can be a festive touch!

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Terry Tillman of TheFabricScore states:

This could be made into a great welcoming banner for all your Thanksgiving Day guests to see as they walk in the door!

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Nautico Creations said:

This would be great on a fireplace mantle or on a side table.

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Patricia and Rebecca of northandsouthshabby discussed:

he days surrounding Thanksgiving are ones filled with nostalgia and warmth. What better way to spread that cozy feeling than with some vintage shabby goodness!

Our updated Syroco Fruit Swag, a 70’s version of the traditional Thanksgiving cornucopia, is done in a neutral creamy white. It would blend in with any decor hue. A welcoming greeting on a protected doorway, wall, or even laid flat on a mantle or buffet!

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Lia Russo of Ghirlandiamo told me:

I’m from Italy and Thanksgiving is not celebrated here.
I appreciated a lot your interesting comments about celebrating this holiday, also with your nice items too, that I faved with pleasure.

Anyway what I love in this period and in Thanksgiving is warm colors of decorations too.
Fot this reason I tried to be near you in spirit, by creating some fall wreaths, suitable to adorn your homes for your important holiday.

I hope you can feel that and enjoy my wreaths.

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Myrna Neal of ShopOfCraftsByMyrna spoke of:

Decorative Fabric Pumpkins! Use them in so many places for your Thanksgiving entertaining…They can be used with placement cards attached at no extra charge. Then let each guest take home their individual pumpkin….Use a color scheme with all the colors of the pumpkins being the same or switch the colors around to enhance your Thanksgiving feast. Everyone enjoys a little bit of home and handmade fabric pumpkins are just that…. I make large, medium or small what ever size you like. The large sizes would be wonderful to decorate the table and the area around the table. Bring in the true colors of Thanksgiving with some live pumpkins and candles. When all brought together it brings in the warm feeling of family and home. I can smell the turkey hot in the oven, the yeast rolls, the potatoes, the gravy and the pumpkin pie!

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Amy Spock of BeadsandThreadsbyAmy said:

No matter how you decorate your home for Thanksgiving, don’t forget to take a little time for yourself! Dress up, fix your hair, and take a little me time. Be sure to protect your party dress with an apron. This bleachable, color fast apron also reminds those around you to show thanks for, well, you!

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So when the holidays come around don’t forget to decorate and most importantly to Have Fun!

May your Thanksgiving be filled with family, food and friends!