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Why do we use Christmas baubles?

Think Christmas, and images of wintery lights and beautifully decorated trees probably come to mind. For the Christmas season, one of the most common baubles to be found is the angel bauble.

The bauble originated in the 1800s as a kind of Christmas stocking filler in Germany. As well as being hung on the Christmas tree, the star of the piece would be hung on the top of the grandmother's tree in a ritual known as "Weihnachtsfrühling", or the "Christmas flower picking".

A child would put an angel ornament in their grandmother's decoration in preparation for the celebration of Christmas. It was a tradition to hang up a jewelled Christmas decoration on the Christmas tree on the night before Christmas.

Over the past two centuries, the Christmas bauble has gone through numerous versions and variations. Many are found in the shape of flowers or animals, or are decorated with

Australian baubles

The angel or star of the piece was traditionally made of silver and would be given as a gift on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.

The combination of the shiny bauble, large flower, and traditional holly garland still remains today, but the angel and star have been redesigned in Australia to include decorations such as beaded fringe and sparkles.

Weihnachtsfrühling, or Christmas flower picking, is still very popular. More than 90% of Australians agree that the Christmas Baubles in Australia has great cultural significance. Even though the tradition is now becoming less common, it has still been described as "a very traditional part of the Christmas experience in Australia" by a newspaper.

sparkling, shiny gemstones.

How Christmas trees get made

These ornaments originated in Germany as flower decorations, the most common being "Präsidium": an angel or crown of flowers made of lily-of-the-valley. The ornament was first designed around 1850 and was originally used on the top of a porcelain toilet. It wasn't until the year 1900, when Christoph Clavius from the Dresden Museum of Decorative Arts created an angel ornament, which could be hung on the Christmas tree without damaging the porcelain, that the angel bauble really took off.

After the Second World War, German design houses started to manufacture baubles in the same style and these are now seen all over the world. The Americanised ‘celebration’ of Christmas that comes from the greeting card and all around the table is just not the same. If you grew up in a country where there was little or no influence of the so-called ‘millennial’ generations, like myself, Christmas has now been ‘tweaked’. I don’t remember it from my childhood but to quote an Instagram meme, “the new style of Christmas is a glass of vodka in one hand and a cigarette in the other.”

Now I admit, this isn’t really ‘Christmas’ but in a country where most of us have our own traditions and don’t actually want to play into the other ‘celebrity’ cultures, such as the English Christmas Carols, or Spanish Valencias, this is what we actually do. I can remember one Christmas in particular when I had a different idea and I got into so much trouble for it. One of my friends had won the ultimate ‘Christmas prize’ and this was that she was going to be babysitting all day for the rich family who lived down the road.

David Marsden

The bauble has remained a popular decoration in Australia ever since. Its original function has been adapted for the Australian environment.

A child would put an angel ornament in their grandmother's decoration in preparation for the celebration of Christmas. It was a tradition to hang up a jewelled Christmas decoration on the Christmas tree on the night before Christmas.

Over the past two centuries, the Christmas bauble has gone through numerous versions and variations. Many are found in the shape of flowers or animals, or are decorated with sparkling, shiny gemstones. Christmas baubles in Australia are in the form of silver fish, which is the perfect symbol for the abundant life Australians enjoy every year, despite its short life-span.

I'm not saying I haven't been to a Christmas dinner where there was turkey, prawns, cheeseballs and bubbly in abundance. I have, and it was OK. What I am saying is that there is nothing like a Christmas dinner in Australia where there is fresh kangaroo in abundance, when people are happy because of the joys in their lives and the acknowledgement that one man and a few farmers made it happen.

So why are baubles popular in Australia? There are many reasons.

Baubles are popular because they symbolise celebrations of the winter season and the symbolism of the white Christmas. It's a tradition to celebrate Christmas in December. That's why so many people shop and exchange presents in the winter months, because the Christmas period is the most significant time of the year for them.

The popularity of the bauble is also rooted in the tropical climate of Australia, which allows us to enjoy Christmas without the high temperatures and smog of colder, northern climates. These ornaments originated in Germany as flower decorations, the most common being "Präsidium": an angel or crown of flowers made of lily-of-the-valley. The ornament was first designed around 1850 and was originally used on the top of a porcelain toilet. It wasn't until the year 1900, when Christoph Clavius from the Dresden Museum of Decorative Arts created an angel ornament, which could be hung on the Christmas tree without damaging the porcelain, that the angel bauble really took off.

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