When choosing ornaments for your Christmas tree you are truly spoilt for choice. The colour scheme used to be so simple, originating in the ancient Celtic celebration of the winter solstice. Holly plants were believed to bring beauty and good fortune for the new year. Over time this habit of putting up red and green holly transformed into the well-known tradition of hanging red and green decorations across the world.
Nowadays you are practically invited to choose a new “theme” for your tree every year, be it Egyptian with peacock feather baubles, goth-style all in black or sugary pink with ballerinas. For the Christmas Connoisseur who is looking for something extra special, Fortnum and Mason at the Royal Exchange sell an Afternoon Tea Tray hanging decoration sporting their iconic Eau de Nil colours. Swarovski in One New Change offer an Annual Edition Ornament, a snowflake crafted with 110 sparkling crystal facets.
Not quirky enough? How about the Christmas Pickle? Legend has it that it was an old German tradition to hide a glass pickle ornament in the family Christmas tree and the first child to find it would get a special treat. The problem with this tale is that few Germans seem to be familiar with the custom. Upon further investigation it was ruled that the Christmas Pickle likely originated in the United States. Interestingly enough you can now buy these green glass ornament at German Christmas markets and no doubt they will find their way to London too.
Another unusual tradition originates from Sweden, the Yule Goat, dating back to at least the 11th century where there are mentions of a man-sized goat figure, led by Saint Nicholas, who had the power to control the devil. The image changed during the centuries and by the 19th century, the goat became a giver of gifts (men in the family dressed up as the goat instead of Father Christmas!) Today the Yule Goat has taken its place in modern history as a traditional Christmas ornament on trees throughout Sweden.