At Christmas tree festivals around the world, ornaments adorn trees fashioned by different groups of people. Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, nursing homes and day care facilities alike spend numerous hours in preparation for the Christmas ornament judging that will determine who decorated their trees with the most originality, the most modern way, the best old-world-charm way, the most creative, the most of whatever the judges deem worthy. Competitions erupt and there are more and more groups entering each and every year!
Christmas decorations come in all shapes, colors, and sizes. Some are made of food, some are made of metals and some are made of wood, fabric, paper and other materials that can creatively and inexpensively be turned into wonderful fabrications of anything that would resemble Christmas decorations. Cookies, candies and mixes for such are also created and make wonderful Christmas decorations!
Legend has it that martin luther began the tradition of decorating trees inside homes to celebrate Christmas. On a winter Christmas Eve in the 1500’s, Martin Luther was walking through snow-covered woods and was struck by the beauty of a group of small evergreen trees dusted with snow. These shimmering trees inspired Martin Luther to set up a little fir tree indoors so he could share this story with his children. He decorated it with candles, which he lit in honor of Christ’s birth. Trying to simulate the reflections of the starlit heaven that looked down over Bethlehem on the first Christmas Eve, Martin Luther’s attempts are the first mention of a Christmas ornament.
Houses are not exempt from the traditions of decorating. The practice of adorning houses with evergreens at the January Kalends was common throughout the Roman Empire. A grim denunciation of such decorations and the lights which accompanied them may be quoted from Tertullian; “Let them kindle lamps, they who have no light; let them fix on the door posts laurels which shall afterwards be burnt, they for whom fire is close at hand; meet for them are testimonies of darkness and auguries of punishment. (divination from auspices or omens) Be thou art a light of the world and a tree that is evergreen; if thou hast renounced temples, make not a temple of thy own housedoor.” For this reason, those of you who feel that you are “in the light” can and should decorate your doors wit the evergreen…on the other hand, if you are a Scrooge, then your dark and grimly lit door will be met by those spirits…”those for whom fire is close at hand”.