The tradition of decorating the Christmas tree with toys originated in ancient times. The fashion for toys has changed over the years, materials have become more reliable and safe, but the desire to dress up a furry forest beauty has remained unchanged.
It is believed that the first time to decorate the Christmas tree before the New Year began in Germany. It was there that at the beginning of the 16th century the well-known Martin Luther walked through the woods on Christmas Eve and stopped to enjoy the sky. The radiance of twinkling stars surprised the German theologian: he thought that the branches of all the trees were literally strewn with flowers and twinkling lights. When the reformer returned to his house, he placed a Christmas tree in a barrel in the room, decorated it with small candles, and crowned the crown of the head with an eight-pointed star in memory of the same luminary who showed the magi the way to the place where the baby Jesus was born.
The tradition quickly took root, and a few years later, in all houses on the New Year, small trees began to be decorated with nuts, apples and other sweets.
By the beginning of the 19th century, they began to decorate the Christmas tree in other European countries, as well as tradition reached the shores of America. At first, the branches were decorated with candles and sweet fruits, and already in the XX century, elements of decor from cotton wool, as well as cardboard, clay, wax and glass, firmly entered into fashion.
In our country, Peter the Great introduced the tradition of putting a Christmas tree. Even when he was very young, he spent a lot of time with his relatives from Germany and noticed a small spruce decorated with sweets and oranges. This idea was so liked by the future ruler that as soon as he became emperor, he immediately issued a special decree to celebrate New Year in the same way as in the countries of the Old World.
Unfortunately, after the death of the reformer, the mandate began to be ignored, and the tree again became a symbol of the New Year holiday only a few centuries later.
Germany was also the first country to start making Christmas tree decorations. It was from there that the products were delivered to pre-revolutionary Russia, and at that time they were available only to the elite: jewelry was sold only in very rich galleries in Moscow and St. Petersburg. By the way, buying a glass bag for a Russian at that time was the same as buying a car for a modern resident of our country. Porcelain figurines and glass goods were very popular then. They served as a measure of luxury, wealth and high origin, but balls were then too heavy, since they began to produce thin glass only at the end of the 20th century.
We established our own manufacture of Christmas toys only during the First World War in the town of Klin. At the production there, they made glass flasks and devices for pharmacists, but during the war years, prisoners showed our technologists how to create glass beads, as well as unusual balls for Christmas trees.
However, in the country for several years there was a ban on the celebration of the New Year, which was completely lifted only in 1935. It was then that they began to everywhere produce jewelry for fluffy pines. However, in those difficult years, the Soviet Union did not have enough raw materials for making such expensive jewelry, so they preferred cotton products made in the best Soviet traditions. The very first elements of the decor depicted the main attributes of the Soviet state: a sickle, a hammer, a flag. And a little later, jewelry appeared depicting athletes, pioneers and polar explorers. Over time, peaceful life began to improve, people began to forget about the nightmares of the war period, so the toys became kinder. In large numbers on the shelves appeared images of wizards and small forest animals. Vegetables, berries and fruits, as well as multi-colored dolls that symbolized the friendship of peoples in the fraternal republics, were popular.
In the 60s, glassware products in the form of cones, as well as icicles and beads came into fashion, ball products became popular from the 70s, and in the early 90s domestic production mastered the production of plastic and foam rubber ornaments. Since then, the fashion for Christmas decorations has repeatedly changed, new decors, designs and materials used have appeared, so today you can find a wide selection of any Christmas decorations on the shelves: from retro to trendy hi-tech.
Christmas toys are divided into two main types: Christmas garlands and Christmas figures. New Year's garland is recognized as decoration, without which not a single New Year's holiday is complete. They can be luminous. Such products have several modes of operation and can shine with a variety of shades of Christmas lights. However, there are other types of garlands: they are made of paper, foil, tinsel and glass beads.
Christmas toys are made in a variety of decors: angels, animals, birds, cones, icicles, cute animals or simple pyramids. And, of course, not a single tree can do without sparkling balls, which for many decades have enjoyed the unchanging love of consumers around the world.
Christmas balls differ from each other in design and material. In previous years, they were mainly made of glass, but recently plastic products replaced this dangerous and easily breakable material. They are not as beautiful as glass ones, but for families with small children and pets it is worth choosing them. Plastic is a durable material that does not break, and even if it does crack, it will not be able to damage a child or a beloved pet.
And, of course, the final details that will make the image of the Christmas tree more stylish and complete will be rain and Christmas ribbons with bows. They complement New Year's decor and emphasize its beauty and richness.
In Soviet times, papier-mâché toys were widely used. This material is a dense substance, which is obtained by grinding paper pulp and mixing it with an adhesive component, gypsum or chalk. In the Soviet Union, such toys were made by hand, and the production was quite laborious and took a lot of time: obtaining raw materials, molding, filling and priming, and then finishing grinding and painting, and between each stage it was supposed to be dried at a temperature of 40 to 65 degrees . At the final stage, the toys were covered with a layer of berthollet salt, which made the surface very smooth and shimmering.
The assortment of jewelry produced at that time was mostly toys depicting animals, as well as figures of the main storytellers of the New Year's holiday: Santa Claus and his granddaughter Snegurochka. By the way, these toys are rather highly appreciated by collectors, so if you find such products in your grandmother's chest, you can try to sell them very profitably. Like all other antiquities, they have a rather big price.
More primitive and affordable toys can be called cartoning - these are images that are cut out from convex dense cardboard, glued and coated on top with silver or gold paint. Such toys have now lost their relevance, and in times of total shortage, they enjoyed the great love of our compatriots, because at that time they were affordable, and most importantly - cheap. They could be found in every store and even ordered through the mail, because the catalogs of top models were published in many Soviet magazines and newspapers.
Most often they depicted birds and animals, as well as stars, bells and snowflakes. Now most users give the palm to jewelry made of plastic - these are cheap toys, but at the same time attractive and safe. However, often toxic materials are used as raw materials, therefore, toys should be purchased only from trustworthy manufacturers and it is imperative to require a seller's certificate of compliance and a hygiene certificate.
At the time of our mothers, glass products were the most popular.
The very first decorations from this material were made in the form of balls, beads, as well as icicles and cones. They were much more massive than the current ones, since at that moment they were made of rather thick mirror glass. Over time, the technology for making glass toys has improved, and today you can buy very thin and elegant models that will become a real decoration of the main New Year tree.
It should be noted that glass models are much more expensive than plastic ones, but they look more impressive. Glass has a very interesting play of light and colors, as well as the melodic chime that occurs whenever toys accidentally collide with each other. All this creates an atmosphere of mystery and a premonition of magic, which is so necessary for both children and adults. The only minus of Christmas tree decorations made of glass is their fragility, however, if children do not touch them, then with careful storage they can please their owners for many years.
Fans of eco-style and country will love toys made of wood and textiles. They bring a feeling of warmth and coziness into the house, they are very attractive and practical, for many years they retain their appearance and consumer features. Such products are best used in combination with glass or plastic, but so that they are matched to the main ones - only then will they emphasize the concept of New Year's decor and put the right accents.
Some prefer edible decorations. To create an atmosphere, the Christmas tree is often decorated with orange circles and chocolate figures. The choice is great, so in every store selling Christmas toys, you can buy products that will not only be affordable, but will also be stylish, beautiful and atmospheric.
In the old days, instead of Christmas tree decorations, sweets, gingerbread houses and cotton wool were most often used. A little later, drawings made on glossy paper came into fashion.
Today, the design of jewelry is more diverse, but there are a number of models that have remained popular for very many years.
- New Year's angels. This jewelry has been relevant for over a hundred years. Such a toy was first created in 1880, and since then the images of angels are always present in the festive decoration, especially in those families where not only the New Year is revered, but also Christmas.
- Balls are a decoration that was, is and will probably be for many decades at the peak of popularity. For the first time, such jewelery was made by German craftsmen, but soon the fashion for them captured Europe, and from there it passed to Russia and America. A Christmas tree without balls is a rarity these days, most often it is these figures that become the main decorative element, and all the rest are already included, emphasizing and shading the color and style of decorations.
- Tinsel is another indispensable attribute of New Year's decoration. Initially, it was made of silver, but soon in Germany they created the formula for its substitute, which became more popular. The fact is that jewelry made of natural silver fades over time, but the appearance and luster of tinsel remains unchanged for many years.
- New Year's candles. This jewelry was the very first in history, but over time its relevance has not changed. Candles create a magical atmosphere filled with comfort, warmth and premonition of a fairy tale. Of course, no one is currently using real candles, since this is quite dangerous, since it often leads to fires, but candle-shaped toys and flickering decorations are in high demand among residents all over the world. They seem to symbolize joy, light and are considered an indispensable attribute of the New Year and Christmas.
Toy design can be anything. Recently, horoscope symbols and trendy abstract figures have been very popular, and they are produced in a variety of colors and shades. You can decorate the tree in silver-blue tones, you can give preference to red colors that are in perfect harmony with gold, and snow-white decors are also popular. The scope for imagination is unlimited, but it is important to think through all the New Year’s decor in advance to the smallest detail so that the tree becomes strong, luxurious, but very cozy.
Everyone wants his New Year tree to be not only elegant, but also stylish. This creates a unique aura in the house, emphasizes the features of the interior and design concept. Recently, vintage retro decoders have been very popular. In this case, the Christmas tree is decorated with bright multi-colored balls, and also complement them with images of fairy-tale characters, animals or watches. All this as if plunges into the memories of a happy childhood. The jewelry inherited from your grandmothers and mothers will look very good, however, if you wish, you can buy artificially aged. Usually, these are homemade fabric items (the so-called attic toys), as well as polystyrene decorations in the form of icicles, balls and snowflakes.
The finishing touch, without which the image will not be completed, will be the figures of Santa Claus with the Snow Maiden , a red star on the top and plenty of rain. Ecostyle is gaining more and more popularity, especially among lovers of a healthy lifestyle, who try to use only the safest materials in everything. In this case, you can decorate the tree with nuts, small apples, oranges and miniature chocolate figures. Gouache-colored cones look very stylish.
A little advice: so that the tree does not look too lurid and motley, it is worth designing it in a single color scheme. The cones and nuts painted with white, red or gold paint look very elegant, and you can dilute all this with gingerbread cookies or toys made from natural materials, for example, from polymer clay.
The room, decorated in a modern style, will decorate the European tree. In the countries of the Old World, it is customary to decorate trees in a single color. As a rule, shades of red and blue are used, diluting it with silver or gold shimmer. The main decoration in such design decisions are balls, but they can be tinted with bows or ribbons, but tinsel in this case does not need to be used.
Combinations of red and white, gold and tea, blue and silver are considered very advantageous, and the union of red and white jewelry is also very good. For lovers of a luxurious lifestyle, you can recommend the royal style of New Year's decor. In this case, they use a large branchy tree, which is decorated with massive toys so tightly that the branches are almost imperceptible. As a rule, they use balls, large flowers and bows of various textures: jewelry can be satin, silk or textile, glass or expensive plastic is popular. As for the color scheme, it is selected so that the main motive is the dark shades of blue or burgundy.
But for interiors in the high-tech style, it is worthwhile to dwell on minimalism in the New Year's decor. Of course, this does not mean that the Christmas tree should be left without toys, but their number should be minimized (5-7 large balls are enough), and you can create a festive mood by abundantly sprinkling the tree with sparkles and fixing them with hairspray. Today you can meet even the most extraordinary Christmas trees, for example, inverted, geometric or created from books - there are no restrictions for imagination, because the New Year was invented so that everyone could fully express their imagination and realize their creative potential.
To make the New Year tree shine with beauty, it is important to think over the idea of New Year's decor, but the aesthetic component is far from the only moment that you should pay attention to when choosing New Year decorations.
The most important thing is the safety of the acquired Christmas tree decorations. Unfortunately, in the New Year’s race, many do not pay attention to the quality of the purchased toys, and in vain: unscrupulous manufacturers quite often make their toys from low-quality and often even dangerous materials.
The second thing you should pay attention to is the fragility of products. If you have small children or active pets in the house, especially cats, then make every effort so that your New Year tree has as little as possible easily breaking ornaments. If you do not want to refuse them, then at least hang them as high as possible, wherever your beloved child or a curious animal can not get.
In general, materials such as plastic, clay, textiles or polystyrene can be preferred. Make sure that there is no chemical smell and high quality paintwork. While still in the store, make sure that the paint and varnish layer of the decoration is stable. To do this, moisten your finger with saliva and rub the jewelry: if spots on the skin appear from the paint, then definitely you should refuse to buy.
The same applies to the smell - the purchased product should not smell anything. Any impurities clearly indicate that the manufacture of products used cheap materials, which most often emit harmful volatile substances. Check all clothespins and hinges. If the clamps are not made correctly, then with the slightest touch to the pine tree the toys will begin to fall and break. Unfortunately, most of the products brought from China have such a drawback, so you have to adjust the fasteners yourself and use additional elements: threads or paper clips.
Try to avoid materials that melt easily ; discard flammable jewelry. Remember that the statistics of fires on New Year's holidays is very sad, and most of them are associated with the illiterate use of Christmas tree decorations. If possible, give preference to eco-toys: they are much more expensive, but this is more than compensated by their durability. And, of course, the fact that you will be sure at any time that your baby will not receive chemical poisoning, and that you will not earn asthma or allergies, is important.
Do not forget about the practicality of your acquisitions. Spending a considerable part of the budget every year is an uninteresting idea, so try choosing toys to dwell on such an option that decorations can last at least 3-5 seasons. Keep in mind that it is not enough to properly store decor elements for this - it is also important to purchase only products of the appropriate quality from trusted manufacturers with all the necessary certificates confirming that the products comply with sanitary and technological standards.
Toys with sparkles look very beautiful, but often such a coating crumbles, gets into the respiratory tract and causes allergies. Therefore, do not hesitate to shake them at the store and check the strength of the coating. Try not to buy heavy jewelry. In this case, the branch begins to bend under the weight of the toy, and it, in turn, can easily slip and break from it. Consider the size of the room when buying toys. It would seem that they are in no way connected - this is not so. In a small room you can put only a miniature Christmas tree, and large toys are unlikely to look good on it.
Well, of course, carefully study the packaging. It must contain information about the manufacturer, his contact information, as well as markings. Otherwise, boldly turn around - in front of you is a fake.
Decorated with New Year's toys, the tree is the main symbol of the New Year.
At the peak of popularity today, soft attic toys, vintage decorations made of ceramics, salt dough and plywood.
Probably, many remember the cotton snowmen from our childhood. Surely, many grandmothers preserved such in the chest.
But for lovers of Art Nouveau and minimalism, exclusive curly modern jewelry in high-tech style is suitable.
And some more beautiful examples.
See how to make Christmas decorations with your own hands in the next video.