Decorating Christmas trees is a tradition pulled from German culture. When British Queen Victoria married German Prince Albert, the prince introduced the evergreen tree decorating tradition to England in the mid-1800’s. Earlier than that, German settlers in America were displaying their heritage with decorated Christmas trees. Initially, decorations on Christmas trees might include small packets of candies, cookies, strings of dried fruits and nuts, or real strips of thin silver used for tinsel. A Christmas tree topper, the decoration that sets at the highest point on the tree, was made to look unique, like no other ornament on the tree.
Angel – An angel Christmas tree topper is indicative of an angelic presence looking down over us. The angel is feminine, with long hair, outspread wings, and her hands may be in prayer fashion or holding candles in the form of electric twinkle lights or her hands may be holding a book, like a hymnal or Bible. Her long, flowing white dress hides the cylinder that holds her securely to the top limb of the tree as if she were hovering there.
Crown – Made of lightweight material, like cardboard or plastic, the crown Christmas tree topper can be painted in colors to complement the other decorations on the tree. Add glass or plastic “gems”, ribbon or rickrack, or glitter to make the crown standout.
Grouped Lights – Grouping a single color of lights, like using a short string of clear lights while the rest of the Christmas tree is decked with colored lights, can be an inexpensive way to add a bright topper decoration to the top of the tree. Wind the short string of lights around the upper most limb of the Christmas tree. This Christmas tree topper decoration idea works well on outdoor evergreen trees too.
Snowflake – Remember the snowflakes cut from paper? Those are still a stylish way to deck the halls and the tree! Create a large paper snowflake, spray it with glue and then sprinkle on the glitter. Tape the snowflake to an empty toilet tissue roll to add it to the tree.
Star – A star, representative of the star over the manger in Bethlehem, like an angel, is a common topper as a Christmas tree decoration. The star will have five or more points and may or may not be illuminated with twinkle lights. The non-lit star may be covered with reflective material like glitter or glass beads. The homemade cardboard star may get its reflection from more than one source, like aluminum foil or white paper sprayed with glue and then sprinkled with glitter. The homemade star can be secured to an empty toilet tissue roll to fit it atop the Christmas tree.
Artificial Poinsettia – The poinsettia is a traditional Christmas flower, now available in life-like artificial form at craft centers. Look for the artificial poinsettia with the velvety feel and rich, authentic colors. Choose three to five of the same color to create a poinsettia bouquet to top the Christmas tree.
Bow – A large red velvet or plaid bow with long streamers adds a homey touch to the Christmas tree. Other bow options to consider are large puffy bows in shiny silver, gold, or white and also with long streamers.
1846 Depiction of Prince Albert and Queen Elizabeth’s Christmas Tree
Early German Settlers
Non-traditional Christmas Trees