The Victorians decorated their Christmas trees very differently than we decorate ours. They used painstakingly made homemade ornaments and edible ornaments to deck out their trees. Since many of the methods used by the Victorians to ornament their trees were unsafe, excessively difficult or time consuming, it’s best to take a modern approach toward creating a Victorian-style Christmas tree.
The Victorian Christmas Tree: What Kind to Use?
When Prince Albert brought the Christmas tree from Germany to England in 1841, the popular Christmas tree was a Norwegian fir tree used on a tabletop with an attractive white damask tablecloth. The floor-to-ceiling Christmas tree wasn’t used in England until the late Victorian period.
When creating a Victorian Christmas tree, you can use either a tabletop tree, a floor-to-ceiling tree, or both. However, in the interest of preserving the environment, be sure to recycle or mulch your natural Christmas tree at the end of the holiday season.
Candles created a beautiful aura on Victorian Christmas trees. Unfortunately, they also started fires. Today, we can create the look of a Victorian Christmas tree by applying electric clip on candle lights to the branches of the tree. Victorian-style electric Christmas tree candle lights can be found in plug in and battery powered versions.
Ornaments for the Victorian Christmas Tree
Victorian ladies exhibited an amazing attention to detail when making their homemade ornaments. They made attractive decorations for the tree using a variety of materials. They made ornaments from ribbons of satin, velvet or lace. They made small toys into Christmas ornaments. They also hung bags of sweetmeats (small candied pieces of fruit) tied with a ribbon. Real fruit, small cakes and tiny bird cages and nests also adorned the Victorian Christmas tree. German glass ornaments were also a feature on the Christmas trees of wealthier Victorians. Victorians also made homemade cornucopias to hang from the tree, then filled them with fruit or candy. They also enjoyed making garlands of raisins and nuts. Tinsel was made from cleverly cut tin foil gleaned from sources like the florist’s shop or bars of chocolate. Today, we can make these ornaments with metallic Christmas paper, craft foil or pieces of paper with aluminum foil glued to each side.
For more Christmas tree decorating ideas, read Pine Cone Christmas Tree Ornament Craft Project and Sculpey Gingerbread Man Christmas Ornament Project.
“Christmas at the Queen Victoria.” QueenVictoria.com
“Victorian Christmas Tree,” Victoriana.com
“The Victoria and Albert Christmas Tree.” ChristmasMagazine.com
“Christmas Traditions – The Christmas Tree Custom” Fashion-Era.com
“Christmas Trees.” Kent.SCH.uk