Popular Christmas Ornaments

It’s never too early to begin thinking about the upcoming holiday season. As the summer months come to an end, Christmas decor will begin to appear on store shelves. An obvious staple to holiday decor is the Christmas tree. If you are someone who enjoys the tradition of decorating your tree the same annually, investing in a few new ornaments can help revitalize your tree. Inversely, if you enjoy the excitement of changing up your tree decor consider the most popular Christmas ornaments for inspiration. Monochromatic ornament color packages offer a great basis for changing your decor color scheme. If you’re looking for something to add to an existing assortment consider a classic candy cane or toy soldier ornament.

Coordinated Color Assortments

Assorted color ornament sets are the easiest way to build an ornament collection. If you are a new homeowner who is intimidated by the task of figuring out how to decorate your space, beginning with a staple color ornament package will lay the groundwork for the rest of your decor. Begin by deciding if you want a traditional decor style or something more modern and eccentric, this will inform the color you choose. Also consider whether you will be decorating a traditional green tree or a fake tree of a different color. Once you have your base color decided, you can build your collection with some of the other categories of ornaments. If you gravitate toward traditional decor consider adding candy cane or toy soldier ornaments in color ways that compliment your chosen base. 

Novelty Ornaments

The category of novelty ornaments encases anything fun and playful. Most make references to popular movies or TV shows. Others are meant for comical relief. Regardless, novelty ornaments offer a whimsical take on Christmas ornaments and decor as a whole. Novelty ornaments are great additions to gifts because they offer immense personalization potential. An ornament that references a friend’s favorite movie or an inside joke makes a gift even more meaningful than before. This ornament category works great with eccentric style decor because it is more likely to contain a wider assortment of colors than traditional ornaments. Furthermore, novelty ornaments are an amusing  and colorful addition to any ornament collection. 

christmas decore

Personalized Ornaments

The most important part of the holiday season is spending time with family. A common thread through most household decor during the holiday season is incorporating family pictures and memorabilia. Centered around the celebration of family love, this beautiful trend is certainly here to stay. A great way to incorporate family into your ornament assortment is through personalization. Ornaments that include personal dates, names, and faces are festive ways to commemorate special occasions. Similar to novelty ornaments, the personalized aspect makes these ornaments great additions to any holiday gift. In my family, each parent receives an ornament with their child’s name and birthdate written across in celebration of their first Christmas. Personalized ornaments are outstanding ways to celebrate family love and the special moments that  we experience through life.

Nutcrackers

The Nutcracker is a classic symbol of Christmas tradition. Possibly one of the most common decor pieces, not just among tree ornaments, the nutcracker is a great addition to any holiday home. Nutcracker ornaments can be found in a multitude of color combinations, ranging from more traditional reds and greens to more playful purples and pinks. This being said, you can certainly find a nutcracker to match any ornament color palette. Most people believe that these toy soldiers only fit into a traditional decoration style, this however is a common misconception. In an eccentric color, these nutcracker ornaments can fit right into a modern ornament assortment. If you already have nutcrackers on your tree, consider bringing this classic motif throughout the rest of your decor with a toy soldier statue.

out door nutcracker

Christmas Desserts Around The World

The holiday season wouldn’t be complete without a classic array of Christmas desserts. Accompanying savory holiday meals with indulgent sweets is tradition all over the world. From the German Stollen to the American candy cane, the treats may differ, but the camaraderie that they represent stays constant. In this post I will describe to you some of the most popular holiday desserts from places across the globe; hopefully inspiring you to try something new and learn more about traditions elsewhere. If you’re passionate about holiday treats, consider translating this into your decor with lighted candy canes.

The German Stollen

The Stollen originated from the city of Dresden in Germany. This flaky bread was created as a result of a bread baking contest in 1329. The contest was held by the Bishop of Nauruburg. After winning the heart of the Bishop, the stollen quickly won the competition. The stollen is a fruit bread often containing raisins, and other dried fruits, topped with icing and powdered sugar. At its time of origin, the stollen was baked into 30 pound loaves due to its large demand. The stollen holds great symbolic meaning; The shape of the bread is long and narrow, symbolizing the shape of baby Jesus swaddled in a blanket. The stollen quickly became a holiday staple in Dresden. 

The New Zealand/Australian Pavlova

The pavlova is a meringue shell topped with whipped cream and fruit garnish. The meringue consistency is crucial to the success of this dish because it acts as its foundation. This light and airy dessert is a staple in both New Zealand and Australia. In somewhat of a comrade rivalry, these two countries often fight for the credit of creating the pavlova. This dessert was inspired by a ballerina who toured New Zealand and Australia in 1926. New Zealand views the pavlova’s origin to have been in the kitchen of the Wellington Hotel where the shape was inspired by Anna Pavlova’s tutu. Australian tradition believes the dessert was created in Perth and named after the ballerina because it emulated her light and graceful dance style.

The Italian Panettone

The Panettone is a Christmas bread which gained popularity in Milan, Italy. Known for its light and buttery consistency, panettone is often filled with raisins, almonds, and fruit. The name of the dessert comes from the Italian word panetto, which translates to small loaf cake. The panettone is believed to have existed as far back as Ancient Rome. In 1919, a Milanese baker named Angelo Motta began producing Panettone loaves. Motta added the iconic cylindrical dome shape that the loaf still sports today. Since then, the panettone has become an Italian holiday staple, used to begin and end the day, with both breakfast and dessert.

The American Candy Cane

Arguably one of the most popular holiday treats in America today, candy canes originated in Cologne Germany. In 1670, a German choir master handed out sticks of sugar in an attempt to keep his choir occupied and quiet during the ceremony. It is said that the choir master bent the sugar sticks, in the spirit of holiday cheer, to resemble a shepherd’s crook. It wasn’t until 1847 that the candy cane made its American debut when brought over by a German-Swedish immigrant after he used them to decorate a tree. When candy canes began selling in America, they only consisted of a white color and lacked peppermint taste. In 1957, the machine used to automate the twisting of red and white sugar sticks was invented in America. Soon after, the candy cane adopted a peppermint flavor and became the holiday treat that we know today. Keeping with tradition, try using candy canes to decorate your tree or use lighted candy canes to decorate your yard for the holiday seasons to come.

 

Top Trends For 2021 Christmas Decor

santas chair

It is never too early to start planning your Christmas decorations for the upcoming season. Perhaps, you feel like every year you put out the same inflatable Santa Claus or outdoor nativity set and want to change up your routine. Christmas decor trends are the perfect place for anyone to draw inspiration. From color to proportion, the trends of the year can help guide you to decorate in a way that elevates your space while still conveying an overall sense of holiday cheer. 

Warm And Bright Color Schemes 

A true staple for the holiday season, the warm and bright color palette encompasses off whites, metallics, and warm-toned lighting. This trend is perfect for anyone who craves a comfortable space to relax in during the holiday season. To achieve this look, try adding candles to your space and decorating with differently proportioned greenery. A great addition includes wrapping gold-toned lights around any stairwell or exposed beams in your home. When decorating the tree, it’s best to stay in the neutral color palette, while basing your ornament assortment off of white or gold-toned lights. 

Nutcrackers

A classic holiday decor piece, nutcrackers have been around for ages. This year we will see a resurgence of the trend with a fun twist mostly nodding to color. In addition to the traditional red, blue, and green color palette we will begin to see other whimsical colors accented within their design. Consider experimenting with the proportion of the nutcracker as you are decorating. An assortment of oversized and miniature nutcrackers would offer great variety and interest within your space. 

out door nutcracker

 Natural Undertones

With sustainability as a megatrend in most industries, it serves as no shock that it will translate into this year’s Christmas decor. Think decorating for the holidays with an overall tie back to nature. A great way to achieve this trend would be incorporating lots of real greenery. In addition to your Christmas tree, consider adding bouquets of branches and other types of leafy greenery. Experimenting with oversized wreaths could add a great dimension to your space. If going for a more Earth-toned color palette, dried floral assortments would offer a nice contrast to the green, while staying with the overall natural energy. For those looking to decorate with more color, adding bouquets containing colorful flowers is always a great idea. Poinsettias are a holiday classic, however, trying a bouquet with other exciting colors might help elevate your decor this season.

Farmhouse

Over the past few years, farmhouse interior design has been hugely popular. Due to its ability to match a majority of neutral home aesthetics, the farmhouse holiday decor trend is here to stay. Achieve this look by incorporating plaids, rustic elements, and an overall warm color scheme. Keeping plaids to reds, neutrals, blacks, and greens try experimenting with plaids of different sizes. While a neutral color palette is common in the farmhouse aesthetic, a great place for a pop of color could be your tree decor. Try saturated red berries or oversized ornaments of your choice color to mix it up or better match your space. Adding rustic elements such as pine cones, dried bouquets, and branches or wreaths adds dimension and a great contrast to the overall neutral aesthetic. 

Bringing Back the Old

The Covid 19 pandemic has brought out a feeling of nostalgia in the majority of us. We can expect to see this feeling translated into holiday decor through the use of vintage, maybe even heirloom Christmas decor pieces. Consider pulling out the aged Christmas ornaments or outdoor nativity set instead of investing in new decor. While decorating, picture your space with an overall aged, rustic, and nostalgic energy. Bring a comfortable and cozy spirit back to your space by stringing warm-toned lights around the tree and assorting candles around the room.

Christmas Traditions of Ireland

Christmas traditions around the world differ, however, the values that people celebrate during the holidays remain true everywhere: Family, faith, and spreading cheer. Centered around these ideals, Irish Christmas traditions are no exception. Whether it be gathering as a community to sing carols or decorating a Christmas tree with the family, every Irish holiday tradition is meant to bring light and love into the lives of others. 

Christmas Markets 

Christmas markets are one of the most well-known aspects of the Irish holiday season. With some of the largest and most notable happening in Galway, Dublin, and Belfast, every Christmas Market in Ireland is packed with cheer and community. A staple at most Christmas markets is taking a ride in Santa’s sleigh. The ambiance is always welcoming and cozy at an Irish Christmas market. Picture warm fairy lights,  caroling, and great food. These markets are known for gift giving, mulled wine, and live music and dancing. The Irish Christmas market is the epitome of merry and bright.

The Wren Boy Procession

During the Wren Boy Procession, Christmas Carolers parade from house to house singing and raising money for charity. In Ireland, the wren is considered “King of all birds.” In Irish mythology, the life of the wren is linked to the life of Jesus. Wren day normally begins with a group hunting a fake wren and mounting it on a pole. This is followed by the town celebrating the life of the wren through song and dance. Those who participate are referred to as Wren Boys. Each year, the Wren Boys dress in old clothing, which they layer under a straw outer layer. The participants march around the town spreading cheer through carols and camaraderie. 

The Feast of the Epiphany 

The Feast of the Epiphany or Three Kings Day is often celebrated after the Twelve Days of Christmas on January sixth. The Feast is used to honor the day that the Three Kings followed the Christmas star to baby Jesus. These kings were said to have brought Jesus many precious and meaningful gifts. The Feast of the Epiphany is an ancient Christian tradition. This tradition is often used to signify the end of the Christmas holiday and bring everyone together once more to commemorate the story of Jesus and the three kings. 

Meeting Santa Clause

Santa is said to reside in the Mourne Mountains of Northern Ireland. This is said to be where Santa rests in-between Christmases to recuperate. Today, families can visit him at his cottage and enjoy plenty of attractions. Children are able to meet Santa and even pose for a photo with him and his elves in Santa’s sleigh. Families can follow a trail to see Santa’s full herd of reindeer and even hear a ranger speak on the history of the park. The attraction then continues in a town located outside of the Mourne Mountains called Downpatrick. Here, families can see the spirits of Christmas’s past, present, and future overrun the iconic St. Patrick’s square. 

 

The Twelve Pubs

An adult spin on the Twelve Days of Christmas, the Twelve Pubs is a drinking game used to celebrate the year as it comes to an end. While it is not necessary to abide by set rules during your pub crawl, most parties do in order to keep the night interesting. Oftentimes when participating in the Twelve Pubs, participants must wear a Christmas sweater or dress as Santa and his elves. Some of the more comical rules include pub crawl, left-handed, and no names. Pub crawl instructs a participant to deliver a round of drinks to the group on their hands and knees. Left-handed forces participants to drink an entire pint with their left hand. Lastly, the no-names rule dictates that no participant can be referred to by their name in that pub. 

The History of the Christmas Reindeer

During Christmas time we’re surrounded by the tale of Santa and his trusted reindeer.  Stories such as, “T’was the Night Before Christmas,” and others like it have embedded Santa and his reindeer into Christmas culture. Often, children have memorized the song “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” by the time they’re five. We have fostered a Christmas culture heavily reliant on the concept of the Christmas reindeer, however, few know the reindeer’s true history. 

Reindeer Origins

Reindeer are native to Northern Europe and Asia. Reindeer who live in North America are referred to as caribou. The Sami (of Northern Scandinavia) and Nenet (of Russia’s arctic) are both indigenous groups who rely heavily on reindeer for a food source. Today, ten percent of the Sami population still herds reindeer. The majority of the reindeer population resides in Kautokeino and Karasjok Norway. Still today, it is a common practice for the Samis to herd the reindeer to the mountains for the cold winters.

Reindeer First Come to America

In the mid-1800s an indigenous group of people called the Inuit inhabited Northern Canada, Greenland, and Alaska. The members of this group were starving due to the commercial hunting of their main food source, whales. A missionary named Sheldon Jackson decided the solution was to transport reindeer to Alaska from Norway. In 1898, the United States government-funded the transfer of six hundred reindeer and over one hundred trained herders to the Alaskan shores.

Reindeer Enter the World of Christmas Marketing 

Carl Lomen is credited with marketing reindeer for the sale of their fur and meat. His goal was to make reindeer meat a staple among the American household. Lomen’s efforts to promote reindeer hit their peak when he partnered with the department store Macy’s. In 1926, Macy’s held a parade led by a Santa on a sleigh being pulled by reindeer. This stunt sparked a national passion for Santa and his reindeer which translated into more parades of this nature and an influx of marketing opportunities.


Reindeer First Appear in Christmas Culture

In 1821, the tale of reindeer guiding Santa on his sleigh first appeared in children’s literature. This anonymously published poem titled  “Old Santeclaus With Much Delight,” tells of Santa being pulled by a singular reindeer. The line reads, “His reindeer drives this frosty night.” The poem also includes eight illustrations, one famously depicting an image of Santa taking off behind his one reindeer.

One Reindeer Becomes Eight

In 1823, only two years after the aforementioned “ Old Santeclaus With Much Delight” was published, the famous poem titled “A Visit from Saint Nicholas” by Clement C Moore took off in popularity. Better known as “Twas the Night Before Christmas,” this story is credited with first telling the tale of Santa being pulled on his sleigh by eight reindeer. Soon after its publishing, the story became widely popular and the eight reindeer model was nationally recognized and adored.

The Short-Lived Ten Reindeer 

In 1902, a piece of literature named “ The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus,” written by L Frank Baum was released. This story included a list of the names of Santa’s reindeer, all differing from those used in “Twas the Night Before Christmas.” Baum listed ten reindeer names that rhymed in unison. These names included Flossie and Glossie, Racer and Pacer, and Ready and steady. “The names used in “Twas the Night Before Christmas” had already grown into extensive popularity that at this point, no alternative reindeer names would be accepted by the general public. 

The Late Rudolph 

We all know the story of Rudolph, the socially rejected reindeer who ended up saving Christmas by guiding Santa with his glowing red nose. In 1939, Robert L May first released this story for a promotion by the Montgomery Ward store chain. These books were handed out in their stores during Christmas time. This story became a Christmas classic and soon Rudolph was accepted as Santa’s ninth reindeer.