The History of Christmas Decorations and How to Make Home Made Paper Baubles

It’s just around the corner, the loft is calling!! It’s officially NEARLY CHRISTMAS …. this time in one month we will be celebrating Christmas Eve & hopefully looking forwards to spending time with family or friends on the big day.

I’m a big Christmas fan & I love everything about it, the build-up, the decorations, the preparations, the actual day & most of all the time sat round the table enjoying a beautiful meal with loved ones. Working in a shop that sells lots of lovely festive decorations, I get to hear a lot of Christmas talk, from lovers & loathers & it seems that even the loathers like to ponder over the glass baubles & can’t resist a Christmas Gonk or 2! (BTW… a small Scandinavian Christmas troll!!)

The origins of Christmas decorations are varied according to belief & the most popular theory suggests that the tradition was started by a monk, Saint Boniface - the Apostle of the Germans, who came to Germany in the 7th/8th century to preach. It is said that he was the first one to offer a fir tree for the German people to decorate as it’s triangular shape represented the Holy Trinity – The Father, The Son & The Holy Spirit.

The tradition was further developed by the devout Germans who then started decorating the ‘Christmas Tree’ with simple, white candles. By the 15th Century, the tree was being decorated with highly ornate ornaments, a tradition that Germany is still renowned for. From Germany, the custom was introduced to England, first by Queen Charlotte in the early 19th Century & even more so by Prince Albert in the early reign of Queen Victoria.

Christmas as we know it really takes shape now & during the 20th Century, further develops throughout Europe & America to become the huge affair it is today. Christmas decorations obviously change with the times & this year Copper & Navy are very popular to go with the current decorating themes.

For some, each year brings a new style of decorations to be played with but for many us, the box of decs that lives in the loft is added to each year - a comfy theme is chosen & stuck to & it’s a great way to build a catalogue of Christmas memories!

My own comfy preference is an eclectic kitsch & colourful vintage look, inspired by the same German decorations to which I referred to earlier. My grandfather worked in Germany when I was a child & I still treasure the large box of vintage German Christmas decorations that he bought back with him.

Every year I pour a glass of Baileys, stick on my Rat Pack Xmas CD, put them all up & enjoy the happy memories that they always bring. I like to use different colours together - oranges, pinks, reds, turquoise & silver, pretty much all colours & many textures are incorporated, old & new together. It sounds a bit bonkers, it’s not for everyone, but it looks stylish, suits my house & makes me feel jolly!! It also means that I am free to add anything I like!

This year I am loving the vintage feel of foil & tissue / paper decorations, they are currently very fashionable, readily available & super easy to make yourself. Paper pompoms have been a big feature for parties throughout this year & I’m hanging some huge emerald green & silver tissue honeycomb pompoms from the ceiling, mixed with large homemade paper lanterns & baubles.

I have bought some spray glitter to add some bling to the tissue pompoms! The Lanterns & Baubles are easy to make & as always, there are many tutorials on Pinterest & You Tube to guide you through. I would like to share the lanterns that I am making for my tree this year, you will need the following:

  • A5 (148 x 210 mm / 5.8 x 8.3 in, half A4) sheet of interesting patterned paper - wrapping paper works well, we are using silver holographic paper which will sparkle well with the fairy lights

  • Plain colour card

  • Paper glue

  • Thin wire or string

  • 3 metal washers (if possible)

  • Thin ribbon or cord

  • Embellishment for the bottom of the lantern (plastic crystals in our case)

  • Hole Punch


Here’s how:

  1. Stick the paper to the card to strengthen. You will see the inside when finished so it’s nice to pick a colour card that works with your theme

  2. Divide the paper into 8 x 1inch / 8 x 2.5cm strips width ways, you will have a small edge left over

  3. Punch a hole to the middle of each end approx. 0.8cm away from the ends which should be roughly where your hole punch cuts anyway

  4. Cut the 8 strips & place them one on top of the other

  5. Cut the wire approx. 15cm / 6-inch long. Place one end of the wire through the washer & twist it to secure.

  6. Put the long end through all the holes at one end of the strips & on the other side of the holes twist the wire through another washer to secure. You will now have a washer on either side of one end of the strips

  7. Keep the strips together & bend the card slightly to form an arch.

  8. Put the wire through the holes at the other end & secure again on the outside with a washer. The wire should be approx. 7cm / 3-inch-long for an oval shape

  9. Pull the wire back through the holes & twist tight to secure the washer & the arch shape

  10. Fan out the 8 strips until they are separated evenly

  11. Finally, add some ribbon, fishing wire or cord to what will be the top washer & a hanging embellishment to the bottom – we have used some acrylic chandelier type crystals


These lanterns are approx. 12cm / 5 1/2-inch diameter.

They can be made any size using any kind of paper & depending on what paper you chose, can fit into any Christmas theme. It just needs a lightweight card backing to support it. They are also easy & space saving to store as they can be folded back to the width of one strip to protect & pack away. You will find plenty of examples of these & other simple paper decorations on-line & with supervision, children can also get involved with making them & ejoy getting them back out each year. What a great way to make new Christmas memories! Have a fabulous Christmas & a very Happy, Healthy New Year!

Clayre x

PS. I found a great Christmas themed paper ‘colouring in’ tablecloth (many available now I know about them). I have a 3 & 6 year old also coming for Christmas lunch so when they are full up, they can colour in the tablecloth! We will probably all have some fun with that too! Cx

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