The History and Symbolism of Christmas Ornaments

Christmas tree in the home Christmas interior.Decorated Christmas photo zone
Christmas tree in the home Christmas interior.Decorated Christmas photo zone


As the holiday season approaches, homes around the world begin to shimmer and shine with the timeless tradition of adorning Christmas trees and other festive decorations. Central to this tradition are the beloved Christmas ornaments, each with its own unique history and symbolic meaning. In this enlightening journey, we’ll explore the rich history and delve into the symbolism behind various Christmas ornaments. Additionally, we’ll recommend some unique and meaningful ornaments available on to help you add a touch of tradition and symbolism to your holiday decor.

A Glimpse into History

The tradition of decorating trees for the holiday season can be traced back to ancient civilizations. The use of evergreen trees in winter rituals symbolized the endurance of life amid harsh conditions. However, the practice of hanging ornaments on these trees didn’t gain widespread popularity until much later.

Early Ornaments

In the early 16th century, Germans began decorating evergreen trees with apples, nuts, and other simple items. These ornaments were not only festive but also practical, as they could be eaten after the holiday season.

Glass Ornaments

The 19th century saw the introduction of glass ornaments, a significant development in the history of Christmas decorations. German glassblowers crafted intricate baubles, often featuring religious scenes or ornate designs. These glass ornaments quickly gained popularity and became treasured family heirlooms.

Tinsel and Icicles

Tinsel and icicles, made from real silver, were also popular additions to Christmas trees in the 19th century. These shimmering decorations added a touch of elegance to holiday displays.

Electric Lights

The late 19th and early 20th centuries brought another revolutionary change with the introduction of electric Christmas lights. These replaced the hazardous practice of lighting trees with candles, making Christmas trees safer and more spectacular.

Symbolism of Christmas Ornaments

Every ornament on your Christmas tree holds a special meaning and contributes to the overall holiday spirit. Here are some common types of ornaments and their symbolic significance:


Angels symbolize the divine messengers who announced the birth of Jesus. Placing an angel ornament atop your tree represents the angels’ role in the Christmas story.

Recommended Ornament: Consider the Glass Angel Ornaments from, which beautifully capture the ethereal elegance of these celestial beings.


The star atop the Christmas tree is a representation of the Star of Bethlehem, which guided the Wise Men to the birthplace of Jesus. It signifies the hope and light that Christ brought into the world.

Recommended Ornament: The Moravian Star ornament from adds a touch of Bethlehem’s guiding light to your tree.

Candy Canes

Candy canes have a dual meaning in the Christmas tradition. Their “J” shape is said to represent the shepherd’s crook, symbolizing the shepherds who visited the newborn Jesus. Additionally, the white color signifies purity, and the red stripes represent the blood of Christ.

Recommended Ornament: Explore the Traditional Candy Cane Ornaments from to infuse your tree with this sweet and meaningful tradition.


Bells are a joyful addition to Christmas trees, symbolizing the ringing of bells in celebration of the birth of Christ. They also serve as a reminder of the angels’ songs of praise.

Recommended Ornament: The Golden Bell Ornaments from offer a touch of elegance and celebration to your holiday tree.


Doves are symbols of peace and goodwill, reflecting the message of hope and harmony that Christmas brings.

Recommended Ornament: The Porcelain Dove Ornaments from capture the gentle beauty of these symbols of peace.

Nativity Scenes

Nativity scenes depict the birth of Jesus, serving as a visual representation of the Christmas story and its significance.

Recommended Ornament: The Mini Nativity Scene Ornaments from allow you to incorporate this sacred scene into your tree’s decor.


Snowflake ornaments capture the intricate beauty of nature and the magic of a winter wonderland. Each snowflake is unique, just like the cherished moments we create during the holiday season.

Recommended Ornament: Discover the elegance of the Crystal Snowflake Ornaments from, which beautifully mimic the real thing and add a touch of frosty enchantment to your tree.


Nutcracker ornaments are a nod to the beloved ballet, “The Nutcracker,” and the classic wooden figurines. They represent the joy and whimsy of the holiday season.

Recommended Ornament: Explore the Traditional Nutcracker Ornaments from, which capture the spirit of this timeless holiday tale.

Gingerbread Men

Gingerbread men ornaments evoke the cozy aromas of freshly baked cookies and the joy of decorating delicious treats with loved ones.

Recommended Ornament: The Gingerbread Man Ornaments from bring a delightful touch of sweetness to your tree, perfect for reminding everyone of the joy of holiday baking.


Reindeer ornaments pay homage to Santa’s trusty companions, who guide his sleigh on Christmas Eve. They symbolize the magic of Santa’s journey.

Recommended Ornament: The Miniature Reindeer Ornaments from add a touch of whimsy and charm to your tree, reminiscent of Santa’s furry friends.

Snow Globes

Snow globe ornaments encapsulate the enchantment of a winter landscape. Gazing at the tiny world inside a snow globe brings a sense of wonder to the holiday season.

Recommended Ornament: Consider the Mini Snow Globe Ornaments from, which capture the magic of a snowy scene within a delicate ornament.

Adding Tradition and Symbolism to Your Decor

Now that you have a deeper understanding of the history and symbolism behind Christmas ornaments, you can enhance your holiday decor with intention and meaning. Explore the exquisite collection of Christmas ornaments available on to find the perfect additions to your tree, each with its unique story and symbolism. As you hang these ornaments, you’ll not only beautify your home but also celebrate the cherished traditions and profound symbolism that make Christmas a season of joy, reflection, and togetherness.


By incorporating these additional ornaments into your Christmas decor, you can infuse your holiday celebrations with even more charm, symbolism, and tradition. Whether you’re drawn to the delicate beauty of snowflakes or the whimsical allure of nutcrackers, these ornaments bring unique stories and sentiments to your tree, creating cherished memories for years to come. Explore for a wide selection of ornaments that allow you to express your holiday spirit and style in every corner of your home.

Bella Duckworth

Bella Duckworth

Total posts created: 2202
“Architecture is really about well-being. I think that people want to feel good in a space… On the one hand, it’s about shelter, but it’s also about pleasure.” – Zaha Hadid

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