Table of Contents Hide
Originally regarded as pagan symbols of life and vigor for their fresh and lively state through the harshest winters, evergreen conifers quickly evolved into iconic symbols for Christianity’s greatest festival. First used in Germany in the 16th century, they’ve become ever so popular starting in the 1900s, and have since remained in vogue.
Not all of us can afford to use real pines, firs or spruces as done in the old times, due to climatic factors and space constrains. Artificial substitutes that are smaller and can be stored and reused are therefore find greater global preference.
A wide array of ornaments each with its own significance rooted deep in culture are used to festoon these trees, adding to them vibrant color and life.
Here is a list of 15 of the best and affordable ornaments that can make your very own mini Christmas tree come alive!
Christmas baubles or ball balls are perhaps the most iconic of all Christmas tree ornaments. They come in all possible varieties of color, texture and size, but are classically made of colored glass. Their spherical shape is often thought to represent the wholesomeness and perfection associated with Christ’s birth. However, this is actually rooted in the fact that originally, rounded fruits and nuts were used to decorate the first Christmas trees. For a mini Christmas tree, small sized plastic, blown glass or even origami baubles sport cute options.
Since its inception, Christianity tolled bells to invoke the faithful to his Maker. Bells quickly transformed into one of the most popular tree ornaments, heralding the advent of the Divine. They come in various forms, either singly or in pairs or groups. They ranging from simple paper or plastic silhouettes to ornate, intricately carved pieces of glass or metal. Whether mass-produced, semi-realistic relief works or handcrafted 3D miniatures, the tree remains sadly bare without these beauties jingling from its boughs.
The Christmas star originates from the new star that lit up the skies heralding Christ’s birth and guided the Magi to His manger. Alluding to divinity by its dazzling bright light, it now finds pride of place at the pinnacle of every Christmas tree the world over. From world-renowned giant ones at Trafalgar Square and Rockefeller Centre, to the humble mini Christmas tree in your cozy living room, its place is constant. Often with lights fixed within, they go a long way to brighten up our nippy Decembers.
Candles were the very first ornaments adorning Christmas trees ever since they’ve found their niche in the winter festivities in the 1500s. They have evolved a great deal from simple white beeswax tapers to myriad forms sporting designs of eye-catching intricacy. As the foremost sign of divine light dispelling the darkness of grief and strife, candles are an indispensible part of the Christmas tree. The safest option is to use the pretty little electric candles that come in all possible form and price and are widely available at your local departmental or fancy store.
Originally the holly was a pagan symbol of life and fertility much like the Christmas tree itself. Christianity later bestowed it with deep allusions to Christ’s life. Its prickly leaves are said to signify Christ’s crown of thorns, while its berries stand for drops of His sacrificial blood. It now adorns our tress either as wreathes or in bunches, most commonly of three leaves and berries. The real plant is quite hardy, staying fresh for weeks after cutting, but considering possibility of reuse and regional availability, realistic replicas are widely popular.
6. Candy Cane
Candy canes are one of the most easily recognized ornaments on Christmas trees all over the world. Originally manufactured as peppermint flavored sugar sticks, they have now transformed into iconic seasonal décor. Their iconic stripes of red and white capture the essence of the festival by the rich symbolism behind them. The colours are meant to signify the blood shed by Christ to redeem humanity and the sinless life he led. Its shape bears a more direct relevance to the occasion, resembling of the crooks carried by shepherds who came to visit Christ at his birth of lord.
Christmas stockings came to play a significant role in Christmas décor after a popular story of St. Nicholas’ generosity. He is said to have filled with gold, the stockings of a poor family hung over the fireplace to dry. Ever since, children have hung bright red Christmas stockings over fireplaces and bedposts for Santa to fill with the choicest goodies. They have now evolved into pretty ornaments commonly made of silk satin or velvet and are often handcrafted using simple domestic materials.
8. Santa Hat
Like the stocking, the Santa hat is also associated with St. Nicholas or Santa Claus. Originally the headgear of bishops, – the saint was one – the hat has evolved into an iconic reminder of the generous cleric best known for his habit of secret gift-giving. Made most commonly of velvet, the white-rimmed crimson hats and their miniatures are now a popular tree ornament. Their light weight and robust shape make them easy décor for your mini Christmas tree.
These tundra dwellers are inseparably entwined with the legend of Santa Claus. They are said to draw his sleigh swiftly through the night sky as he journeys from the North Pole around the world stopping only to drop off gifts to sleeping children on Christmas Eve. Figurines of reindeer ranging from simple silhouettes to realistic models are thus, widely used to festoon Christmas trees. They are made of a variety of materials like plastic, metal, glass, wood or even silver, giving an extra swish to the tree.
Angels play an important role as messengers of God, and have a special place in the Christmas story as the foremost heralds of the Messiah’s birth. Angelic figurines – from cute cherubs to majestic seraphs – have become a popular ornament adorning Christmas trees the world over. They may be simple 2D cutouts, or intricately sculpted figures crafted of the finest materials such as bone china, crystal or silver. For a mini Christmas tree, it is best go for lightweight options such as melamine or fiber glass figures.
Gift-giving is at the very core of Christmas. It’s a direct expression of the exchange of warmth and love that underlies the season’s festivities. Your mini Christmas tree would not be the same without its cute, glossy, multicolored gift boxes hanging by their shiny gold ribbons. These are mostly miniature replicas, with no real gift inside them. However, small knick-knacks may often be kept as presents in small, but real boxes that then turn into little bundles of joy!
Closely following the snowflake enters the snowman in the Christmas pageant. Another popular tradition in snowy western winters, it has found global association with the biggest winter holiday. A special delight to children, pristine white miniature snowman replicas now sport as perfectly contrasting trinkets against the dark green of Christmas trees the world over. Mini Christmas trees are best festooned with little figures that can even be made at home with simple materials such as cotton wool, paper or cloth.
The greater part of the Christian world comprising Europe and North America witnesses snowy winters. With its first snowflakes, winter brings in its most anticipated feast- and so, all the attributes of the former smoothly fit in to symbolize the latter. Originally made of glass or crystal, flakes are now made mostly out of plastic or fiber, often fitted with lights to glisten like real snowflakes in the winter sun.
14. Pine Cone
Pine cones are the most direct relics of the original Christmas trees, evergreen conifers that bore cones in winter. With their breathtaking patterns, they came as natural decorations already in place when real trees were in wide use. While real trees are still in use, artificial ones are decorated with cones that may themselves be real or artificial. The latter are made of wood, papier-mâché, plastic or even colored glass and often sport a frosted appearance resembling real cones in chilly temperate forests.
This is perhaps the newest ornament that stems from the popular Christmas carol The Little Drummer Boy first recorded in 1951 and popularized by the 1958 rendition by the Harry Simeone Chorale. It tells the story of a poor drummer boy who had no gift to offer Baby Jesus- so he played his drum for his little Lord instead. The largest trees have small, but real drum hung especially on their lowest boughs. A mini Christmas tree, however, would look best with colorful miniatures crafted out of plastic, metal or even paper, often listed as easy to make DIY crafts.