Traditional Victorian Christmas Decoration Ideas

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In 1941, Prince Albert and Queen Victoria brought rich Christmas decorations from Prince Albert’s German homeland to Windsor Castle. At the center of what would become a holiday tradition was the Christmas tree. Some of the other holiday traditions that can be attributed to the Victorian era are:

  • Sending Christmas cards to family and friends
  • Carol singers filling neighborhoods with Christmas melodies
  • Exchanging presents
  • Santa Claus

Victorian era Christmas decorations are timeless. The brightly colored ornaments, images of Santa Claus and garlands of evergreens will never go out of style. The Victorian Christmas also holds special memories in the handcrafted decorations fashioned with love and holiday good cheer.

Decorating With Victorian Ornaments

  • Evergreens are the foundation of the Victorian Christmas.
  • Evergreens are everywhere in the Victorian home. Mistletoe is hung above doors. Evergreen portieres fashioned from cedar boughs, holly branches and ivy tendrils frame every archway, window and door inside the home.
  • Candles also adorn every room in the Victorian home.
  • Groupings of candles surrounded by greenery, vintage ornaments, handmade decorations and ribbons can be placed on fireplace mantles, arranged in table centerpieces and displayed in windows.

Victorian Christmas tree ornaments can be as simple as small toys, garlands of hard candies and packets of treats. More elaborate ornaments include glass balls, artificial flowers and horns of plenty. Victorian ornaments represent a variety of everyday motifs from angels to children, from trains to carriages, and from animals to balloons.

Ready for Planting Finished Product

Trimming The Christmas Tree Victorian Style

During the Victorian era, the Christmas tree was the centerpiece of the home and was extravagant and lavish. These Christmas trees were tall enough to reach the ceilings and were full of branches that could support the weight of the bountiful decorations that filled the tree.

  • Victorian Christmas trees are draped in garlands to add a snowy feel to the tree and topped with brightly colored paper flowers to add contrast to the showy greens.
  • Ornaments also play a part in the Victorian Christmas tree. Decorations depicting Santa Claus, fairies and winter snow scenes adorn each tree branch. Dried fruits, gilded walnuts and glitter covered pinecones are also used as decorations.

Here are a few ways to decorate a Victorian Christmas tree:

  • Decorate with red and white candy canes, wrapping paper, ribbons, flameless candles, and popcorn garlands.
  • Cover the tree in tinsel with a few silver ornamental balls and snowflakes.
  • Go natural with gilded nuts, cinnamon sticks, dried fruits and glittered pinecones.

At the base of the Christmas tree is the putz. A putz is a miniature landscape complete with figurines, houses, farm buildings and animals. Mosses, shells, twigs and evergreens make the putz landscape complete.

Handmade Victorian Christmas Decoration Ideas

Part of the Christmas fun is making Christmas ornaments with family and friends. This is a great way to spend time together and share the joys of the holiday season. There are many Victorian Christmas decorations that can be easily crafted at home.

Paper Christmas tree ornaments are an easy way to create that Victorian feel. These paper ornaments are simply cut from old Christmas cards or magazines:

  • Cut out pictures of vintage Santas, snow-covered houses, animals and other Christmas images.
  • Add a little glitter around the edges of the cut out pictures
  • Attach a string loop to the cutouts.
  • Hang the ornaments from a tree.

The original artificial Christmas tree was the feather tree. Originally, feather trees were made from wire or sticks covered with goose feathers. One large feather stick was drilled with holes and the other sticks arranged around the larger one to resemble a tree. A homemade feather tree can be crafted out of wire and feather boas or metallic garlands:

  • Shape one piece of wire into a main trunk.
  • Attach wire as branches to the main trunk.
  • Wrap the wire with a feather boa or metallic garlands.

To make a Christmas tree festive, deck the branches with handmade glitter balls. Glitter balls can be made from plain Christmas ball ornaments or Styrofoam balls. These balls are then covered in glitter and small pieces of metallic paper cut into geometric shapes.

Garlands are displayed everywhere in the Victorian home.

  • Garlands are used to decorate trees, mantles and windows.
  • A garland can be created from a variety of material. Paper can be cut into strips to make a chain. Or, cut out paper stars, hearts, or other Christmas shapes and string together to form a chain.
  • Treats such as popcorn or hard candies can also be strung together to create an interesting garland.

Cornucopias are a unique way to package candies and cookies for holiday gift giving. A cornucopia is a paper cone with an attached handle. Cornucopias can be made with heavyweight holiday paper and adorned with lace, glitter and ribbon.

A Victorian Christmas is the perfect way to start family Christmas traditions. Ornaments crafted by loved ones hold a special sentimental value that can be enjoyed with each holiday season and passed from generation to generation.

Last Updated: December 19, 2011
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About Coletta Teske Coletta Teske has 25 years' experience in tech journalism, as well as home and gardening topics. She has freelanced for Fortune 500 companies such as Boeing and Microsoft, published more than two dozen computer books for Prima Publishing and Macmillan, and worked as a freelance correspondent for West Hawaii Today. Coletta has been an avid gardener since she was 2 years old. While living in Hawaii, she achieved a lifelong dream of becoming a certified master gardener.

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