Monday, December 3, 2012

Advent Calendar - December 3, 2012 ~ Tinsel, Glass Birds and Cranberry Garlands


This is part of the "Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories" by Thomas MacEntee of GeneaBloggers. If you'd like to join in the fun, just click HERE.


Christmas Tree Ornaments

Did your family have heirloom or cherished ornaments? Did you ever string popcorn and cranberries? Did your family or ancestors make Christmas ornaments?



Jana and brothers in front of Christmas Tree
Jana and her Brothers at Christmas
Click to Enlarge

The special Christmas ornaments I remember most from my childhood were the painted glass birds that clipped onto the Christmas tree branches.  You may be able to see them on our tree in the photo above.  (Yes, that’s me in my nurse’s hat with my two brothers in the background.)  The birds were very pretty and had stiff flat plastic bristle-like tails that were decorated with glitter and other pretty things.  My dad liked the look of silver tinsel, which you can see was used to decorate our tree as well.  And, although it is not a tree ornament, I do remember the paper angel sitting on the mantel.  As I recall, it was made of paper and painted gold.

I don’t know if my
Grandma Ingrid Gilberg used tinsel or glass bird ornaments to decorate her Christmas trees when she was a girl.  But, I’ve been able to read about some other decorations she and her family used to decorate their Christmas trees.  In her vocal history, recorded by my father, Grandma Ingrid reminisced about the traditions she and her Swedish immigrant parents shared at Christmas.  Among these were how they decorated their tree.

She recalled,
"It was a tradition that we make garlands for our tree.  We would decorate the ceilings with paper from corner to corner.  We would polish apples and hang them on the tree.  We did not have popcorn at this time, but we would string cranberries and hang them around the tree.  Then when Christmas Eve came, we would light our candles because there were no electric tree lights at this time.  At Christmas Eve, we would all gather around the room and we would dance around the tree and there was a little step we would dance to and we would sing a Christmas song."

"Now it is Christmas again, 
Now it is Christmas again, 
And after Christmas comes the New Year,
Yes it is so,
Yes it is so, 
After Christmas comes the New Year."

So that you can get an idea of how these ceiling decorations may have looked, here’s a photo from Grandma Ingrid and Grandpa Arthur’s wedding reception.  I’m assuming this looked similar to how the ceiling was decorated with paper garlands at Christmas.


Arthur Iverson and Ingrid Gillberg Wedding Photo
Arthur Iverson and Ingrid Gilberg
on their Wedding Day
Click to Enlarge
At this special time of year when we celebrate the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ, I'd like to wish each of you a very Merry Christmas!

Thanks for reading!




Copyright © Jana Last 2012

14 comments:

  1. Jana, this is such a precious and lovely pre Christmas post. I remember the painted glass birds and their stiff tails which got thinner and thinner with the years! A Christmas tree was so magic, I remember looking through the keyhole and seeing some glitter, so exciting.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Titania,

      Thank you so much for your very sweet comments! You remember those glass birds too? My mom told me today that she still has those. I wish I had taken a photo of them to add to this post.

      Thanks so much for stopping by!

      Delete
  2. Oh boy, do I remember tinsel! We used it every year and it had to be placed just so - don't put it on in clumps but it had to be put on piece by piece by excruicating piece. And then it looked so sad when it would be on the curb waiting for the garbage to be collected - a very forlorn (and dead) tree with gobs of silver glistening.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Debi,

      Oh yes, the sad (and dead) tinsel-laden Christmas tree. I don't remember when we stopped using tinsel, but we did. Maybe we got tired of placing it "just so" over the years. :)

      Thanks so much for stopping by!

      Delete
  3. I bet those glass birds were lovely on the tree. We used tinsel for many years too. I think there was publicity in later years about tinsel being harmful to cats, especially..... does that sound familiar? Perhaps a good excuse not to painstakingly place the tinsel on the tree. I will say that the tinsel on your tree looks very nice! Your grandmother's home must have looked very festive with the paper streamers on the ceiling. I haven't seen that at Christmas before.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Kathy,

      Yes, the birds were really quite pretty.

      Hmm, I'm not sure I remember about the warnings regarding tinsel and cats. We had a cat. Maybe that's why we stopped using tinsel. Do they even sell it anymore? Now that I think of it, I'm not sure I've seen it at stores lately. Of course, I'm not looking for it either.

      Thanks so much for stopping by!

      Delete
  4. |Your title was so appealing and your post, as ever, did not disappoint. Very nostlagic.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Sue,

      Oh you are so sweet! Thank you very much for your kind comments!

      And thanks for stopping by! I really do appreciate it.

      Delete
  5. Replies
    1. Hi Grant,

      Thanks for stopping by and a very Merry Christmas to you and yours!

      Delete
  6. That's some tall tree you had at Christmas, Jana! Seeing the ceiling decorations reminded me of how, for a few years at least, my family also decorated the living room ceiling with colourful and shiny holiday chains, bells and garlands. So retro looking :)

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    Replies
    1. Hi Yvonne,

      How fun that your family decorated the ceilings too! That must have looked so festive and pretty.

      Thanks so much for stopping by! I really appreciate it!

      Delete
  7. I've never seen anyone decorate their ceiling, but why not! I have seen the glass birds with bristle tails, and in fact, I've seen them just recently in the stores. They've made a comeback!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Wendy,

      I'm glad the glass birds are back. They were so fun and festive. I should buy some to start our own "glass birds" tradition for Christmas.

      My mom recently told me that she actually still has the ones from my childhood. I need to at least get a photo of those really soon.

      Thanks so much for stopping by!

      Delete

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