Christmas Tree Decorations
A set of six stamps issued by Jeresy depicits a selection of Christmas tree decorations. Modern materials combine with enduring designs to ensure that these decorations remain an indispensable part of festive celebrations. Adults and children alike take great pleasure in decorating the tree at Christmas, an activity which dates back hundreds of years.
There are various tales of fir trees being decorated but the pivotal moments seems to have occured in the 16th century in Germany when devout Christians brought fir trees into their homes, decorating them with sweets, nuts, paper roses and such like.
In 1610, tinsel was used. Originally made with pure silver, it discoloured easily leading to the invention of artificial tinsel which was much cheaper to produce and very popular. Two hundred years later and the Americans joined in. Again, decorations were mostly apples and nuts as they symbolised the regeneration of life and the coming of spring. in 1610 shiny foil and paper streamers were added, leading to the idea of reflecting light from the room onto the tree and the tree came into its own.
In England, Prince Albert in 1841 decorated a tree at Windsor Castle with candles and a variety of sweets, fruits and gingerbread, and the pursuit was copied by wealthy English families. All sorts of decorations ensued: dolls, miniature furniture, tiny musical instruments, costume jewellery, toy guns and swords, with glass beads and hand-sewn snowflakes being added to the mix. An illustration which appeared in the 1860 issue of Godey's 'Lady's Book' showed Queen Victoria celebrating Christmas with her family around the Chirstmas tree; this inspired Americans and the British to embrace Christmas without inhibitions.
Until the 1880s, decorations were handcrafted by families and their friends. The only decorations which could be bought were found in German markets - hand-cast lead and hand-blown glass decorations. The German company, Lauscha, began to make little glass moulds of saint, animals, children and so on and released them into the market.
Success was instant and the demands so huge that almost all surrounding families became involved, working in factories or at home, hence individual touches started to appear. In 1890, FW Woolworth started to import the decorations into America on a huge scale. A shortage of material threatened production during World War II. Silver could no longer be put on the inside of baubles so strips and pastel colours were put on the outside and machinery altered to make a wider variety of shapes and sizes.
The stamps feature a variety of lights, garlands and baubles including bells, an angel and, of course, Father Christmas himself.
Technical DetailsIssue Date: 08.11.2011
Designer: Colleen Corlett
Printer: Cartor Security Printing
Process: Offset Lithography
Colours: 4-colour offset
Size: 40mm x 30mm
Values: £3.43, £4.48, £4.48, £34.30