Decorating the home at or near the time of the Winter Solstice has been a feature of both Pagan and Christmas traditions, starting with plant material and evolving with increasingly colourful man-made decorations.

Elsewhere in the Memory Box Online there are other types of Christmas decoration. The one shown here is, like tinsel, made from aluminium foil, or possibly plastic. The foil has been cut into numerous multi- coloured ‘oak leaves’, with a cord attached at both ends from which the decoration can be hung. It folds flat, but when hung vertically opens into many sets of colourful ‘leaves’.

Hanging decorations have taken many forms from paper chains and bells to plastic and glass stars and snowflakes and lights. One problem with hanging decorations is where to place them to avoid them being an obstruction. Modern houses do not have high ceilings. Chains or strings that cross a space will be higher up than those that only hang vertically down.

Tastes change over time and apart from tree decorations and the modern trend is towards standing decorations, whether these be novelty Santas or animals, or lit trees or village scenes. Certainly with the introduction of LED lights, there has been a huge growth in lights inside and outside houses. The ones that hang down are more likely to found outdoors.

For the reasons stated above, the hanging decoration shown is unlikely to have been made later than the 1970s.

Key theme(s):


More information:

Date 1950s, 1960s, 1970s
Material(s) MetalPlasticCotton
Item number MBPO297

Questions to help you remember using this item

  • When have you put up Christmas decorations that hang down?
  • What were they made of?
  • Where and how were they hung?
  • Do you like the decoration featured here?
  • How long before Christmas do you think the tree and decorations should be put up?
  • How long do you keep the home decorated after Christmas?

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