Paper Chains are a popular form of Christmas decoration and were first seen in the UK in the 1850s, when they were used on Christmas trees.

In the 1960s, the days of post war rationing and austerity were still recent memories and so the early 1960s Christmas still had a feeling of frugality when compared to those of today and Christmas decorations were far more ‘home spun’.

Brightly coloured paper chains were made by the family and looped across the walls of the living room. If money were scarce the chains would be made from strips of newspaper. These chains would be finished off with honeycomb-like paper or foil decorations shaped like bells and stars. There would also be holly sprigs pushed behind the pictures on the wall. The tree would be covered in tinsel and glass baubles and often topped with a Christmas fairy.

How to make a Paper Chain:

Cut your chosen paper into strips

  1. Take one strip of paper and curl around so the two length ends meet.
  2. Feed your next strip through the middle of your first chain link. Repeat until you have reached the length of chain that you want.

A similar type of decoration is Bunting which refers to a string of paper or material triangles that are strung out as a form of decoration. Bunting is typically used in the UK for festivities like street parties for grand occasions like the end of World War II, the Queen’s various jubilees, summer parties and Royal weddings.




More information:

Date 1900s, 1910s, 1920s, 1930s, 1940s, 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, 2000s, 2010s
Material(s) Paper
Item number MBPO267

Questions to help you remember using this item

  • Did you make Paper Chains as a child?
  • What paper did you use?
  • What other decorations did you make?

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