Although there are dozens of different holidays celebrated all over the globe during the winter months, Christmas is far and away the most popular. In no way does this denigrate or minimize Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, the Solstice, or any other holiday that people celebrate in December. It’s merely pointing out the fact that Christmas is the most popular. Many people celebrate this holiday, and most people today go for the modern Christmas celebration, meaning they put up a tree, decorate their homes, and adorn their habitat with their favorite Christmas ornaments. Historically speaking, these ornaments have changed a great deal over time. Here are some of the ways these ornaments have evolved over the years.

Old Immigrant Traditions

When you think about classic Christmas ornaments, you may think about silver bells and classic metal ornaments like aluminum and bronze decorative medallions hung on the tree. However, these are still a bit modern compared to how these ornaments started. In America, way back in the late 1700s, immigrant families from Europe started to adorn their trees and houses with traditional bits of their culture. Many families did this to pay respect to their cultures, and over time this grew into an American tradition of decorating the tree and home with old-world European ornaments. A lot of these were hand-carved and hand-painted ornaments that people put a lot of time, effort, and love into creating.

The Commercialization of Christmas

By the time the 1900s rolled around in America, the Industrial Revolution had already bolstered the consumer economy, and Christmas was starting to become commercial. Wrapping paper and candy canes and kids’ toys sold in stores; the idea of Christmas ornaments was now all about what you could buy from a shelf. Sure, some of those traditions remained, but this is around the time when Christmas started to turn very commercial. Over the first few decades of the 20th century, different cartoons and movies started to come out and push the idea that Christmas was the time of year to buy gifts and get a little crazy with the decorations. This is around the time Christmas lights and tinsel and other ornate decorations started to become popular. By the 1960s, Christmas ornaments could be found in just about any goods store.

Synthetics Make a Run

By the time the 1980s arrived, Christmas decorations were about as plastic as the toys people purchased for their children. Long removed from the history of Christmas, modern Christmas was now very synthetic. Plastic fake Christmas trees became hugely popular. No cutting down a tree, screwing it into a base, and cleaning up all the fallen needles. Now you could just get your Christmas tree out of a box. Different musical light sets and colorful plastic ornaments also became popular. Elves and reindeer and all different types of Santas were now available in plastic to hang right onto the tree. This also gave rise to many more yard decorations, and some people still take this idea very seriously and decorate their homes so much that people drive from miles around to view the Christmas decorations.

Digital Ideas

Current Christmas ornaments, as of 2022, now include a wide array of digital options. For instance, you can use your smartphone to take family photos, or photos of your pets (or anything you want), and have these photos turned into actual Christmas ornaments to hang on your tree. You can also find pre-fab ornaments in this vein, that will play a slideshow, and some even play different Christmas-themed clips and music. There are a lot of different modern ornaments that are very involved and very personal.


No matter what sort of Christmas ornaments and decorations you want, you can find something that will work for you and your family. Whether you want to go ultra modern and get digital photos turned into ornaments with singing, and blinking lights, or if you want to stay classic and traditional, you can find something you will love. The real idea behind Christmas should be about family and love and being together for the holidays.