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People decorated the first Christmas trees in the early 1800抯 with Christmas ornaments of nuts and fruit such as apples.  Family and friends started to add handmade Christmas ornaments of cut paper to their Christmas trees.  German families loved to hang Christmas ornaments of home baked gingerbread and cookies in the shape of angels, stars, bells, hearts and fruit while American Christmas trees sported beautiful strings of popcorn, cranberries and paper circles made by the family.  Lovely, intricately woven tiny baskets were nestled on the branches.  Christmas ornaments in the UK were handcrafted lace and paper decorations.
The first retailer in North America to sell Christmas ornaments made of glass was F. W. Woolworth.  These ornaments were a huge success bringing in millions of dollars in the 1890抯.  Lauscha, Germany was the home of the first hand-blown glass Christmas ornaments until 1925.  They exported over two hundred and fifty million ornaments to the United States by 1935.  The Germans also created angels hair or what we call tinsel.  Following Germany抯 example, Czechoslovakia and Japan began making Christmas ornaments for North American consumers.  Unlike the German glass blowers that made approximately 600 hand-blown Christmas ornaments daily, the Corning Company of New York started manufacturing 300,000 Christmas ornaments daily.  They were hand decorated by machine lacquered.
Nowadays many people love to collect antique or vintage Christmas ornaments.  Some people are fortunate enough to have treasured vintage ornaments passed down through their family.  If you love vintage or antique Christmas ornaments and want to start collecting them, there are some signs to look for.  Vintage hand blown Christmas ornaments are small with hand painted details done in soft colors.  Over the years, the paint often fades or shows distressed areas.  When you remove the bass to check the stem, because vintage Christmas ornaments were hand blown, the base is uneven.  The glass blower was unable to make the break clean unlike modern ornaments made by machines.  Look for vintage or old ornaments at flea markets, garage sales or online at sites that specialize in vintage Christmas tree ornaments.  The shape of vintage Christmas ornaments symbolize different things such things as:
* Birds ?They symbolize good luck and fortune also world peace and love from God.
* Fish shape ?This symbolized the Christian symbol of Christ.
* Star ?Stood for the star of Bethlehem
* Harvest ?represented by vegetable and fruit shaped Christmas ornaments
* Pickle ?symbolizes luck
Many families love collecting or making Christmas ornaments that hold special meaning, almost like a time capsule.  Each year these treasured Christmas ornaments, placed carefully on the tree, bring back wonderful memories.  Family members getting together and decorating the Christmas tree is often the highlight of the holidays.         

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