Monday, July 11, 2011

The Art of Decorating a Christmas Tree

During the 1800s, fruits, nuts and cookies were used to trim Christmas trees. The Germans baked gingerbread cookies in the shape of fruit, stars, angels and bells. The English created ornaments out of lace and paper. The Americans added strings of cranberries or popcorn.

It wasn’t until the late 1800s when the Germans manufactured glass ornaments for mass production. At first they were molded to look like fruits, nuts and other food items, but later hearts, stars and other shapes were created. The glass blowers of Lauscha, Germany created molds of children, saints, famous people and animals.

Dresden and Tinware Ornaments were crafted during the 1800s, too. They were made out of pressed and embossed paper, which were fish, birds and other animals. This way they could be used after Christmas and for other holidays. During the 1900s, the ornaments were made out of pressed tin. They were brightly colored lithographed surfaces. It was during this time that foil strips were used, too. They were called icicles, angel hair or tinsel.

In my story, Wanted, the town came together to decorate a Christmas tree for their holiday celebration. Though they made most of the ornaments, they also order glass ornaments from Woolsworth’s.

If you decorate a tree at Christmastime, do you prefer store bought ornaments, homemade or a little of both?

Blurb for Wanted:

Sheriff Jace Kelly’s wife died giving birth to his remarkable daughter, Emma. She inherited the families’ seer abilities, but being only six-years old, she has the tendency not to know the difference between a vision and just an ordinary dream. So Jace doesn’t put too much faith in Emma’s recent premonition: marriage for him and a new mother for her, all because she wished upon a Christmas star.

When JoBeth Riley arrives in town, Emma is convinced this is the woman she dreamed about: dark hair, green eyes and shamrocks in her pocket. Only there’s one problem, she’s the notorious outlaw, Baby Face Jo.

JoBeth’s stay in the lumber town is meant to keep Shane Maverick, the leader of the outlaw gang from finding her and breaking her out of jail before the authorities have time to devise a plan to capture him.

JoBeth finds the Kellys a strange lot. A little girl, who believes her dreams are tales of the future and the rugged sheriff whose kindness proves a distraction. She’s an outlaw for heaven’s sake, but Jace is bound and determined to steal her heart.

Author Bio:

Karen Michelle Nutt resides in California with her husband, three fascinating children, and houseful of demanding pets. Jack, her Chihuahua/Yorkshire terrier is her writing buddy and sits long hours with her at the computer.

Her Book, Lost in the Mist of Time, was nominated for New Books Review Spotlight Best Fantasy Book of the Year Award 2006. A Twist of Fate was a nominee for Best Time Travel P.E.A.R.L. Award for 2008. Creighton Manor won Honorable Mention P.E.A.R.L. Award 2009.

Her new passion is creating book covers for Western Trail Blazers and Rebecca J. Vickery Publishing. In her spare time, she reviews books for PNR-Paranormal Romance Reviews.

Whether your reading fancy is paranormal, historical or time travel, all her stories capture the rich array of emotions that accompany the most fabulous human phenomena—falling in love.

Visit the author at:

Stop by her blog for Monday interviews, chats and contests at:


Karen Michelle Nutt said...

Thank you so much for having me here today. :)

Bekki Lynn said...

Thanks for being with us, Karen. The book sounds wonderful.

I spend hours in the stores looking at ornaments every year. The sparling, trendy style doesn't do anything for me, but the isles of figures in rustic styles attract me.

My tree is mix of balls with santas, snowmen, and reindeer on them - bells - apples - the rustic - the sparkling snowmen - patriotic - sports teams - what the kids and I have made over the years. No real theme although snowmen are taking over.

Every few years we'll put beads or tinsel garland on them. I love tinsel, but it doesn't stay on the tree. With a bunny running around, it's not a good idea.

I have a friend who puts a tree outside with only edible decorations for the birds. I think it's a fantastic idea.

Karen Michelle Nutt said...

I love the idea f the edible decorations. How cool is that?

We decorate two trees. Year back, a group of us met every year to exchange homemade ornaments. One tree is made up of all those wonderful ornaments I've collected through the years.

The other tree is decorated with our Hallmark assortments. My husband is a big fan of Star Trek and every year, I purchase the new Star Trek collector ship from Hallmark.

Teresa K. said...


Oh my Christmas is my favorite part of the year. I decorate the whole house and bought outside decorations also.
My Christmas tree decorations consist of Victorian ornaments such as Lacy Ribbons, Red Ribbons, toy soldiers ornaments and old wooden toy ornaments, handmade and anything to do with rocking horses.
I love the old early christmas trees. We decorate with wooden and beaded garland. No silver or gold.
I also decorate the porach with green garland and the big Red ribbons. Put a Christmas tree on porch also decorated. I did this one in a rodeo theme. Barbwire and Bailing twine for the garland. Various barn items as decorations and the topper of the tree a Cowboy hat. Thanks for letting me share.

Teresa K.

Cheryl Pierson said...

Hi Karen,

Christmas is my favorite time of the year. Recently I was going through some old photographs and came across some of Christmases long past--I must have been about 9 or 10. Our tree was so scrawny and small, but of course, seeing it with the eyes of a child at the time, I remember thinking how our tree was always so BEAUTIFUL! I couldn't wait to go pick it out (in those days, we always had a real tree) and get it put up and decorated. I still have some of the old decorations we used so long ago, including things I made in school. One of my favorites is where my kindergarten teacher had taken a cardboard egg carton and cut the sections apart and we kids painted them. She then ran a string through them with a bell on the end. There is a cluster of 3 of them tied with green yarn. They jingle when you pick them up and SOMEWHAT resemble bells when they are hanging on the tree. LOL There are a ton of other ornaments--a mix of them. I never do a theme tree--my theme is just the memories that each ornament has for me. I started buying my kids ornaments when they were born. Just this last year, I've started putting those in a separate box for each of them. There are the ones they made in school, and the ones they made in Girl Scouts (no my son was not a Girl Scout, but I was the leader for 3 years and he had to be somewhere, so he made ornaments with the rest of them!) LOL Anyhow, there are also the ones I bought for them, and they each have a really nice little collection now of their own memories!

Savanna Kougar said...

Hi Karen, fascinating history about Christmas ornaments. I've always loved them, and now I make them out of spent lightbulbs. It's the perfect shape.

Your book looks Christmas Western delish!

Kathleen O said...

My tree is decorated with lots of decorations I have collected over the years. My first Christmas tree I had in my own place was decorated in silver and blue and then one year I did it all in green and red. Now as I said it an eclectic tree. I do a lot of gold, silver and gree now on the tree..I started to have a Christmas tradtion some years ago, when one year I was not going to put up my Xmas tree because I had a bad back and could not lift of bend of any kinds for months. But my oldest neice who was then about 11 or 12 said no way was I not going to have Xmas decroations up. So she and one of my brothers did it all for me. After that she and I then the other kids that came along helped me decorate. Because of circumstances if got put aside, but just last year, alot of those kids were with me and we had our Christmas tree triming party of old...

Celia Yeary said...

Karen--what a perfectly wonderful Christmas story. And to turn it around so the the female is the outlaw is genius.
I always thoughts Christmas trees were best when they held our most valued, aged ornaments--those made with salt dough, dried and colored, or wise men made of clothespins, and miniarture round gold frames with a baby featured. I didn't like those in the 90s that were designer trees--all one or two colors with specific, matched items. Pretty, but rather boring.Thanks for the memories of our Christmas trees, and good luck with your story.

Karen Michelle Nutt said...


I love the idea of the rodeo theme ornaments. Very creative.

Thanks so much for stopping by.

Karen Michelle Nutt said...


I love tinsel, too. I like how the lights catch onto it and make it glimmer.

Alas, we have three cats and one of them wants to eat everything off the tree. Tinsel isn't good for her. lol

Karen Michelle Nutt said...

Hi Cheryl,

Thanks for popping in. :)

When the kids were young, we would sit at the table and make ornaments for the tree. I still have their creations made from paper, glitter and odds and ends.

And even though they're not little anymore, they look for those ornaments each year. lol

Karen Michelle Nutt said...


How clever-- ornaments made out of light bulbs. I bet they're beautiful.

Thanks so much for coming by.

Karen Michelle Nutt said...


How wonderful to spend time with the family decorating the tree.

Thanks so much for coming by and saying hello.

Karen Michelle Nutt said...


Thank you for popping in and saying hello. I was hoping a female outlaw might intrigue folks. :) Thanks.

I love the homemade ornaments. I have to agree about the themed colored trees. They were beautiful, but I like a little character to my tree.

Sarah J. McNeal said...

What an interesting blog, Karen. My parents had glass Christmas balls and bubble lights--amazing things. We also made felt decorations, candy canes, gingerbread men and threaded popcorn (hurts your fingers to thread that stuff.) For some unknoen reason to me, my mother loved tinsel--dear Lord, what a mess that stuff is.
I read Wanted and loved it. Such a heartwarming stoy

Karen Michelle Nutt said...

Thanks so much, Sarah for you kind words. I'm so glad you liked Wanted. :)

Tinsel-- I know it makes a mess, but I think it looks so beautiful on the tree.

Cathy said...

Christmas is a big celebration at our house.We have a tree planted in the backyard in a planter. We bring it in at Christmastime to decorate it with homemade Christmas ornaments.

cnickol at verizon dot net

Lindsay Townsend said...

Fascinating, Karen! Thanks so much for sharing.

StephB said...

Karen, what an informative post about ornaments. We use a mix - red bows, white lights and homemade old fashioned baked ones that we write our name on that we buy from the cart in the mall. For our balls we use a two theme color, last year it was green and red. We usually put a star on the tree.

I enjoyed Wanted a lot. It captured the spirit of Christmas using paranormal elements which can be challenging to write, but you handled it with ease.


shadow_kohler said...

I love decorating a tree! Its my favorite thing to do during Christmas! I like both types of ornaments. I think im more partial to the homemade because there each unique in there own way and theres something special about each one. Each homemade ornament is one of a kind. :)

Karen Michelle Nutt said...


Thanks so much for stopping by and saying hello!

Karen Michelle Nutt said...


Planting a tree and bringing it in sounds like a great idea.

Thanks for stopping in.

Karen Michelle Nutt said...


I so glad you liked Wanted. :) I'm enjoying your werewolf tales in Budapest right now. :)

Karen Michelle Nutt said...


I think that's why I like the homemade ornaments, too. :) They're one of a kind and special because someone took the time to make it.

Thanks so much for stopping by.