Christmas toys: types, materials and tips on choosing
The tradition of decorating the Christmas tree with toys originated in ancient times. Over the years, the fashion for toys changed, the materials became more reliable and safer, but the desire to dress up a fluffy forest beauty remained unchanged.
History of origin
It is believed that the first time to decorate the Christmas tree before the New Year began in Germany. It was there at the beginning of the XVI century that the well-known Martin Luther walked through the forest on the eve of Christmas and stopped to admire the sky. The glow of twinkling stars surprised the German theologian: it seemed to him that the branches of all the trees were literally covered with flowers and flickering lights.When the reformer returned to his home, he put a Christmas tree in a barrel in the room, decorated it with small candles, and crowned the top of his head with an eight-pointed star in memory of the very light that showed the magicians the way to the place where baby Jesus was born.
The tradition quickly got accustomed, and after a few years, small trees with nuts, apples and other sweets began to be decorated in all the houses on New Year's Eve.
By the beginning of the XIX century began to decorate the Christmas tree and in other European countries, as well as the tradition reached the shores of America. At first, branches were decorated with candles and sweet fruits, and in the 20th century, elements of cotton wool as well as cardboard, clay, wax and glass became firmly fashionable.
In our country, the tradition of putting the New Year tree was introduced by Peter the Great. Even when he was very young, he spent a lot of time with his relatives from Germany and noticed a small fir-tree decorated with candies and oranges there. This idea was so much liked by the future ruler that, as soon as he became emperor, he immediately issued a special decree to celebrate the New Year just as in the countries of the Old World.
Unfortunately, after the death of the reformer, the mandate was ignored, and the tree again became a symbol of the New Year holiday only a few centuries later.
The first country that started making Christmas-tree decorations was also Germany. It was from there that the products were delivered to pre-revolutionary Russia, and at that time they were available only to a select few: jewelry was sold only in very rich galleries in Moscow and St. Petersburg. By the way, to buy a glass thing for a Russian at that time was the same as a modern citizen of our country to buy a car. Very popular then were figurines made of porcelain and glass goods. They served as a measure of luxury, wealth and high origin, but then the balls were too heavy, as they began to produce thin glass only by the end of the XX century.
Our own manufacturing of Christmas-tree toys was established only during the First World War in the town of Klin. At the production that existed there, they made glass flasks and devices for pharmacists, but during the war years, prisoners showed our technologists how to create glass beads, as well as unusual Christmas tree balls.
However, in the country for several years there was a ban on celebrating the New Year, which was completely lifted only in 1935. It was then that they began to produce jewelery for fluffy pines everywhere. However, in those difficult years in the Soviet Union there was not enough raw materials for the manufacture of such expensive jewelry, therefore, they preferred wool products made in the best Soviet traditions. The very first elements of the decor depicted the main attributes of the Soviet state: sickle, hammer, flag. A little later, decorations appeared depicting athletes, pioneers and polar explorers. Over time, a peaceful life was getting better, people began to forget about the nightmares of the war period, so the toys became more kind. In large quantities on the shelves there were images of wizards and small forest animals. Popular vegetables, berries and fruits, as well as multi-colored dolls, which symbolized the friendship of the peoples in the fraternal republics.
In the 60s, products from glass beads in the form of cones, icicles and beads came into vogue, balls became popular in the 70s, and in the early 90s domestic production mastered the production of plastic and foam jewelry. Since then, the fashion for New Year decorations has changed repeatedly, new decors have appeared,designs and materials used, so nowadays on the shelves you can find a wide selection of any Christmas decorations: from retro to trendy high-tech.
Christmas toys are divided into two main types: Christmas lights and Christmas tree decorations. Christmas garland is recognized as an ornament, without which not a single New Year's holiday. They may be luminous. Such products have several operating modes and can shine with the most various shades of New Year's lights. However, the garland is of other kinds: it is made of paper, foil, tinsel and glass bead.
Christmas toys are made in a variety of decors: angels, animals, birds, cones, icicles, cute animals or simple pyramids. And, of course, not a single Christmas tree can do without sparkling balls, which for many decades have enjoyed the constant love of consumers all over the world.
Christmas balls differ from each other in design and material. In previous years, they were mainly made of glass, but recently plastic products have replaced this dangerous and easily beating material.They are not as beautiful as glass, but for families with small children and pets, you should choose them. Plastic is a durable material that does not break, and even if it cracks, it will not be able to damage a child or a beloved pet.
And, of course, the final details that will make the image of the Christmas tree more stylish and complete will be rain and New Year's ribbons with bows. They will complement the New Year's décor and highlight its beauty and wealth.
In times of the USSR, papier-mâché toys became widespread. This material is a dense substance, which is obtained by grinding the pulp and mixing it with an adhesive component, gypsum or chalk. In the Soviet Union, such toys were made by hand, and the production was quite laborious and time consuming: obtaining raw mass, modeling, putty and primer, and then finishing polishing and dyeing, and between each stage was assumed to dry at a temperature of 40 to 65 degrees . At the final stage, the toys were covered with a layer of bertolet salt, which made the surface very smooth and shimmering.
The range of manufactured jewelry at that time were mostly toys depicting animals, as well as figurines of the main storytellers of the New Year holiday: Father Frost and his granddaughter Snegurochka. By the way, these toys are rather highly valued by collectors, so if you find such items in your grandmother’s chest, you can try to sell them very profitably. Like all other antiquities, they have quite a big price.
Cardboard can be called more primitive and affordable toys. - These are images that are cut from a convex dense cardboard, glued together and covered with silver or gold paint on top. Such toys have now lost their relevance, and in times of total deficit they enjoyed the great love of our compatriots, because at that time they were affordable and, most importantly, cheap. They could be found in every store and even ordered through the mail, because the catalogs of top models were printed in many Soviet magazines and newspapers.
Most often they depicted birds and animals, as well as stars, bells and snowflakes. Now most users give the palm to plastic decorations - these are cheap toys, but at the same time attractive and safe.However, toxic materials are often used as raw materials, therefore toys should be purchased only from reputable manufacturers and it is imperative to require a certificate of conformity and a hygienic certificate from the seller.
At the time of our mothers, glass products were the most popular.
The very first adornments of this material were made in the form of balls, beads, as well as icicles and cones. They were much more massive than the current ones, because at that moment they were made from a rather thick plate glass. Over time, the technology of making toys made of glass has improved, and today you can buy very thin and elegant models that will become a real decoration of the main New Year tree.
It should be noted that glass models are much more expensive than plastic ones, but they look more impressive. Glass has a very interesting play of light and color, as well as a melodic chime that occurs whenever toys accidentally collide with each other. All this creates an atmosphere of mystery and a premonition of magic, which is so necessary for both children and adults.The only disadvantage of Christmas tree decorations made of glass is their fragility, however, if children do not touch them, then with careful storage they can please their masters for many years.
Lovers of eco-style and country will love toys made of wood and textiles. They bring to the house a feeling of warmth and comfort, they are very attractive and practical, for many years retain their appearance and consumer characteristics. Such products are best used in combination with glass or plastic, but so that they are matched to the main ones - only then will they emphasize the concept of New Year's décor and put the right accents.
Some prefer edible decorations. To create an atmosphere, the New Year tree is often decorated with orange circles and chocolate figures. The choice is great, so in every store selling Christmas decorations, you can buy products that are not only affordable, but also stylish, beautiful and atmospheric.
In the old days, instead of Christmas tree decorations, candy, gingerbread houses and cotton wool were most often used. A little later, fashion made drawings on glossy paper.
Today, jewelry design is more diverse, but there are a number of models that have remained popular for very long years.
- Christmas angels. This decoration is relevant for more than a hundred years. For the first time such a toy was created in 1880, and since then the images of angels are always present in the festive decorations, especially in those families where not only the New Year itself is revered, but also Christmas.
- Balls - it is an ornament that was, is and probably will be for many more decades at the peak of popularity. For the first time such jewels were made by German masters, but soon the fashion for them seized Europe, and from there it moved to Russia and America. Christmas tree without balls in our days is very rare, most often these figures become the main decorative element, and all the others are already included, emphasizing and shading the color and style of jewelry.
- Tinsel - Another indispensable attribute of New Year's decoration. Initially, it was made of silver, but soon in Germany created the formula for its substitute, which became more popular. The fact is that natural silver jewelry fades with time, but the appearance and brilliance of tinsel remains unchanged for many years.
- Christmas candles. This decoration was the very first in history, but over time, its relevance has not changed. Candles create a magical atmosphere filled with comfort, warmth, and a premonition of a fairy tale. Of course, no one now uses real candles, as it is quite dangerous, as it often leads to fires, but candle-shaped toys and flickering decorations are in steady demand from residents all over the world. They seem to symbolize joy, light and are considered an indispensable attribute of the New Year and Christmas.
The design of toys can be any. Recently, the symbols of the years on the horoscope and ultra-modern abstract figures are very popular, and they are made in a variety of colors and shades. Christmas tree can be decorated in silver-blue colors, you can give preference to red colors that are in perfect harmony with gold, as well as popular snow-white decors. There is no limit to the imagination, but at the same time it is important to think through all the New Year's atmosphere in advance to the smallest detail so that the tree becomes strong, luxurious, but at the same time very cozy.
Everyone wants his New Year tree to be not only elegant, but also stylish.This creates a unique aura in the house, emphasizes the features of the interior and design concept. Recently, vintage retrodecora are very popular. In this case, the Christmas tree is decorated with bright multi-colored balls, and also complement them with images of fairy-tale characters, animals or hours. It all seems to immerse in the memories of a happy childhood. The decorations that you inherited from grandmothers and mothers will look very good, however, if you wish, you can buy artificially aged ones. Usually, these are homemade fabric products (so-called loft toys), as well as foam plastic decorations in the shape of icicles, balls and snowflakes.
The final touch, without which the image will not be complete, will be figures of Santa Claus with the Snow Maiden, a red star on top and an abundance of rain. Ecostyle is gaining increasing popularity, especially among lovers of a healthy lifestyle, who try to use only the safest materials in everything. In this case, you can decorate the tree with nuts, small apples, oranges and miniature chocolate figures. Gouache colored cones look very stylish.
A little advice: to make the Christmas tree not look too alyapistoy and variegated, it is worth making it in a single color scheme. Painted white, red or gold paint cones and nuts look very elegant, and all this can be diluted with gingerbread or toys made from natural materials, for example, from polymer clay.
The room, decorated in a modern style, will decorate the European Christmas tree. In the countries of the Old World it is customary to decorate trees in a single color. As a rule, shades of red and blue are used, diluting it with silver or gold shimmer. The main decoration in such design solutions are balls, but they can be shaded by bows or ribbons, but in this case tinsel should not be used.
Combinations of red and white, gold and tea, blue and silver, and also a very good union of red and white jewelry are considered to be very advantageous. For lovers of a luxurious lifestyle, we can recommend the royal style of New Year's decor. In this case, use a large branching tree, which is decorated with massive toys so tightly that the branches are almost imperceptible.As a rule, they use balls, large flowers and bows of various textures: decorations can be satin, silk or textile, popular glass or expensive plastic. As for the color solution, it is chosen in such a way that dark shades of blue or burgundy tone become the main motive.
But for high-tech interiors it is worthwhile to dwell on minimalism in the New Year's decor. Of course, this does not mean that the Christmas tree should be left without toys, but you need to keep their number to a minimum (5–7 large balls are enough), and you can create a festive mood by richly filling the tree with glitters and securing them with hairspray. Nowadays, you can find the most extraordinary Christmas trees, for example, inverted, geometric or created from books - there is no limit to the imagination, because the New Year was invented so that everyone can fully express their imagination and realize their creative potential.
Tips for choosing
In order for the Christmas tree to shine with beauty, it is important to think over the idea of New Year's décor, but the aesthetic component is not the only point that you should pay attention to when choosing Christmas decorations.
The most important thing is the safety of purchased Christmas decorations. Unfortunately, in the pre-New Year race, many people do not pay attention to the quality of the toys they buy, and it is in vain: unscrupulous manufacturers often make their toys from low-quality and often even hazardous materials.
The second thing worth paying attention to is the fragility of the products. If you have small children or active pets in your house, especially cats, then you should make every effort so that your new year tree has as little as possible easily beaten jewelry. If you don’t want to give them up, then at least hang them as high as possible, until your favorite child or curious animal can reach it.
In general, materials such as plastic, clay, textiles or foam can be preferred. Make sure that there is no chemical smell and high quality of painting the product. Even in the store, make sure that the paintwork is durable. To do this, moisten your finger with saliva and rub the decoration: if the skin stains on the paint, then the purchase should definitely be abandoned.
The same applies to the smell - the purchased product should not smell anything. Any impurities clearly indicate that the manufacture of products used cheap materials that most often emit harmful volatile substances. Check all pegs and attachments. If the clips are made incorrectly, then at the slightest touch to the pine the toys will begin to fall and break. Unfortunately, most of the products imported from China have this disadvantage, so you have to adjust the fasteners yourself and use additional elements: threads or paper clips.
Try to avoid materials that melt easily., discard the flammable jewelry. Remember that the statistics of fires in the New Year's holidays is very sad, and most of them are associated with the illiterate use of Christmas-tree decorations. If possible, give preference to eco-toys: they are much more expensive, but this is more than offset by their durability. And, of course, it’s important that you will be sure at any time that your baby will not get chemical poisoning and you will not get asthma or allergies.
Do not forget about the practicality of their acquisitions. Every year, spending a considerable part of the budget is a completely uninteresting idea, so try choosing a toy and dwell on such an option that jewelery can last at least 3-5 seasons. Keep in mind that for this purpose it is not enough to properly store decorative elements - it is also important to purchase only products of appropriate quality from verified manufacturers with all necessary certificates confirming the compliance of products with sanitary and technological standards.
Glitter toys look very beautiful, but often such a coating falls off, gets into the airways and causes allergies. So do not hesitate to shake them in the store and check the strength of the coating. Try not to buy heavy jewelry. In this case, the branch will begin to sag under the weight of the toy, and it, in turn, can easily slip off and break from it. Consider the size of the room when buying toys. It would seem that they are not connected in any way - this is not so. In a small room you can put only a miniature Christmas tree, and large toys are unlikely to look good on it.
And, of course, carefully examine the packaging.It must contain information about the manufacturer, its contact information, as well as labeling. Otherwise, boldly turn around - before you fake.
Decorated with Christmas toys Christmas tree is the main symbol of the New Year.
At the peak of popularity today are soft attic toys, vintage decorations made of ceramics, salt dough and plywood.
Probably, many people remember the wadded snowmen from our childhood. Surely many grandmothers preserved such in the chest.
But for lovers of modernity and minimalism, exclusive figured modern high-tech decorations will suit.
And some more beautiful examples.
How to make Christmas toys with their own hands, see the next video.