Yesterday we looked at what the song The Twelve Days of Christmas was all about, and today we’re continuing our Christmas education by looking at what we put on the top of our trees.
So just like yesterday I did some investigation to find out why we put angels or stars on the top of our Christmas trees, and here’s what I found out:
The angel or fairy at the top of the Christmas tree was originally a little figure of the baby Jesus. In late seventeenth century Germany this became a shining angel. In Victorian Britain, little girls would take the angel down after Christmas and dress him in dolls’ clothes. Eventually the angel turned into a thoroughly female fairy, complete with wand. The transformation was boosted by the pantomimes that became popular in the Victorian era – and, naturally, included a good fairy in the cast.
The star, which forms one of the most important ornaments of the Christmas tree, indicates the guiding star which led the shepherds and the magi to the new-born Jesus Christ in the stable in Bethlehem.
In recent times, stars have become far more popular on top of Christmas trees, rather than angles. So much so that many retailers no longer even stock angel tree toppers these days, but instead only sell stars.
Whether you have a star or angel at the top of your Christmas tree this year, remember that both where originally placed there to remind us of that first Christmas Day, and the birth of Jesus.