Christmas tree baubles go modern and ethnic

21st December 2006, Comments 0 comments

21 December 2006, Georgensgmuend, Germany (dpa) In the past people decorated Christmas trees with apples and walnuts and the tradition would probably have remained unchanged, if not for a glass blower from Lauscha in eastern Germany.

21 December 2006

Georgensgmuend, Germany (dpa)  In the past people decorated Christmas trees with apples and walnuts and the tradition would probably have remained unchanged, if not for a glass blower from Lauscha in eastern Germany.

Due to a shortage of nuts and apples in 1847, a poor glass worker decided to make Christmas tree baubles from glass, at least according to local legend.

Today, no Christmas tree is complete without decorations and the classic red bauble has long since been surpassed by other colours, according to Thomas Boeck, sales director at the company Krebs & Sohn in Georgensgmuend in Bavaria.

"I think the trend this season is towards bright, multicoloured decorations," says Boeck.

There are also decorations in less conventional colours such as black and white.

"We're also surprised," says Jutta Baumann, an organizer of the Christmas World Trade Fair in Frankfurt. "Black is not the first colour people associate with Christmas decorations."

Monochrome Christmas tree baubles were inspired by fashion trends and while they may be unsuitable for family gatherings, "Young people who want something different and trendy buy them," says Baumann.

In addition to black with silver or gold decorations, there are also shrill pink or bright green baubles to choose from.

Anyone looking for something a little less eye-catching should try more homely variations such as the 'Alpine' Christmas tree balls in warm tones with glitter.

'Ethno Look' decorations target the same market. Baubles in dark, warm red or brown colours with African designs will probably be popular with a lot of people this season, Baumann believes.

"They're more versatile than classical Christmas tree decorations. They can be hung up in autumn and not just during the Christmas period," she says.

The company Kaethe Wohlfahrt in Rothenburg ob der Tauber in Germany has specialized in Christmas decorations and accessories and have something to suit every taste and style.

"We have almost every shade of pink, light and dark-coloured balls, ice-blue-white balls combined with brown  we have everything," says a spokeswoman, Felicitas Hoeptner. They even have Christmas tree baubles decorated with gingerbread designs.

"However, we have decided not to stock black Christmas tree baubles," says Hoeptner.

Another big trend at the moment are decorations with plenty of glitter and beads in all shapes and sizes.

The birthplace of the Christmas tree bauble, Lauscha, is also following the latest trends in design. Krebs Glas Lauscha makes luxurious glass baubles and has brought out decorations in black, red and gold  the colours of the German national flag this year.

"Since the World Cup, the demand for those decorations has gone up. In the past, only Christmas trees in the US and Denmark tended to be decorated in their national colours but this year Germany is joining in," says Michael Krebs, manager of the family-owned firm.

High-quality and long-lasting glass baubles are expensive, though. "One glass bauble can cost between three and 20 euros," says Boeck.

A bauble with ornamentation can cost around 17 euros (23 dollars), says Eva Barth-Gillhaus, who represents a professional association of German home and house ware manufacturers. Some baubles can even cost 40, 50 or 60 euros each.

The Swedish furniture store, Ikea, has classic Christmas tree baubles and decorations shaped as birds or even shoes in pink and green. Interior designer Katharina Semling advises not to follow conventions slavishly.

"Everyone has their own taste. Christmas is a personal festival and nobody needs to stick to the trends."

Nevertheless, it is possible for things to go wrong when choosing tree decorations. "One mistake is to mix styles on the tree. Then people ask why nothing matches stylistically," she says.

Choosing a theme helps, she adds, "It's like writing an essay; you have to decide what you are going to write about before you start."

Copyright DPA

Subject: German news

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