The holidays are incomplete without Christmas trees glimmering with festive trimmings. And what better way to deck those boughs than with beautiful red glass ornament sets? From vintage mercury balls to handblown icicles, red glass ornaments evoke nostalgia. They lend a magical charm that brings warm holiday cheer into our homes.
With their rich history and variety of styles, it’s easy to be jolly when shopping for these holiday decorations. Read on to discover the tradition of red glass ornaments and tips for decorating with them this Christmas.
History and Meaning of Red Glass Ornaments
The origins of glass Christmas ornaments can be traced back to 16th century Germany. Skilled artisans crafted hand-blown glass balls and beads to adorn trees. These lavish ornaments were initially only accessible to nobility. By the 1800s, glass ornament production increased with the discovery that mercury could be mixed with glass for an alluring, reflective sheen.
Red glass ornaments became especially significant. Their vivid crimson color echoed the fabled berries and winter foliage used for old-fashioned holiday decor. Red symbolized passion and was associated with the Christmas season. Highly prized vintage mercury glass ornaments in red are still sought after today for their antiqued holiday charm.
Evolution of Orb Shapes
Glassblowers shaped early Christmas ornaments into spheres to represent the sun, stars, and planets. Round smooth balls offered an ideal form to reflect candlelight on the early Christmas trees they adorned. Over time, teardrop, icicle, and figural shaped ornaments also emerged, but the elegant orb remained the quintessential Christmas symbol.
Meaning Behind the Color Red
Red holds deep meaning in holiday lore. Ancient cultures viewed red as representing life, fire, and passion. The vivid color conjures the magic of the season. It mirrors symbolic winter items like cranberries, poinsettias, and cardinals. Red is also connected to Christmas through depictions of Santa’s suit and Rudolph’s nose. Festive red glass ornaments are a way to infuse this color’s energy and symbolism into our Christmas dA(c)cor.
Popular Shapes and Styles
While round balls are the classic red ornament shape, there are many festive styles to choose from:
- Faceted ornaments with cut sides that refract light in shimmering displays.
- Elegant teardrops in various sizes, perfect for hanging in clusters.
- Icicle shaped ornaments that evoke the sparkle of winter.
- Short beaded strings and garlands for wrapping on branches.
- Novelty shapes like fruits, flowers, animals, and figurines.
Within these styles, options include shiny, satiny, crackled, or speckled finishes. Mix various textures for added depth and interest. The diversity of forms allows for creativity in designing distinctive decor schemes.
Displaying Different Shapes and Sizes
To maximize visual impact, follow these tips for showing off ornament shapes and sizes:
- Use larger teardrop ornaments near the top of the tree, where their shape can dangle freely.
- Icicles look lovely clustered together on branches.
- Place small beads in fill-in areas to add sparkle.
- Display novelty ornaments at eye-level for children to enjoy.
A thoughtful arrangement creates a cohesive look and highlights the beauty of each unique ornament.
Where to Buy Red Glass Ornament Sets
Finding festive red glass ornaments is easier than hitching up Santa’s sleigh. Here are the best places to shop:
Websites like Etsy, Amazon, and eBay offer an enormous selection of red glass ornaments. You can find everything from single unique artisan pieces to full sets of matching balls. Shipping is convenient, and holiday delivery deadlines allow ample time for Christmas arrivals.
Walk the aisles of craft stores like Michaels and Hobby Lobby to hand-select ornaments. Touching the glass helps discern ornament quality and suitability for your decor goals. Craft stores carry themed sets and unusual specialty ornaments not easily found online.
Christmas specialty shops
For hardcore ornament aficionados, visit Christmas specialty retailers like Bronner’s. The massive selection is unmatched. Beyond standard balls, you’ll discover clusters of red beads, embossed motifs, and icicle varieties. Experts there can also assist in designing eye-catching looks.
Department Store Finds
For convenience, don’t overlook the ornament offerings at department stores like Target and Walmart. Their sets usually feature classic styles at budget prices. Selections in these stores are more limited but can fulfill basic needs.
Designing with Red Glass Ornament Sets
Once you’ve got those beautiful balls, it’s time for the fun part – decorating! Here are tips to inspire you:
Mix Textures and Finishes
Combine matte, shiny, speckled, and crackled ornaments for lots of visual interest. Vary the look with metallic red hues too. Contrasting textures prevent a flat, monotonous appearance.
Pair red with other symbolic Christmas colors like emerald greens or wintry silvers and whites. For drama, decorate trees entirely in red. Gold and red bouquets also make stately statements. Don’t overlook red bulb garlands and ribbon too.
Avoid clumping red ornaments in one area. Distribute them throughout the tree for balance. Alternating red balls with other colors or looping red bead strands amidst green branches keeps the look fresh.
Mix big and small red ornaments to add layers and depth. Use large ornament focal points with smaller accents surrounding them. Dropping clusters of red icicles in gaps or a few red beads tucked into the tips of branches pulls the look together.
|Scatter shiny red berries or mini poinsettias near ornaments
|Display sets together
|Hang matching styles on a front facing tree side
|Tie red velvet bows on branches between ornaments
Fun for Collectors
Searching for special red ornaments is a cherished holiday tradition for collectors. Here’s how to amass a distinctive collection:
Seek Out Vintage Finds
Look for antique European glass ornaments at estate sales or online auctions. Mercury glass, beaded garlands, and etched motifs have old-world appeal.
Select Signature Styles
Choose a specific ornament style, like icicles or red cardinals, and collect rare finds each year. Curating a collection around a theme creates visual impact.
Support Local Artisans
Check holiday craft fairs for hand-blown glass creations. One-of-a-kind artisan ornaments make meaningful keepsakes.
Expand Into Different Shapes
Start with red balls but over time add teardrops, icicles, beads, and other novelty silhouettes. Varying ornament forms keeps collecting exciting.
When not on the tree, collections can be artfully arranged on shelves or in glass cases and enjoyed year-round.
It’s easy to get excited about red glass ornament sets because of their rich symbolism and variety. As you deck your own halls this season, may your boughs be adorned with these festive baubles–shining reminders of the holiday’s magical spirit.