Decorating Your Home for Christmas With Victorian Ornaments and Decor
Victorian Christmas decorations are a window into the ornate style of Victorian times. Victorian Christmas decor was ornate and skillfully made, with lots of details like hand-sewn embroidery.
The Christmas we know today was invented by the Victorians, so we see a lot of Victorian Christmas food and decor in our homes today.
Did you know that mince pies were invented by the Victorians?
There is a lot of personal taste that goes into Christmas decor. Some people prefer a modern Christmas decorating style with minimalistic colour palettes like silver, white and blue.
Traditional Christmas decor is typically red and gold, or with no real colour scheme and just a wonderful collection of colours. This traditional style has come from the Victorians.
We’re going to talk about what Victorian Christmas decorations were like, where you can buy them and how you can make your very own Victorian Christmas decorations!
“It was the Victorians that really centred Christmas round the family, with the eating of a Christmas dinner together, giving gifts and playing games. All these things have become central to a British Christmas Day.”A Victorian Christmas by Brian Williams.
What were Victorian Christmas Decorations like?
Victorian Christmas decor was highly decorative in everything from placemats to gift bags and Christmas trees. In fact, Victorian Christmas was not that far from how we celebrate and decorate today.
The main difference between today’s Christmas decoration and Victorian Christmas decorations is that everything they used was hand made, and almost everything was natural.
What’s great about Victorian Christmas Decorations is the lack of plastic and the use of sustainable materials.
Many Victorians would make their own Christmas decorations out of things they already had available, and anything they could find from nature. Even some Victorian Christmas tree decorations were made of paper.
Victorian Christmas Tree Decorations
Christmas tree decorating has not changed much in the hundreds of years since Victorian times. They used garlands like we use tinsel, candles instead of Christmas lights and home-made decorations instead of shop-bought ornaments.
It’s so cool how the Christmas tree decorations we have in our homes are so similar to how they traditionally were. There aren’t many other Christmas traditions that have stayed so true to themselves over the centuries.
How to make Victorian Christmas Tree Decorations
Have a go at making some traditional Victorian Christmas tree decorations this year! These are super fun to make and don’t require a lot of resources or time. These are great Christmas crafting activities for children in school or over the Christmas holidays.
A lot of Victorian Christmas decorations were Christmassy items tied on a string and hung up on the tree.
To do this you could use:
- Dried oranges or other citrus fruits (dry these out in the oven on low heat)
- Cookies or gingerbread people
How to make Victorian paperchains
Although you’re now more likely to see paperchains at a birthday party, paper chains were originally a Victorian Christmas Decoration.
Paper chains were first seen in England in the 1850s. It’s likely they emerged when the UK was adopting a lot of German Christmas traditions during the Victorian era.
To make a Victorian paper chain, cut strips of colourful paper that are all roughly the same size and length. Glue your first circle by sticking the ends of one strip together. Loop your next strip of paper through your first circle, and repeat until you’ve reached the length you want.
Hang your Victorian paper chain on your Christmas tree, over the fireplace or around the TV!
How to make a Victorian hanging cone decoration
Imagine a cone shape decorated with Christmassy accessories like ribbon, snow and glitter. These are really simple to make and you can decorate them however you like.
- Take a piece of thick paper and decorate one side with drawings, stripes, pipe cleaners, glitter or anything you want. Victorian people would use pieces of thread to make patterns on their cornucopias. This DIY version uses caning for a modern look!
- Once your decoration has dried, wrap the paper in a cone shape and secure with tape (on the inside) or glue.
- Attach a string to your cone and fill with sweets or place an ornament inside and hang up on your tree!
Where to buy Victorian Christmas decorations
Find some small gift bags to fill with sweets or chocolate and hang on your Christmas tree.
Although they’re not really Victorian style, we couldn’t resist these adorable gift bags.
These plain gift bags are more traditional looking, and are easy to sew or glue your own decorations onto!
Victorian Christmas trees would have candles where we have fairy lights today! For a safer alternative, try out these Christmas Candle Indoor Fairy Lights with Tree Clips.
The Victorian Trading Co. is a lovely independent company based in the US with a huge range of products to bring the Victorian times into your home this Christmas.
DIY Victorian Christmas Decorations
Making your own Victorian Christmas decorations is fun for anybody but especially great for kids learning about Victorian history. Another cool thing about Victorian decor is there’s hardly any waste involved. They make a great sustainable alternative to the plastic, glass and metal we use today.
Take a look at these simple Victorian crafts, and send us or tag us in any photos you take of your finished result.
How to make a Victorian Christmas Wreath
You can easily make a Victorian Christmas wreath by following our guide to making a Christmas wreath but adopting the Victorian Christmas decor style. This involves using much more natural resources like foliage and berries.
You could make a Victorian Christmas wreath that you can use each year by buying some artificial Christmas plants, and cutting them up to use to make your wreath!
Try using real or artificial:
- Any other greenery
How to make a Christmas Placemat
Victorian Christmas dinner tables were extravagantly decorated.
Have a go at making your own decorative placemats this year by cutting neat, matching rectangles out of some felt or fabric. Decorate your Victorian placemats by glueing or sewing on buttons, ribbon, thread or beads.
How to make a Christmas Gift Bag
These are a little bit trickier than our other crafts, but the Shabby Art Boutique has some great instructions on how to make a Victorian gift box. If you don’t want to make indepth gift boxes from scratch, you could buy this set of 50 plain gift bags and decorate by glueing on some felt holly leaves, pearls, lace, or some ribbon.
Hand them out to friends, or leave them at each place setting for your Christmas lunch.
How to make a Mistletoe Decoration
Did you know Victorians popularised the mistletoe kissing trend? Hanging mistletoe is very easy to make and can be done with real or artificial mistletoe.
Tie your mistletoe pieces around a wire or let them hang loosely by tying the ends together with string or ribbon. With another longer piece of string or ribbon, tie a longer loop to your mistletoe so the plant can hang above a doorway or on your Christmas tree.
Read more about mistletoe and other Christmas plants here.
How to make a Victorian Christmas Garland
Victorian Christmas decorations featured a lot of influence from nature. Many decorations would actually just be elements of nature brought into the home. In Victorian Christmas, garlands were occasionally just strings of Ivy wrapped around a bannister or over a fireplace.
Add a nod to nature and Victorian Christmas decor by using real or artificial Ivy to replace your tinsel this year. Or maybe just some of it, it’s hard to resist glitzy tinsel…
Our Final Thoughts on Victorian Christmas Decorations
We hope we’ve given you lots of ideas and inspiration for how to add Victorian influence into your Christmas decorations this year. Remember if you have a go at making some of these Victorian crafts, to send us your pictures on any of our socials.
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