Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Bride's Tree Ornaments

When my BIL and SIL got married, my DH and I wanted to get them something really special for their first Christmas as a married couple. I scoured the internet looking for ideas and stumbled upon what's credited as a German tradition of the Bride's Tree. This is the list of ornaments and the meanings: (Note that the list contains both religious and secular meanings)
  • Heart - true love, love of family
  • House - shelter and/or protection
  • Flower or Flower Basket - good wishes, beauty in the home
  • Fruit or Fruit Basket - generosity, plenty
  • Teapot or Coffeepot - hospitality
  • Bird or Bird in a nest - happiness and/or joy, confidence in the shelter
  • Pinecone - motherhood and/or fruitfulness, eternity
  • Rose - beauty and/or affection, Virgin or Mother Mary
  • Fish - Christ's blessing, fertility, Christ
  • Angel or church - God's guidance in the home, God's protection, God
  • St. Nicholas (Santa Claus) - giving and sharing, unselfishness and/or goodwill
  • Rabbit - hope and/or faith
Since my DH's and SIL's families are both of German descent, I thought it was most appropriate, and working from the list, we collected the ornaments for their tree. Once we had them all, DH put together a customized box for them (using a photo storage box and cardstock) and I made a booklet explaining the meaning behind all the ornaments. They absolutely LOVED it and my SIL says when they take it out each year, they re-read the booklet as they hang the ornaments.

We also put together a set of ornaments for our own tree, but I've been thinking I would like to stitch up some well. Even if I don't hang them on our tree, it would make a wonderful gift. And since there are 12 ornaments in the list and 12 months in the year, I thought, "Why not put this out there as a stitch along?" Ornaments would stitch up quick and the list allows for tons of creativity in interpretation. Plus since 2008 has been dubbed the Year of Selfish Stitching, why not make a personalized set of ornaments for yourself?

I did a little preliminary research and was able to find all 12 patterns in the Better Homes and Garden's 2001 Cross Stitch Designs book. However, I've seen how amazingly creative and resourceful my fellow stitchers are, and I think this could be a great way to express that creativity. I would post the ornament theme for the month and everyone would stitch their piece, posting pictures when they complete them. Of course, I'd post the entire list on the blog in case anyone wants to work ahead or keep their eyes open for ideas, but the focus would be one one theme per month.

I've set up a blog here: Bride's Tree SAL. It doesn't look like much now, but I'll be working on it over the next few days. If you're interested in doing the SAL with me, let me know and I will add you as an author so you can post your pictures.


Pumpkin said...

That is a very neat idea! I'll have to give that some thought because next year is the year of big projects for me :o) They would definitely make a treasured set.

Sally said...

What a fantastic idea. I'd love to join in but not sure I'd be able to keep up. Let me have a serious think about this and I'll email you if I think I can manage it:)

Abi said...

I think its a great idea. Let me think about it. I usually stitch what calls to me and very rarely do I plan out. LOL. If I plan too much, it usually doesn't happen. :)

Vee said...

Great idea! Are the charts in the book in colour?


Michelle said...

What a great idea! I bought a set of Bride's Tree Ornaments last year for our first married Christmas. Love them! Can't wait to see your stitched ornaments!

Lauren said...

That's a great idea - especially since I plan on getting married next year!

Liz said...

FYI !! I actually have cross-stitch designs for these...3 phamplets of 4 designs. They are small designs that are framed. You can check them out on as they are still in print & available to order, "The Bride's Tree Ornament Collection".
Of course, using other various designs & putting together a unique set is a great idea, too ! Good luck !!

Frances said...

Came upon this as looking for the glass ornaments (wedding gift for niece), and have promptly ordered the book you mentioned.

In a similar vein, Carolina Crosstitch had a book with the Twelve Days of Christmas (old British tradition) which I have done many times. The company closed in the 90s, but you may still be able to find the book. They had a lot of great Christmas ornaments.