This Is Why We Hang Tinsel at Christmas | NONAGON.style
This Is Why We Hang Tinsel at Christmas

This Is Why We Hang Tinsel at Christmas

The more you know!

Written by –
Jess Ng
on December 2nd 2017

Jess loves good design! She spends her weekends exploring the sights, sounds and architecture of the world. Another favorite activity is taste-testing local delicacies.


Ever wondered why do we hang tinsel at Christmas? When it comes to holiday decor, there is nothing more quintessentially Christmas than garlands of  gleaming tinsel shining proudly in a riot of festive hues. Wrapped around a twinkling evergreen, or set atop holiday-inspired tablescapes, there’s just something about those strings of sparkle that instantly infuse a space with Christmas cheer. But have you ever stopped to think about where tinsel came from? Read on for the surprisingly interesting answer.

Festive living room complete with tinsel and Christmas tree | NONAGON.style
image source

The History of Tinsel

Derived from the Old French word for sparkle, tinsel has a long history stretching back to the 16th century. Originally made from extruded strands of silver alloy, tinsel was in fact first used to decorate sculptures. It was only later that it became a Christmas tree decoration, employed to enhance the flickering of the candle flames.

 

Retro vintage Christmas tree with tinsel | NONAGON.style
image source

Evolution of Materials Used for Tinsel

By the early 20th century, manufacturing allowed for the production of cheaper aluminum tinsel, making the shining accessory more accessible to the masses. In the 50s, tinsel became so popular that it was often used as a substitute for Christmas lights. Even better, aluminium didn’t tarnish the way silver did, meaning it could be reused each year without dulling the shine.

 

Fast forward a few years and lead foil became the material of choice for tinsel manufacturers. Though less flammable than aluminium, lead of course came with that little problem of lead poisoning. Yikes! As lead exposure became an increasing concern in the 70s, the FDA declared lead tinsel to be an “unnecessary risk to children”.

 

Christmas Resolutions

Despite stopping short of banning lead tinsel completely, in 1972 the FDA pressured manufacturers and importers to voluntarily stop producing or importing it, paving the way for the introduction of the plastic variety we know and love today.

5 Tinsel Garlands to Bring Sparkle to your Tree

Now you’re up to date with the history of tinsel, it’s time to find the perfect tinsel accessory to get your home holiday-ready.

Blushing Tinsel Garland from Anthropologie | NONAGON.style
Blushing Tinsel Garland, Anthropologie
Lit Gold Beaded Garland Tinsel from Laura Ashley | NONAGON.style
Lit Gold Beaded Garland, Laura Ashley
Multi Glitter Garland Tinsel by Crate and Barrel | NONAGON.style
Multi Glitter Garland, Crate and Barrel
Silver Leaves Ribbon Tinsel from One Kings Lane | NONAGON.style
Silver Leaves Ribbon, One Kings Lane
Warm Tones Tassel Garland Tinsel from Anthropologie | NONAGON.style
Warm Tones Tassel Garland, Anthropologie

If you liked this article then you have to check out the story behind the Christmas bauble too! To see more articles like this in the future, make sure you hit the ‘heart’ button.

 

Follow us on Pinterest and Instagram for even more home inspiration!

Tags:

No products in the bag.