Christmas ornaments, baubles or " christmas balls" are decorations (usually made of glass , metal , wood , or ceramics) that are used to festoon a Christmas tree . Ornaments take many different forms, from a simple round ball to highly artistic designs. Ornaments are almost always reused year after year rather than purchased annually, and family collections often contain a combination of commercially produced ornaments and decorations created by family members. Such collections are often passed on and augmented from generation to generation.
Santa Claus is a commonly used figure. Candy canes, fruit , animals , snowmen , angels and snowflake images are also popular choices.
Lucretia P. Hale's story "The Peterkins' Christmas - Tree " offers a short catalog of the sorts of ornaments used in the 1870s:
There was every kind of gilt hanging-thing, from gilt pea -pods to butterflies on springs. There were shining flags and lanterns , and bird -cages, and nests with birds sitting on them, baskets of fruit , gilt apples , and bunches of grapes .
The modern- day mold-blown colored glass Christmas ornament was invented in the small German town of Lauscha in the mid- 19th century .