12 Christmas tree traditions around the world

From real candles in Germany to spiderwebs in Ukraine…

You may have the same Christmas tree decorations every year, retrieving the festive box from the attic and hanging your tried and tested baubles on the tree.

Or perhaps you prefer to follow the Christmas trend of the moment to inspire your own tree decorations. But how do other countries across the world decorate their own Christmas trees? From edible decorations to real candles, Celebrity Cruises has revealed the most wonderful traditional tree decorations unique to 12 different countries.

France: Fruits, particularly red apples

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#christmastree #frenchchristmas #frenchsquare #prettylights

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Centuries ago, real fruit was used to decorate Christmas trees in France. This practice had to be stopped after a bad harvest one year but in their place, glass ornaments were used to symbolise the fruit. Red apple decorations are commonly seen on French trees, due to their strong religious association with the Garden of Eden.

Germany: Real candles

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There's no #christmastree like a #germanchristmastree. Merry Christmas! 🎄🎁🎅🕯#FröhlicheWeihnachten #thegermanway #candlelight

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Many of our own Christmas traditions stem from Germany, but one of their most famous is using real candles to decorate trees. According to legend, Protestant reformer Martin Luther was the first to do it in the 16th century as a way of recreating a starry Christmas Eve sky. It's a very pretty look, but using real candles poses a fire risk – electric candles are a good substitute.

Ukraine: Sparkly spiderwebs and spiders

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We have two pavuchky ornaments for good luck, well, one for luck and a second so the first one doesn't get lonely. These beauties were crafted by Elizabeth Moody over on Etsy (/moodyelizabeth) so be sure to check her out!

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In Britain, spiderwebs are connected to Halloween far more than the festive season. But in Ukraine, glittery spiderwebs and spiders are regularly used as Christmas tree decorations. They don't carry a creepy meaning but represent good luck, according to a famous folktale about a Christmas spiderweb which turns to gold on Christmas morning.

USA: Popcorn on a string

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Only 3 more sleeps! 🎄❤️💚 #holidayhometour #farmhousechristmas #stockingsarehung #firstchristmasinourhome #popcorngarland #kidtree

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Very popular in the 50s and 60s, American families still follow the tradition of decorating their tree with popcorn on a string. It is believed this originates from when outdoor Christmas trees were decorated with food for birds and other wildlife.

Australia: Shell ornaments

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omg christmas is coming #davidjones#melbourne#christmas#christmasdicoration #shells#christmasshells#hotchristmas#lifestyle#lifegram

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Christmas in Australia is definitely not a snowy affair but rather a sunny one. The festive season falls in their summer months so decorations for the nation's Christmas trees reflect this. Shells of different variations can be found adorning the trees.

Finland: Straw 'himmeli'

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Tree ornaments now available in the shop! #himmeli #handmade #etsy #geometric #christmas #decor #scandinavianhome #nordichome #modern #etsymtl

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In Finland, one main tradition for decorating the Christmas tree is using these geometric structures. Originally made from rye straw, they were hung above dining tables at Christmas and stayed in place until Midsummer as they were believed to bring a good harvest. The geometric look is very on-trend so they are sure to be popular elsewhere in the world.

Denmark: Homemade paper hearts

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#julehjerte #copenhagen #christmas #pasko

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These homemade paper hearts are called 'julehjerte' in Danish, made by pleating and plaiting red and white paper into a heart shape. These can then be filled with nuts or sweets and hung from the tree. Hans Christian Anderson is said to have made the oldest known example of one of these hearts, which can still be seen today at the museum of his name in the city of Odense.

Sweden: Garlands of national flags

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Vår gran! Inspirerad av gammaldags svenska julgranar med ätbart pynt, svenska flaggor och riktiga stearinljus. Vågar dock inte tända dom...... haha 🎄🎄🎄 #julgran #svenskgran #traditionellt #swedishchristmastree

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Swedes are so proud of their nation, their national flag is used as a Christmas decoration. It's not uncommon to see garlands of them wrapped around their Christmas trees or flags printed on baubles.

Iceland: Yule Lads decorations

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Its always a sad day, putting these fellers away for the year. #christmas #yulelads #Iceland #spoonlicker #sausagethief #pagan #folklore

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In Icelandic folklore, 13 trolls visit children with gifts during the 13 days before Christmas. Kids leave a shoe by their bedroom window and a Yule Lad will leave a present, such as sweets and small gifts. If the child has been bad, however, they may receive rotting potatoes. These iconic figures are now often found on Christmas trees across Iceland.

Norway: The folk figure, Nisse

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Vi er i fuld gang med at pynte op og gøre klar til julen! Vi har blandt andet fået disse søde nisser hjem🎅🏼🎄 Husk at julebelysningen i Østergade tændes imorgen kl 17.30 ⭐️ #nisse #jul #hjørring

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Nisse is a mythological creature found in Nordic folklore. They are known for having long white beards and large pointy hats, and living in attics and stables. At Christmas, it is told Nisse bring gifts to children who have behaved themselves, so they have a special place in the nation's trees.

Netherlands: Kerstkransjes biscuits

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Kerstkransjes are a family favourite. These Christmas cookies have a wonderful light and crisp shortbread texture. I usually drizzle them with chocolate, but I've kept some plain to hang on our Christmas tree. 🎄 They make beautiful edible decorations. #recipeontheblog #tistheseason #christmas #glutenfreechristmas #christmascookies #kerstkransjes #glutenfree #dairyfree #soyfree #eats #eatfamous #eeeeeats #buzzfeast #feedfeedglutenfree #foodbeast #foodblogfeed #foodgawker #foodglooby #foodphotographyandstyling #foodphotography #foodstyling #heresmyfood #onmytable #hautescuisines #huffposttaste #dailyfoodfeed #forkyeah #thebakefeed #australianblogger

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Christmas and tasty food go hand in hand, especially in the Netherlands, where they hang biscuits in the shape of Christmas wreaths, called kerstkransjes, on their trees.

Japan: Origami birds

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Origami garland!!! Holiday festivities at the museum. #origamigarland #japanesechristmastree #christmasspectacular #festivaloftrees #chicagoholidays

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As Christmas is not really celebrated in Japan, those who do were left with little choice for Christmas tree decorations. So handmade origami birds were used as a pretty ornament on many Japanese Christmas trees.


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