Christmas ornaments and tree traditions

Today, evergreen trees decked out in a colorful array of ornaments, garlands, shiny glass balls, all topped by a star, are a universal sign of Christmas, along with cards, wrapped gifts, wreaths, and Santa. Many of these traditions began in the 19th century with decorations made of natural materials.

The Christmas tree is older, with references from the 17th century when a candle-lighted tree astonished residents of Strasbourg.

Children ages 6 to 12 can learn about tree traditions and the history of ornaments on Saturday, Dec. 1, from 11 to 12:30 at the Wilton Historical Society, 224 Danbury Road. Museum educator Laurie Walker will also lead them in making a penny rug-inspired felt ornament. A snack of pretzels dipped in white chocolate will be offered.

The cost for members is $10 per child, $25 per family; non-members $15 per child, $35 per family. Register: or call 203-762-7257.