Christmas ornament legends
Legends surround certain Christmas ornaments, originating from the country where they were first used. These ornaments are handed down lovingly from year to year and generation to generation and we will explore them and the legends about them on this page. If you like, you may also buy any of these ornaments here by clicking on the link. Disclaimer: I am an Amazon Affiliate and will receive a commission if you do.
Legend of the Pickle Ornament
The pickle ornament is believed to bring good luck, and was always the last ornament placed on the tree in a German family’s home. The decorating of the tree was done on Christmas Eve, after the children were asleep. On Christmas morning, the first child to find the gherkin was rewarded with an extra gift left by Saint Nicholas. This seeking of the pickle encouraged children to appreciate all the ornaments on the tree, rather than hurrying to see what was under the tree.
Legend of the Donkey Ornament
According to the story, the donkey that carried Jesus in Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, followed him to Calvary, where Jesus died on the cross. Because the donkey could not bear to watch the scene, he turned away, but could not desert Jesus. The shadow of the cross fell upon the shoulders and back of the donkey, and many donkeys carry this mark today.
Legend of the Buffalo Ornament
To the early Native Americans, the buffalo symbolized the universe, as much of their lives centered around the use of this animal for food, clothing, utensils and tools for every day life. It was believed that if a child was given a name that included the word “buffalo”, the child would mature quickly, show the strength of the buffalo and become an extraordinary hunter. This ornament has come to symbolize all the strength and spirit of the Buffalo.
Legend of the Rooster Ornament
The legend of the rooster begins with the birth of Jesus Christ, and it was the only time a rooster crowed at midnight. In Spanish and Latin America countries, “Misa del Gallo,” the Mass of the Rooster is celebrated at midnight on Christmas Eve. Further, the crowing of a rooster at dawn symbolizes the daily triumph of light over darkness, of good over evil.
Legend of the Panda Ornament
According to Chinese legend, long ago Pandas were pure white. The story goes that a young girl gave her life to save a white Panda, and the Pandas were very sad. In their sorrow, they rubbed black ashes on their legs as a sign of mourning, then hugged each other, wiped tears from their eyes, and covered their ears with their paws. Wherever they touched themselves, the ashes stained their fur black, and so it has been ever since.
Legend of the Frog Ornament
It is said that a frog ornament on your Christmas tree will bring good luck. This one certainly should, because he’s the Frog King. Luck is an elusive thing, but the legend says that a frog on your Christmas tree will insure a good year to come.
Legend of The Yule Log Ornament
In honor of the “old ways,” I have placed the Yule Log ornament here among the other Christmas Ornament Legends. The yule log was a traditional part of Christmas long ago during Pagan times. There were rituals and specific ways of handling, lighting and maintaining the burning yule log for at least 12 hours, or disaster would befall the household. It was considered unlucky to buy a yule log, it was instead to be obtained from one’s own land or a neighbor. The lighting of the log was begun with the remnants of the log from the year before, which was carefully hidden away under the homeowner’s bed. The new log had to catch fire on the very first attempt to light it, or it was a sign of misfortune in store for the house. To light the yule log with unclean hands was a sign of disrespect. Many other rituals and stories are found in history of the significance of the yule log. Today, we still like the yule log as a sign of the holidays; it’s used in Christmas centerpieces, ornaments such as this one, and often found on Christmas cards. It’s now considered a symbol of warmth, family and home, which is appropriate since that is where it began.
The Legend of the Beehive Ornament
The legend of the beehive represents people banding together to help each other. A home, hearth and family, all working together toward one goal; the family, community or country welfare. It’s a popular symbol among members of the Latter Day Saints, and the Masons, as they’ve used the beehive throughout their community. The beehive offers security for its members while they pull together for a common goal.
The Legend of the Heart Ornament
Old World Christmas Shiny Red Heart Glass Blown Ornament
Of course, it would surprise no one that the heart is the symbol of love. The heart is the pumping engine that carries us through our days and many believe it is where the soul lies. The heart can mean many things to many people; love of family, love between a couple, love of children, but the resounding legend it carries is that of love freely and joyously given. If you love someone, make sure they have a heart from you on their Christmas tree this year.
The Legend of the Cardinal
It’s said that a cardinal is a representative of a loved one who has passed. If you see one in your yard or tree, it means the one who passed is visiting you. They show up during times of happiness and of sorrow, to assure you they’re with you. You can keep that reminder of someone you’ve lost with you at Christmas with the Cardinal ornament. Think of it as the talisman representing the love you and your loved one shared, and the knowledge that they will always be with you.
The Legend of the Acorn
The Acorn is a symbol of good luck in Germany where Oak Trees are considered sacred. It also represents the rebirth of life in the coming of Christ. The tiny seed that germinates into a mighty oak remind us of great events such as the birth of the Christ child that spread all over the world as Christianity. If you have an acorn on your tree, it’s a sign you will have good luck and that you believe in humble beginnings producing grand results.
Begin Your Own Legend
If you don’t have a tradition for a particular ornament, and some of us don’t, why not start your own? This can be done by making ornaments that are special to you or someone you love. Photos of people are an easy way to make ornaments, but there are many more ways, some requiring more crafting than others. If you’d like to try doing this, I’ve also included some DIY ornament books from which to choose.
NOTE: This author is an affiliate of Amazon and as such, earns a small commission from anything purchased from this page.