We always had Lametta, or Tinsel for the Christmas Tree, a German Tradition. (Even for their first Christmas in America, my parents had it!) Long strands of silver that hang from the tree looking like shiny icicles. Mom insisted on it. I loved it, even though none of my American friends had a Christmas tree that looked anything like ours. (And we never had strings of popcorn or garland like they did… ) (Even the type of tree we had was different, but that’s another story.)
Lametta made our Christmas tree SHINE!
Quick Look at the Contents
History of the Christmas Tinsel
Tinsel or Lametta was first used in the 1600′s, and was made from real silver that was pounded flat and cut into thin strips. Since silver tarnishes…. tinsel was later made of tin. Today, Lametta is made of plastic. And it loses something…. but is still quite pretty. I can’t imagine hanging real silver from the tree… I bet everyone made sure that EVERY last strand was collected after Christmas!
Luckily, it is possible still to find the vintage lametta online!
How to Hang Tinsel on a Christmas Tree
There is an art to hanging Tinsel on the tree…. use a light hand… make sure it hangs down. (And if my mom is supervising… it better be done right! Or you will be doing it over and over again.)
And warning… as you walk by the tree (if your tree is placed on carpet) you will attract it with your clothing . And for weeks after the tree is cleared away… the lametta will still turn up around the house. Like a Christmas memory for your vacuum cleaner!
The Beauty of Lametta
The beauty of Lametta… of Tinsel… is most evident on Christmas Eve. My parents would be sure that all the lights in the house are turned off, and candles are lit around the room. Once upon a time the tree would have had real candles on it too, but here in California we had electric lights as a fire precaution.
We kids would be brought into the living room to see the tree. And what an amazing sight it was. Candlelight and the tree lights would flicker against the silver tinsel. The Christmas tree looked MAGICAL!
Then we sang German Christmas songs… ending of course with Stille Nacht, Heilige Nacht (Silent Night, Holy Night) while gazing at the the tree, and the mysterious packages underneath it.
Lights would be turned back on, and the spell would be broken. But, the magic of the beautiful Tree stays with me.
I recently learned that you should never put the metal lametta on an artificial Christmas Tree! I really don’t know why… but I thought it best to pass the warning along.
You Can find buy Tinsel from Amazon
Vintage Metal German Lametta can be Found on Etsy
I never knew it came in PURPLE! We always just had silver….
Age old German tinsel: GOLDEN “Brilliant Ice – LAMETTA” the most beautiful Xmas tree ornament.1 Big Envelope German Vintage Christmas Tinsel Lametta Heavy Icicles SILVERinsel Lametta Icicles Silver from Germany Christmas Tree decoration Christbaum Schmuck 1930 VINTAGETinfoil LAMETTA in SILVER. Unused in original packaging.Single Package of Vintage German Orion Gold Lametta – Real Metal Icicles1x genuine, heavy, old “tin foil LAMETTA (tinsel)” in VIOLETTinfoil LAMETTA in SILVER. Genuine, good, heavy, old tinsel.Tinfoil LAMETTA in SILVER. Genuine, good, heavy, old tinsel
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