Handmade Christmas decorations in Victorian and Edwardian times
By the webmaster’s mother, 1906-2002
The paper for paper chains
We children would make paper chains for decorating our homes. Our parents bought us sheets of coloured paper which we cut into strips.
There were of course no special children's scissors. If we cut ourselves it was just considered to be our own fault.
Much later, ready cut strips could be bought in shops.
The glue for the paper chains
We made our own glue with equal parts of flour and water, stirred to a uniform consistency. No cooking was required. Then we glued the ends of a strip together, linking them round another strip to make the chain.
How the paper chains were hung in rooms
There was no sticky tape. The paper chains were hung across the room by securing them to the picture rails with drawing pins, pinned into the horizontal top parts of the picture rails. This meant that the paper chains were above head level and that the holes from the drawing pins were invisible from room level after the paper chains were taken down.
There was always the temptation to attach the paper chains centrally where there was a central gas lamp, but this was dangerous because the heat for the flame could set the paper alight. An alternative was to loop them round the walls.
Christmas trees and tree decorations
Large organisations had Christmas trees - real ones. There were no imitations.
Possibly elaborate decorations for these trees were bought, but they were probably mainly handmade by older children or artistically inclined adults.