Monday, July 22, 2013

Christian Symbols Christmas Ornaments - The History

Christian Ornaments ! Often called Chrismons

Chrismons were first developed by Frances Kipps Spencer (1917-1990) for Ascension Lutheran Church in Danville, Virginia, when she volunteered in 1957 to be in charge of decorating the church Christmas tree. She decided instead of traditional balls and colored lights, that handmade ornaments would be more appropriate. The word “Chrismon” stands for “Christ’s monogram”. Ascension Lutheran Church has published several books with patterns. You can Google on “Chrismon” and find more information. You will also find a link to Rufty’s Chrismon Shop there. This is where I buy most of my supplies. The beads and pearls on the strings are of much better quality then the loose ones from craft stores.

Grace Episcopal Church in Paducah, Kentucky, had a “Chrismon tree” long before I became a member there. The pictures were taken December 2006 during daytime. Some of the ornaments are very old and made with styrofoam which is turning brittle and is breaking. I hope to make enough of the large version of the miniature Christian Ornaments to make the tree look fuller and more beautiful soon.

Grace Church has another lovely tradition. Every year volunteers make up to 150 miniature Christian ornaments and these are given to the children in the congregation on the third Sunday of Advent. Every year a different symbol is selected. Since 1996 it has been my job to design them and this has been the source of a lot of fun and great satisfaction for me. After all each is a symbol for Christ and reminds us of the true meaning of Christmas. Each one comes with an explanation of the symbol and is wrapped in acid free tissue paper to prevent tarnishing.

This picture were taken at First Presbyterian Church, also in Paducah, KY. They too decorate their Christmas tree with these Christian ornaments. When I was working there I would always ask my co-worker Sara (Kennedy) Kipp to try my patterns whether they were good enough to work from.

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