New This Month

Tabletop Trees: Tinsel Tree

Martha Stewart Living, December 2001

In both Ukrainian and German lore, the tale of the Christmas spider explains the origin of tinsel. The story tells of a poor widow who couldn't buy fancy gifts for her children or decorations for their tree. One Christmas Eve, she decorated a tree as best she could with fruits and nuts. After she went to sleep, spiders came out and crawled over the tree, leaving their webs behind. When Father Christmas visited the house, he saw the web-covered tree and decided to turn the webs to silver. In the morning when the family awoke, the tree was sparkling and beautiful. To this day, many families decorate their trees with tinsel, often including a small silver spider and web, to commemorate this miracle.

On our tinsel tree, a single spider sits in its web amid German-inspired glass-and-tinsel ornaments: icicles we made from vintage garland beads, and butterflies with glass bodies and shimmering tinsel-wire wings.

Return to Tabletop Trees.

Comments Add a comment