In 19th Century Norway, Christmas baskets were used for gifts

Today, woven Christmas baskets are just used for decorating the tree. But originally they were meant to be used.

Years ago, Christmas presents hung in baskets on the Christmas tree. We still hang up the woven decorations. The history of the Christmas basket begins with the Christmas tree, says Beate Lindseth. She has written the book “Julekurver” (Christmas Baskets).

“The Christmas tree is a German tradition from the 15th century. In the beginning, the tree was a gift tree. Unwrapped cakes, sweets and gifts were hung on the tree. Eventually, cakes and sweets were placed in paper cornets and baskets,” she tells Klar Tale. There are still many who do this.

In the 19th century, the Christmas tree came to Norway. Eventually, it became common to place the gifts under the tree instead. But we have kept the Christmas baskets as ornaments.

“Especially in Scandinavia, we have a tradition of making homemade Christmas tree decorations. In other countries, people started buying ornaments instead,” Lindseth says.

Today, the heart-shaped Christmas basket with a chess pattern is the best known. But the earliest we have in our care are from the 1860s,” says Lindseth.

“Earlier, they had other types of baskets. They’ve almost died off now. In Denmark, they have always had many different patterns in their baskets. They use a lot of symbols at Christmas. Like stars and angels,” she says.

Do you want to learn how to make Christmas baskets? This YouTube video shows you how:

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