How Christmas tree decorations can be used to trace the stages of the history of the Soviet Union
How Christmas tree decorations can be used to trace the stages of the history of the Soviet Union

The change of ideologies that periodically occurs in our country is always reflected not only in high art - painting, literature, music, but also leaves an imprint on ordinary household items. Christmas decorations are also no exception. After 1917, angels, stars of Bethlehem and bells were hung on the trees for some time, but this did not last long.

After the state drew attention to this important aspect of propaganda, the country began to release new Christmas tree decorations. Now workers could decorate New Year's (not Christmas) trees with balls painted in a suitable theme: airplanes, airships, cars, and even portraits of Lenin, Stalin and all members of the Politburo. True, there was an overlap with the latter - after the only issue in 1937, it was decided that it was still somewhat ambiguous to "hang" the country's leaders on the Christmas tree, and the initiative was closed. But instead of those of Bethlehem, the Kremlin stars have taken root. In the same year, the People's Commissariat for Education even released a special manual "Christmas tree in kindergarten", which described in detail exactly how to decorate forest beauties:

Kremlin stars "settled" on New Year trees only after the 1930s

Another important topic in the 30s was the conquest of the north. Therefore, polar bears and courageous people from Papanin got on the tree. In those days, pressed cotton wool was used to make figurines - of course, it was expensive to blow complex glass products. Therefore, the mass production technology of Christmas tree decorations of complex shapes was very simple: cotton wool was applied to a wire frame, fixed with starch paste and painted. The little people may not have always been incredibly beautiful, but they successfully performed their function. Some examples have come down to us:

1930s wadded Christmas tree decorations

And after the overwhelming success of the film "Circus", which Joseph Vissarionovich himself fell in love with, circus animals, acrobats, clowns and … black kids became a popular theme of Christmas tree decorations.

1930s Christmas tree decorations

By the way, it is the new year 1937 that can be considered the date of birth of the Snow Maiden as a character in New Year's performances. It was in this year that she first appeared at a children's party in the Moscow House of Unions and since then has been a constant companion of Santa Claus.

Plaster of paris Snow Maiden with a hare, 1930s

During the Great Patriotic War, despite the most difficult conditions, the trees were always set up and tried to decorate as best they could - the New Year's tradition reminded of peacetime and gave strength. However, the production of real toys, of course, was reduced in those years, but still not to zero. Figures were stamped from the waste of other industries at factories: again planes, parachutes, soldiers and grenades. At the front, the balls were made from scrap materials: old light bulbs, medical cones, etc.

Homemade toys of the war years

After the war, the devastation of the country was also reflected in Christmas tree decorations - they were produced only the cheapest, made of cardboard, but very positive and “peaceful”: animals, children, huts in the snow. It was during these years that cheap paper flags gathered in garlands became an integral part of the New Year's decor. They were hung on the walls and on the tree itself. By the way, glass beads also appeared on the jewelry list during this period.

Cheap post-war toys

In the 1950s, the Christmas tree industry began to work at full capacity and delighted citizens with a novelty. The toys on the clothespins looked very cute and sat well on the twigs. The technology has already made it possible to make glass figurines of various shapes.Pushkin's fairy tales became a fashionable theme, because in 1949 the country celebrated the 150th anniversary of the classic. The little men in the national costumes of the peoples of the USSR have also become relevant: "15 republics - 15 sisters."

1950s toys

In the Khrushchev period, there were fruits, vegetables and, of course, ears of corn on the trees.

"Queen of the fields" and various fruits on the trees during the "Thaw"

In the late 50s, early 60s, of course, Christmas tree decorations in the form of satellites and astronauts became the most popular. It was then that the traditional stars began to be replaced by tops - stylized rockets.

Space theme in Christmas tree decorations

Since the 1970s, the theme of Christmas tree decorations has become more childish. Toys in the form of cartoon characters and children's fairy tales began to appear more and more often. But now, after the next turn of the wheel of history, the angels began to return to the New Year tree, however, together with the foreign Santa - as the Christmas tree decorations, as always, reflected the new time and new trends.

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