Bringing Home the Christmas Tree - Traveling Tree

Posted on December 12, 2012 | 0 Comments

According to Lancaster (Pennsylvania) Online, the first documentation of a Christmas tree in the United States is found in a diary account of Matthew Zahm of Lancaster in 1821. An entry in  Zahm's diary indicates he cut down an evergreen on December 20, 1821 "on the hill at Kendrick's saw mill" to use as a Christmas tree.

One of our favorite ornaments from Inge-Glas of Germany is Traveling Tree:

Even more fun, this year My Growing Traditions has been creating a board on Pinterest of Christmas Traditions.  There, over and over again, we have found and pinned photographs of various renditions of "Bringing the Tree Home," including a photograph of the proverbial vintage red 1941 Ford pickup with a Christmas wreath on the grill and a tree in the back.  Scroll down the board and you will find many different versions on a theme that is such an important Christmas tradition for many of us.



Posted in German Christmas, Inge-Glas, Trees

The German Pickle Ornament - Traditions, Legends, and History

Posted on November 14, 2012 | 0 Comments

The German Pickle Ornament offers the opportunity for a family to establish a really fun tradition on Christmas morning. As the legend goes: To be hidden on the tree Christmas Eve - the child to first find the pickle ornament on Christmas morning receives a special gift.  Inge-Glas of Germany makes three different sizes of the pickle.  As the child grows the pickle hung on the tree becomes smaller. We offer a full set of the three sizes in a wood-chip gift box:  And, we offer them individually: - the largest pickle is for the toddler


- the medium-sized pickle for a pre-school child

- the smallest pickle for a child in elementary school, or in fact for the child in all of us.

All come with legend cards.

We offer you the possibility to innovate with this tradition.  The following are alternative activities you might want to offer the child who finds the pickle.  He or she:

- has good luck throughout the year

- opens the first present Christmas morning

- gives the first present Christmas morning - says Grace or reads a poem at Christmas dinner

- is the Secret Santa for the day (secretly doing something special for family members or friends)

or, create your own.

Christmas historians have had difficulty pinpointing the origins of this tradition. Inge-Glas notes in their book Christmas and Traditions by Klaus and Birgit Mueller-Blech, that "no one knows who, what or why, but it's a Christmas tradition to be enjoyed, even by the shy."

The German Christmas Pickle Tradition provides the best discussion of the issue that we could find.  Rita Mace Walston, of's "Germany for Visitors" heard from one individual who provided a story about a Bavarian born in 1842 who fought in the American Civil War.  According to family lore, he was captured and sent to prison.  He begged a guard for "just one pickle before he died." The guard acquiesced and the pickle - "by the grace of God - gave him the mental and physical strength to live on." Eventually returning to Germany, he, according to this tale, began the tradition of hiding a pickle on the Christmas tree.  "The first person who found the pickle on Christmas morning would be blessed with a year of good fortune." 

A second explanation connects the creation of the legend to the glass-blowing town of Lauscha in Germany.  Among the first glass figural ornaments (glasschmuck) were ones in the shape of fruits and nuts. The pickle could easily have fit into this category. As they note, F.W. Woolworth began importing glass ornaments into the United States from Lauscha around 1880.

We found another source that added a tiny bit of information to the puzzle.  The Glass Ornament: Old & New. A Collector's Compendium and Price Guide by Maggie Rogers with Judith Hawkins, 1983, researched when specific glass ornaments arrived on the U.S. ornament market.  They report that Pickles from Lauscha-Steinheid, Germany were exported to the United States from Germany from the 1870s to 1939.  No ornaments were available during World War II. The pickle was an ornament made in a mould - the glass being mouth-blown into the mould.  Their scarcity index was: Rare.   The pickle ornaments are said to have come in various shapes:  "dills, gherkins, etc."

Wherever the pickle legend originated, they are a fun tradition that everyone in the family can look forward to.

Posted in Christmas Legends, German Christmas, Inge-Glas

Affordable and Elegant - the Original Inge-Glas Bride's Tree Set

Posted on November 07, 2012 | 0 Comments

My Growing Traditions has an exceptional offering when it comes to Inge-Glas' traditional Bride's Tree Set:

- the original full set of 12 mouth-blown, hand-painted, German ornaments symbolic of the blessings to be bestowed upon the newly minted couple. Complete with a Heart representing True Love; a House (Protection); Santa (Goodwill); Fruit (Generosity); a Fish (Christ's Blessing); a Teapot (Hospitality); a Rabbit (Hope and Faith); an Angel (God's Wisdom); a Flower Basket (Good Wishes); a Rose (Affection); a Pine Cone (Motherhood); and a Bird (Happiness and Joy).

- in the German cardboard presentation and storage box with the symbol of each ornament printed on the side of the box

- WITH the presentation certificate that comes in the wooden box set,

- and with individual cards tucked in with each ornament stating the symbolism of the specific ornament.  We show here, as an example, the two sides of the Santa card:

This set is perfect for so many occasions:  bridal showers, weddings, first Christmases, and anniversaries.

At $6.67 per individual German ornament, the price is special.

You won't find anyone else selling this set packaged so artfully.  And, we offer replacements for each and every one of these ornaments should they ever be needed in the future.

Posted in German Christmas, Inge-Glas

Personalize your Christmas traditions with the perfect ornament from Inge-Glas®

Posted on October 31, 2012 | 0 Comments

Sports is such an important part of our lives.  We work, we learn, and we play.  And that play is ever so good for us as individuals.  Play includes group and individual athletic activities--super for our bodies and even more super for our minds.  Inge-Glas® of Germany (the oldest Christmas Ornament company in the world) offers some very nice mouth-blown, hand-painted, glass "sports" ornaments.  What could be more special than to personalize your tree with an ornament that symbolizes the importance of "the sport" that is dearest to you and yours. Celebrate with ornaments beautifully created by Inge-Glas®:  baseball, football, basketball, soccer, tennis, golf, skating, and ballet (yes, ballet is most definitely an athletic endeavor).  Find them:  here



And, if you have a Golf Santa in your house, Inge-Glas® has an ornament just for him:

Fun to play and fun to bring out these delightful ornaments year-after-year.


Posted in German Christmas, Inge-Glas

Inge-Glas® of Germany, the oldest Christmas ornament company in the world and Green

Posted on October 26, 2012 | 0 Comments

Inge-Glas®  is not only the oldest Christmas ornament company in the world (since 1596), but is so very proud to produce environmentally sound mouth-blown, hand-painted Heirlooms to Cherish ornaments in their German workshops.  Today, with over 100 artisans they keep the environment of a small family operated business. As they note on their website:  "Inge-Glas® has successfully kept the spirit of the glass cottage industry alive."  They are world renowned as the best-of-the-best glass ornament companies.  Each Inge-Glas®  German Heirloom ornament is topped with their exclusive 5-Point Star Crown™ ornament cap, a symbol of their superior product.

As Inge-Glas®  reports:

"Inge-Glas® of Germany is proud to inform you that our factory uses only a pure, high grade German glass and lead free paints, lacquers and glitters.

We are 100% lead-free ornament manufacturer and you have our assurance when you buy Inge-Glas®, you are buying an environmentally safe heirloom keepsake for you and your children.

Unlike other ornament suppliers, Inge-Glas® owns its own factory in Germany.  We control all materials used in the manufacturing, packaging and shipping of our heirloom quality ornaments.

Inge-Glas® manages all aspects of quality within our work environment with regard to our product and human life by creating an environmentally safe workplace.

Inge-Glas® remains steadfast in maintaining our duty to the ecological future of our planet and preserving our centuries-old tradition of the art of glassblowing."

Posted in German Christmas, Inge-Glas

Icicles, Pine cones - the first Figural German Glass Ornaments before the creation of moulds

Posted on October 24, 2012 | 0 Comments

In 1597 Christoph Mueller and Hans Greiner established the first German glassworks in the town of Lauscha (60 miles north of Nurnberg), in the German state of Thuringia.  It is the Mueller family that has worked in the glass industry from that time and subsequently become Inge-Glas of Germany.

A descendant of Greiner created the first glass Christmas ornaments in 1847.  These original Christmas ornaments came in the shape of balls (kugels) and then in the form of the first figurals.  Interestingly, the Christmas balls were a then "modern" substitute for the apples of the paradise tree (a precursor to the Christmas tree).

The first figurals were most likely icicles and pine cones, as it was possible to make them before the creation of ornament moulds.  The first balls, kugels, were blown free form.  Icicles were also possible to blow from that free form glass, in an elongated form.  Click on the ornament image to find it on

Louis Greiner-Sholotfeger discovered that a glass bubble could be blown against a wooden springerle mould shaped like a Pine cone, the classic symbol of winter beauty.  The mould shaped the hot almost molten glass into the pine cone ornament.  Pine Cones were a natural as they mimicked the natural items used to adorn Christmas trees before the invention of the glass ornament.  This discovery lead to producing other shapes in moulds.  Click on the ornament image to find it on



Ornament moulds were soon to follow and used for Christmas balls and an abundance of different Christmas figural ornaments.



Posted in German Christmas, Inge-Glas

History of Inge-Glas of Germany

Posted on September 26, 2012 | 0 Comments

The Inge-Glas Company has it's origins in the glass-blowing center of Lauscha, Germany,  in the state of Thuringia, going back to the late 1500s.  The company explains the Müller-Blech family's  journey and it is a journey distinctly steeped in history:

- Renown originally for their bird ornaments - the number one figural ornament collected,

- Inge-Glas built  a strong Christmas ornament business starting in the 1860s, but this was interrupted in 1951 with the Soviet occupation of Lauscha;

- they managed to move to Neustadt in then Western Germany during the Soviet period (Neustadt being just beyond the Soviet Eastern Germany border),  and even maintained (a delicate situation), where possible, contact with family and glass-blowers in the East;

- they actively built an extensive collection of antique ornament moulds;

- charmingly, they strengthened that important collection with the marriage in the 1990s of 14th generation descendant Klaus Müller-Blech to Birgit Eichhorn-Jeremias-Sohn, also from a glassblowing family in Neustadt - resulting in a "marriage" of not only two glass-blowing artisans, but of their independent glass-blowing operations and antique moulds - presently some 6,000 strong;

- and, Inge-Glas has continued to work hard to keep their business strong by creating new moulds that appeal to today's customers and even more importantly to rejoice in the craftsmanship in Germany - where their ornaments are made to this day.

"Inge-Glas® has an impressive history, extending back to the late 1500s in the village of Lauscha, Germany where mouth glassblowing was a cottage industry. Every family had their own specialty and the Müller family was renown for their bird ornaments. Beginning in the 1860s the Müller family specifically customized their craft for creating Christmas ornaments. In 1951 the Russian occupation of Lauscha led 13th generation descendent Heinz Müller-Blech to flee to Neustadt, when in 1953 he and his wife Inge (from whom Inge-Glas® is named) reestablished what is now the modern day Inge-Glas® workshops. Heinz managed to smuggle several glassblowing moulds and after settling down in Neustadt he began to actively search for antique ornament moulds. His family in East Germany would send packages to him containing only halves of the moulds at a time so authorities would not confiscate them.

In the 1960s, Klaus Müller-Blech, 14th generation descendent, spent countless hours in the glass workshops of his parents to learn the profession. Klaus traveled to the U.S. in 1992 to attend the Golden Glow of Christmas Past Convention and to search for antique ornaments. Here he met his future wife, Birgit Eichhorn-Jeremias-Sohn, also from a family of glassblowers in Neustadt, Germany. The two lived in the same village in Germany and had never met until the U.S. convention! When the couple married their families combined their glassblowing operations and antique mould collections. The Müller-Blech family is now reintroducing ornaments made from some of the 6,000 antique moulds their families passed down through the generations. Not all moulds are Christmas oriented.  A large portion of the line has year-round appeal for collectors."

Posted in German Christmas, Inge-Glas

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