Gear up for the holidays with our most popular FAQs about handmade ornaments

Red Heart Shaped Beaded Ornaments from India (Set of 5), "Red Velvet Heart" Handmade Christmas Ornaments
“Red Velvet Heart” Beaded Ornaments from India (Set of 5)

The holidays are a time for giving and connecting with loved ones.

Since they are just around the corner, it’s time to start preparing for that special time of year. While each home has its own unique traditions and forms of celebration, we hope to make your holidays extra special with handmade ornaments from around the globe. As you start to bring out the decorations, take a look at our most commonly asked questions about how to care for your holiday ornaments!

1. What are the most popular types of Christmas tree ornaments?

Different cultures and regions celebrate the holidays in their own unique ways, emphasizing various decor, art, and symbolism. In the Andes, for example, Christmas ornaments consist of clay pendants in the shapes of fruit, animals, and multicolored, knitted fabrics. Bali utilizes wood, iron and even recycled paper to craft ornaments, which are often in the shape of stars, Santa Claus figurines, snowflakes, and reindeer. In the regions of Brazil and Thailand, artisans utilize hand-painted ceramics, wood, and natural fibers, while Mexico is famous for their pottery and clay. India specializes in pieces made out of decorative embroidery. Each region crafts celebratory ornaments that highlight the unique customs and art forms within their communities.

African Wood Christmas Ornaments (Set of 4), "Celebration Masks" Handmade Christmas Ornaments
West African Wood Ornaments “Celebration Masks”

2. Are beaded ornaments made by hand?

Absolutely! Artisans that create beaded ornaments use skills passed down for generations. Whether beads are hand-sewn onto fabric, as is the case with many of our Indian ornaments, or strung onto nylon twine, as with many West African ornaments, each piece is made with careful attention to detail.

3. What is the best way to set up a nativity scene?

From tabletops to floor set-ups beneath the Christmas tree, nativity scenes are a traditional holiday centerpiece in homes around the world. Often entire families come together to partake in the experience. While there is no single right way to set up a nativity scene, certain details tend to cross regional and cultural divides. Biblical characters, animals, and religious props often form the foundation of the nativity scene, while customizable pieces add extra flare. Hanging stars showcase the night sky. Decorated motifs, backdrops, ornaments, and figurines may be used to embellish a simple scene.

Wood Nativity Scene Set of 8 Pcs Handmade Peru, "Gifts for Baby Jesus" Handmade Christmas Ornaments
Wood Nativity Scene “Gifts for Baby Jesus”

4. How should I care for my decorative ornaments?

Excellent question! Decorations should definitely be handled with care. Store them in clean, safe spaces with minimal exposure to harsh particles. For extra precaution, pack each ornament separately so as to avoid breakage. Most ornaments do not require extensive cleaning, but if it should become necessary, always use soaps and detergents free from harsh chemicals. Mostly, a simple wipe should be enough to remove dust and tree debris.

5. What is the history of handmade angel ornaments?

Angel ornaments have a rich history across various cultures. While these are staple decorations in many homes around the world, angels vary in design and craftsmanship. In Peru, for example, artisans are famous for their expressive paintings and creative representations. It is so ingrained in their culture, that the neighborhood of San Blas has concentrated on angelic-themed artwork since the 19th century. Local craftsmen living in the neighborhood specialize in small images of saints and angels that are displayed at the traditional feast of Corpus Christi. This is one of the many traditions centered around angelic decorations that have stood the test of time.

Cultural Cotton Angel Ornaments from Guatemala (Set of 6), "Quitapenas Angels" Handmade Christmas ornaments
“Quitapenas Angels” Ornaments from Guatemala (Set of 6),

6. What are the most common designs for hand-painted ornaments?

Hand-painted ornaments differ significantly from region to region. Each depicts specific themes and images important to the culture. In the Andes, ornaments often feature owls, costumed characters, and angels. Bali expresses its festivities with designs focused around stars, snowflakes, and traditional Christmas figures. Thailand, Mexico, and India have popularized designs surrounding animals and intricate depictions of nature. Handmade ornaments are festive works that highlight the unique skills and cultures of artisans from around the world.

7. What whimsical holiday ornaments make the best gifts?

We love giving ornaments as gifts because they are creative, unique, and meaningful during the holiday season. Whether you’re looking for hand-painted works, beaded wonders, or woven treasures, each one is a piece of culture and history. Look for whimsical ornaments from Thailand designed with images of elephants and bells. Search for matte chiseled pumpkins and owls by Peruvian artisans. Central American ornaments delight with hand-painted perfection. Whether you choose a decorative stocking from West Africa or a hand-blown glass masterpiece from the Andes, decorations are a wonderful way to spread some holiday cheer!

Dried Mate Gourd Owls Ornaments Wearing Hats (Set of 3), "Holiday Owls" handmade Christmas ornaments
Dried Mate Gourd Owls Ornaments Wearing Hats (Set of 3)

8. What materials are most commonly used to make ornaments (ceramic, brass, wood, etc)?

The most commonly used materials for handmade ornaments depends on resources available to the craftsman. Balinese artisans incorporate hand-painted wood and iron. Artisans in India, Central America, and Mexico work in clay, ceramics, and natural fibers. But even when regions utilize the same materials, their unique craftsmanship shines through in style and design. In India, the ancient technique of zardozi embroidery uses thin copper wires to make beautiful, sparkling Christmas ornaments. Artists are able to take common, everyday elements and turn them into extraordinary, one-of-a-kind pieces.

Snowflake Pattern Knit Stocking in Poppy from India, "Snowflake Charm" Handmade Christmas Ornaments
“Snowflake Charm” Knit Stocking in Poppy from India

9. Do you have any eco-friendly stocking decorations?

NOVICA artisans always strive to craft high-quality, environmentally-conscious pieces. They look for ways to reuse and repurpose materials and have discovered creative methods of sculpting ornaments out of recycled cardboard and paper. Leftover materials from past projects, such as albesia wood, felt, and even cement, all find new life in eco-friendly ornaments. Each artist lists their materials under product details. You will find complete transparency in those descriptions and discover a large selection of eco-friendly Christmas decorations.

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