The thrifty Pennsylvania German families of the 1870’s gave us handcrafted (or homemade) Christmas ornaments. These ornaments are highly prized today by collectors. The ladies magazines of the day such as Godey’s, Peterson’s and Demorest’s urged women to decorate their homes and trees. The December issues had many patterns for homemade ornaments. Ornaments were made with whatever materials were on hand such as decorated store boxes, chipboard with gold or silver paper, dresden trim, large and small printed scraps, tinsel, paper doilies, fabric, tissue and crepe paper. The ornaments were made in every conceivable size and shape and in every color of the rainbow. Some were made into small trinket boxes with satin tops and drawstrings embellished with small die cut scrapes. Others were just a large die cut with tinsel trim.
At the turn of the century cotton homemade ornaments came into play. Cottons were made by drawing a pattern on any rigid cardboard, which was then cut out and covered with cotton batting and outlined with foil, tinsel and embellished with printed scraps or pictures cut from magazines, trade cards or calendars.