Dress your tree with Soviet stars and other vintage ornaments from the USSR

Dress your tree with Soviet stars and other vintage ornaments from the USSR

19 December 2019

In this Follow of the Week, we celebrate eclectic festive baubles, curated by @sovietchristmasornaments.

In the early years of the Soviet Union, Christmas trees were swept away as symbols of the bourgeoisie. It was only in 1935 that Soviet leader Joseph Stalin was convinced to re-embrace festive greenery for the masses with a “more appropriate” political message — and so the New Year’s Tree was born. The fir tree was soon once more a public staple for the Soviet Union’s secular winter holiday.

As with all things Soviet, even the tree decorations were ideologically-driven. Starting off with ill-advised portraits of Soviet leaders and ideologues stuck to red balls, the baubles slowly became more creative and attractive with Soviet-entertainment staples like circus motifs and hockey players.

Under Khruschev, Soviet agriculture was queen, and so fruit and vegetables — including sweetcorn and cucumbers — started adorning the fir tree.

From the 1960s, the space race dominated Soviet New Year trees. At the same time, a series of 15 glass bauble girls in traditional costumes was released to celebrate the 15 Soviet sister-republics.

One of the main factories producing tree decorations in USSR was the Yolochka glass factory (or ‘Christmas tree’ in English). Located about 85 kilometres northwest of Moscow, the factory has been producing handmade glass baubles since the end of the nineteenth century — and it’s still working today.

Read more

Dress your tree with Soviet stars and other vintage ornaments from the USSR

Yolka: the story of Russia’s ‘New Year tree’, from pagan origins to Soviet celebrations

Dress your tree with Soviet stars and other vintage ornaments from the USSR

Sleighing it: the ultimate Calvert gift guide for a cosy and concrete-inspired Christmas

Dress your tree with Soviet stars and other vintage ornaments from the USSR

Made in Russia: in praise of the unsung icons of Soviet design