A most adorable and half-forgotten ornament type of ornament is a bomboniere. Bomboniere - a decorated hanging container - hidden within a shape - of sweets or treats.
In the very beginning Christmas ornaments were all edible and were the gifts themselves. When Christmas started to be celebrated in Europe with the decorated Christmas tree that we know today, it was in common to have guests and gift them the Christmas treats off the tree branch. Many memoirs describe how the tree would have been left stripped by the children. Then, nutshells were coated in silver or gold and converted into boxes with a small surprise inside. They were very popular.
German Christmas workshops started producing these bombonieres in a wide range of shapes and sizes; hollow papier-mache rabbits and reindeer with secret openings, hidden sweets containers in a form of a ship, house or even a shoe!
These bombonieres became so complex and heavy, they had to be shifted from being hung on the tree branch to being placed under the tree! This started the tradition of gifts under the Christmas tree!
In our museum collection we still don't have any vintage sweets containers because they are very expensive. You can help us build the educational collection by donating via PayPal !
During Christmas Ornaments Fair 2017 in Henley-on-Thames we will display and sell modern handmade bombonieres made in traditional papier-mache and spun cotton techniques using some vintage lace and fabrics.