We decorate our house and trees with tinsel every Christmas, but why? And where did tinsel originate from? Check out the facts on tinsel!

Tinsel was first used in Germany in 1610 however it wasn’t the shiny plastic stuff we get these days; it was made from shredded silver. At first the silver was hammered so that it was thin, and then cut into thin strips, a few years later machines were invented for this purpose. The inventor of tinsel remains unknown.

Tinsel is mainly used to decorate Christmas trees; it can also be hung from ceilings or walls. Tinsel is usually flexible which makes it easy to wrap around anything such as posts, picture frames or ornaments. It is often held up by using pins or blue tack.

The smoke from the Christmas candles caused the tinsel to turn into a black colour on one side, which didn’t look very attractive, so experiments were made and tinsel was then made with tin and lead, which they hoped would preserve its shininess, however this mixture made the tinsel heavy and it broke apart easily, which wasn’t much use for decorating your tree with.

“Tinsel is thought to have made its first public appearance in England in 1846. Queen Victoria and Prince Albert were illustrated in the Illustrated London News, standing with their children around a Christmas tree decorated with tinsel, candles, and small bead ornaments. Because of Queen Victoria’s popularity, the Royal family’s decorated tree became the height of fashion sweeping through both the British and East Coast American Societies.”

According to the Oxford Dictionary; the word tinsel comes from an Old French word “estincele”, which means sparkle.

This shiny decorative material is a great toy to your pets, especially for playful pets such as cats and dogs, although it is dangerous for them to eat, which they most likely would try, so be careful!


Rate Our Facts

Written By Luke Ward

Luke Ward is the founder of The Fact Site. He is professional blogger, with over five years experience. He enjoys writing about celebrities, film & TV. His latest achievement was graduating for BA (Hons) in Motion Graphics.