If you see a spider decorating someone’s Christmas tree this holiday season, don’t assume your friend simply loves arachnids.
There’s actually a legend behind spidery Christmas tree ornaments, and it’s an interesting story for anyone fascinated by the origins of various traditions.
Some sources claim that the spider ornament got its beginnings as a Ukrainian folk story:
As the legend goes, a poor widow and her children finally managed to get a Christmas tree of their own inside their little hut in the hills, but they couldn’t afford to buy decorations for it.
They went to sleep on Christmas Eve with heavy hearts, knowing that their tree would be just as empty on Christmas morning, and the widow’s young children cried.
Hearing the kids’ pitiful cries, however, the spiders that lived in the hut decided to band together and string beautiful webs across the trees’ branches, leaving the Christmas tree gleaming silver.
When the small family awoke the following morning, they were excited to see the surprise and reminded to be grateful for everything they already had in their lives.
It’s a sweet story and one that’s led to some beautiful ornaments. Check out this charming spider made with beads from @leannalately:
And this homemade spider by @pjfates7 is adorable:
We think these Christmas light spiders by @amykopperude are awfully clever:
And these extra sparkles by @janenetindall are always a good idea during the holidays:
Another version of the Ukrainian legend goes much the same way, except it ends with the spiders’ webs turning into silver and gold on Christmas morning, making the poor family rich beyond their wildest dreams. (Just a slightly different message than the last folk story — but festive nonetheless, right?)
Finally, in one German version of the legend, a pack of curious spiders inspect one family’s beautiful Christmas tree out of curiosity and end up leaving cobwebs behind.
When Father Christmas arrives that evening, he worries that the family will be disappointed to see their tree covered in cobwebs — but he also doesn’t want to get rid of the spiders’ beautiful hard work.
So he turns the cobwebs into silver and gold threads instead, making both the family and the spiders happy.
Regardless of which version of the story you subscribe to, it’s a lovely legend to explain both spider ornaments and tinsel, and it can be a fun story to share as you decorate the Christmas tree with your little ones this season. Something tells me they’ll love it.
[h/t: Country Living]