Christmas spiders—what are they and where did they originate:-The day after we took our Christmas tree home from the lot last year, I noticed a huge spider in my laundry. I believed the young tarantula in the living room, inches from the mudroom and my large laundry piles, had been a passenger on the S.S. Fraser Fir.
Thank goodness I didn’t pick it up with my whites. The spider on our tree might have made the discovery luckier. Tinsel is linked to the Christmas spider folklore, which presumably originated in Ukraine.
Whatever its roots, the Christmas spider custom continues in households worldwide where a miniature spider or web ornament is nestled into a holiday spruce. Many put beautiful spiders on their trees each season because they bring luck in the new year. Choose one ornament or a bundle to explore these Christmas spider legends.
Christmas spiders—what are they and where did they originate
The Spider’s Web Gift
- One narrative begins with a pinecone growing into a pine outside a widow and her children’s home. Summer brought excitement to the youngsters as they planned to cultivate a Christmas tree. The tree is empty on Christmas Eve since the family couldn’t afford decorations.
- On Christmas morning, the struggling family finds a spider’s cobwebs on the tree, which magically convert into silver and gold strands when touched by window light. The widow feels grateful for everything she had and everything her family has since received.
Sparkling Spider Christmas
- This notion of the spider making the tree shine resonates. And why? The myth suggests spiders created our cherished tree tinsel. Scandinavian countries including Denmark, Sweden, Norway, and Finland have Eastern European stories. The spider’s efforts turn into silver and gold, but the fable also emphasizes the rewards of helping others.
- Spider and peasant mothers are featured in another rendition. The peasant lets the spider and her family live in their Christmas tree branches. Mama spider returns the favor by covering the tree branches with sparkling webs.1
- American Opera Project is adapting the Christmas spider mythology into a modern opera. A poor woodcutter and his children are cold and hungry on Christmas Eve. While fighting their landlady, who wants their home, they meet a spider that brings a miracle and brings them together. Similar to A Christmas Carol, but with a twist.
- Clint Borzoni says Rudolph and Frosty the Snowman inspired him to write this opera. “I hope that when people see the show, they get that warm, fuzzy feeling,” adds. The Christmas spider narrative has evolved, but the sweet message of festive assistance remains.
Santa’s Happy End
- The last story begins with a spider-webbed tree, but Santa gets all the credit. He drops down the chimney to spread gifts for the children and sees a Christmas tree wrapped in gray webs from happy spiders that came from the dusty attic to see it. Spiders leave attic dust with each web strand. Santa turns gray webs into sparkly silver tinsel.
- You won’t regret starting a spider Christmas tradition. Spider tree décor options abound, and you’ll view tinsel differently from now on. Every year, folklore around our favorite Christmas décor grows, from tinsel to pickles to spiders and their webs. Luckily, we love a good story—another reason to shop for ornaments.
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