A friend recently tagged me on facebook asking if I’d ever heard of the Christmas Spider. The short version of the story is about a spider that came down after the Christmas housecleaning was done, and made an elaborate web all over the tree, Father Christmas took pity on both the spider and the housewife, and turned the web into silver which is why there is tinsel on trees. Putting a spider on the tree, thanks the industrious spiders for all their hard work.
We have a house full of industrious spiders, and we are trying to encourage the children to relocate them outside instead of just smushing them.
Initially, I thought about making my own Christmas Spider, and then I remembered I already had the just-perfect one stashed away in a box. I’m not totally sure of the origins of the fabulous spider brooch, I believe it may have been my paternal grandmother’s, I’ve had it for a number of years now, and it never fails to delight and horrify.
If you’ve ever gazed at the beautiful tinsel sparkling on your Christmas Tree and wondered who came up with idea of decorating the tree in this way, wonder no longer. According to German legend, it signifies a Christmas miracle from many years ago.
The day before Christmas, as the small house in Germany underwent its Christmas Eve cleaning, the resident spiders, not wanting to be swept up with the broom, hid in the attic. When nightfall came and all were settled into bed, the spiders crept downstairs. To their amazement, in the middle of the living room was a beautifully decorated Christmas Tree. They were so excited that they ran all over the tree. They scurried up the trunk and leapt from branch to branch. Unfortunately they had left their mark. A gray spider web now covered the whole tree.
When Weihnachtsmann, also known as Father Christmas, arrived he was amused to see the tree covered in spider webs. Now he faced a dilemma. The family would be disappointed to see their beautiful tree all wrapped in the webs, but the spiders were so pleased with their handiwork that he did not have the heart to take it down. What could he do?
He thought and thought and came up with a wonderful solution. He turned all the webs into beautiful shimmering silver strands. When the family awoke on Christmas Morning they ran to the living room and saw their tree sparking and glittering in the morning sun. Their delight was unsurpassed. They had never seen such a beautiful tree. Only the mother knew that a true Christmas miracle had occurred overnight.
From that day on tinsel became a treasured ornament for trees all over the world. Those who know the legend make sure that they give thanks to the industrious spiders by hanging a beautiful silver or gold spider ornament in a prominent location on their tree.