Christmas Tree Illuminated with Real Candles

Welcome to the 100th Metamorphosis Monday!

Wow! Can you believe it’s the 100th Metamorphosis Monday?! Thanks so much for coming along on this fun journey with me week after week. Can’t wait to see what the next 100 Met Mondays will bring.

Metamorphosis Monday: Christmas in Switzerland

Each year Cornelia and her family head out into the beautiful forest of Switzerland along with a forester. They select and cut down the tree that is to become their family Christmas tree. This is no small feat being that Cornelia told me, “It is freezing cold in Switzerland, minus 8 degree Celsius and tons of snow!”

Then Cornelia begins the 15-16 hour process of decorating it with ornaments she’s collected over many, many years. I was so amazed to discover that Cornelia illuminates her tree with REAL candles. Yes, real candles. When have you ever seen a tree lit with real candles? I never have so I couldn’t wait to see Cornelia’s tree.

Here’s a Before pic. The tree Cornelia selected with her family is a “European Silver Fir” (Abies Alba). Cornelia had just started the decorating process but she stopped long enough to take a photo of the tree so we could see it before it was adorned with ornaments.

And here’s the After! Are you speechless? My mouth dropped open when I saw this picture.

Cornelia’s tree is 2,70 m tall and approximately 4 m wide. If I converted that correctly, it’s almost 9 feet tall and around 13 feet around. Let’s take a closer look at some of the amazing ornaments Cornelia has collected over the years.

All of Cornelia’s ornaments are original ones from Germany. A few very special ones are from Czechia.

Cornelia told me, “In Switzerland most people do have real candles on the tree. I only have ten candles on the tree because it is such a huge tree and too many candles could be dangerous.” The candles Cornelia uses are beeswaxand create a wonderful scent when they are lit.

Cornelia says most folks keep the tree up until the 6th of January (Epiphany).

Cornelia has approximately 1,200 ornaments on this gorgeous tree!

I’ve never seen an ornament like this…have you?

Cornelia told me they light their tree for the first time on Christmas eve. Then they light it again on Christmas Day, on Boxing Day (which is the day after Christmas) and on all the following days. How exciting it must be, waiting in anticipation for Christmas eve to see it aglow!

And real candles! Wow!

Cornelia told me, “Another difference between Switzerland and USA is that we only have one tree. The tree is usually in the main room. Smaller children are usually not allowed to see the tree before Christmas eve because they are told that the Christkind brings the tree. The doors of the family room will be closed till the moment when the children are allowed to enter this room. The window will be open and sometimes there is some silver hair on the floor or the tree (so called angels hair) as a proof that the Christkind had been there and just flown out of the window to bring presents to an other family.”

Cornelia added, “I could never tell my children that the tree is brought by the Christkind because my tree has always been too big to be decorated on the 24th in the afternoon.
But the story is nice and I know more than one child you spent the whole afternoon in front of the closed door to try to get a glimpse of the Christkind through the keyhole.”

Here’s Cornelia’s tree from last year…illuminated with real candlelight. This must be amazing to see in person.

Christmas Tree in Home in Switzerland
Cornelia, thanks so much for sharing your beautiful Christmas tree. It really is glorious!

Looking forward to seeing your Before and Afters!
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Comments

  1. Allison Shops says

    What a gorgeous tree! Such pretty ornaments. I think I need more now!

    Thanks for hosting Met Monday!
    Allison
    Atticmag

  2. It is a beautiful tree — but I can't imagine a tree without twinkling lights. Her collection of ornaments is amazing!

  3. I, like you, are blown away! What a gorgeous tree! I love the real candles, too.

  4. On Crooked Creek says

    Susan,
    Like you, I was in awe at that beautiful tree. For me, I think it may be one of the pitfalls of being December born! Thank you for posting this gorgeous tree along with the history of their traditions. I am so excited to participating in your 100th Metamorphosis Monday!Have a very Merry Christmas, dear!
    Fondly,
    Pat

  5. I could spend days just gazing at all her beautiful ornaments. Just beautiful.

  6. I agree with you Susan, that is an amazing tree. Thank you for hosting tonight!

    -Rene

  7. Confessions of a Plate Addict says

    Wow, Susan! What a fabulous tree! So many beautiful ornaments! I'd be afraid to have real candles with my staff around! lol Wishing a very Merry Christmas to you and your family!…hugs…Debbie

  8. Oh my what a fabulous collection of ornaments. This so reminds me of my grandmother's tree (not quite as many ornaments though) and she did put hers up on the 24th in the afternoon. We weren't allowed in the living room for fear that the Christkind would pass us by. Her tree was without electric lights all her life. Only candles lit her tree. I still put candles on our tree, but we don't light them. Thanks so much for this post, it awakened a whole flood of childhood memories.

  9. Cassie @ Primitive & Proper says

    beautiful tree! i love its shape. and i went and looked at your bloopers, and they aren't even that bad!!! πŸ™‚ man, i didn't take pics of my horrible mistakes, but i should… it's funny to document! thanks for hosting today!

  10. What a beautiful tree. The ornaments are each a treasure!
    Sherry

  11. Kathy @ Creative Home Expressions says

    Thanks for hosting, Susan! Hoping I can get to visit at least half of the party participants this week. I do hope I don't get anymore ideas though! ; )

  12. WOW! this tree is so beautiful! Thank you so much for showing Cornelia's wonderful Christmas tree. The ornaments are so pretty and real candles, double WOW!!

    Thank you again!
    Mary

  13. Linda (Nina's Nest) says

    Hi Susan! Love the Swiss tree and decorations. I can't imagine real candles – yikes! The ornaments are just beautiful! Linda

  14. Summerland Cottage Studio says

    OMGoodness that is one amazing tree !
    I'm wondering how many ornaments are on it,
    each one is as beautiful as the next.
    Thank you for sharing all the beauties and for hosting !

  15. Sharon @ Elizabeth & Co. says

    Wow, what a tree! Thanks so much for taking the time to host a party at such a busy time of the year! Warmest holiday wishes to you and your family!

  16. Now I would say these people REALLY know how to decorate a tree! Amazing!
    If you want to see something complete opposite from these, go see my last blog post. You will get a good laugh.

    http://www.prayersformymom.blogspot.com

  17. Wow! Now THAT'S a tree!!
    Gorgeous!

  18. tales from an oc cottage says

    Now this is truly ENCHANTING! I love it!

    m ^..^

  19. ☞ ⒢ⓃⓃⒺ ☜ says

    I LOVE that tree!!! I've never seen anything like it before!

    Thanks for hosting another fun party!!!

  20. Designs By Pinky says

    What an amazing tree!!!!!!!!!!I couldn spend a day just looking at all her BEAUTIFUL ornaments!!! That was so nice of her to share this with us, Thanks for posting it too! XO, Pinky

  21. Hi Susan! Wow, what a tree! I can't even imagine how they got that tree through the door!! I can't believe all of the ornaments and some very pretty ones too! It's rather sad thought that the little ones can't see the tree for so long! πŸ™‚ Can you imagine her tree with all the lights we put on ours?
    Thanks for being the Most Wonderful Susaness! πŸ˜‰
    Merry Christmas, Dear One,
    Shelia πŸ˜‰

  22. Susan, this is truly beyond gorgeous. I love it each and every ornment is so special. It just glistens and then you add the candle light, be still my heart,Kathysue

  23. Susan (My Place to Yours) says

    Oooh, I do love the old European glass ornaments! What a treat for Cornelia to share hers with us. Her tree is gorgeous, and it will be amazing when the candles are lit. My mother told me once that she had real candles on her tree when she was as little girl — and she grew up in Texas!

  24. It is always so interesting to see trees done in another country, and note the differences in the way we do things. I would love for you to introduce us to Cornelia — she must be a rally interesting person.

  25. Cindy (Applestone Cottage) says

    Those are some of the most beautiful ornaments ever!
    Amazing tree!
    And Merry Christmas to you!
    Cindy

  26. Hi Susan,
    Beautiful tree…and beautiful heirloom ornaments. So different from what we're used to here in the US. My tree came from Sears..the ornaments are from local florist shops and some from Walmart but put it all together and it's pretty. It makes me happy. Thanks for another great post. Merry Christmas
    Evelyn

  27. Handy Man, Crafty Woman says

    Woah, what a tree!!! I can't believe all those ornaments!

    thanks for hosting this party.

  28. Susan, Cornelia's tree is stunning. Her ornament collection is beautiful. I remember my mom telling us that her parents brought their tree home Christmas Eve and decorated it. The children did not see it until Christmas morning. She also talked about the candles that lit the tree. This was in Pennsylvania, but my grandmother was from Ireland and my grandfather was from Canada so maybe the traditions were from their childhood. I wish I had a picture. Merry Christmas!!

  29. That is so gorgeous! I lived in Germany for almost three years and we also had real candles on our tree our last year there. Sadly, I accidentally deleted all my pictures from that Christmas on my camera! I have one picture left of us in front of the tree lit with candles. My husband had emailed it out so it was saved. It was scary to light them all, but beautiful to behold!

    I love Cornelia's tree and even have the exact same cuckoo clock ornament!

  30. Wow, what an amazing collection of ornaments. Wonder if she could be a relative? I have Swiss ancestors, so I am always intrigued by things and people from Switzerland. My dream trip is to visit there and meet with cousins.
    Beckie in Brentwood, TN (from the Morie lineage!)

  31. Thelittlebrownhouse.us says

    Oh my word! That tree is amazing! I can't imagine storing all of those ornaments, let alone putting them up! Thanks so much for sharing that!

  32. Hi Susan,
    May you have a very Merry Christmas and great New Year!

    Hope you can find the time to sip some hot chocolate and sit by your Christmas tree to relax.

    This post is lovely and the Christmas tree beautiful.

    God richly bless you,
    d from homehaven

  33. What a spectacular tree Susan. The ornaments are amazing. I am not sure I would have the patience to put all those on each year, but it is lovely.
    As a child in England, we had real candles but they were tiny, held in a little cup at the end of each branch. Unfortunately, many people's trees went up in smoke because of those candles. Thank you for evoking some happy memories and thank Cornelia for sharing her Christmas.

  34. Hello Susan,
    Cornelia made a wonderful tree. The Christmas traditions in Switzerland and Germany are quite similar. When the kids were little, we always adorned our tree in the night of 23th Dec. and closed then the door until Christmas eve. Also I covered the glassdoor with a curtain and hung something behind the key hole, so no peek into the Christmas room was possible. And as Cornelia already told, we lit the candles after coming home from the Christmas mass. The during lighting the candles, Christmas Carols were sung and everybody wishs another: Frohe Weihnachten.
    That's what I wish you and all your friends,
    Greetings, Johanna

  35. Gloria (The Little Red House with the White Porch) says

    Cornelia certainly has some beautiful ornaments! And I loved the story of their Christmas tree tradition with the kids of holding off on showing them the tree. Although I can understand her family not partaking in that tradition since their tree has always been so majestic and big! Thanks to Cornelia and to you, Susan, for sharing!
    Best,
    Gloria

  36. Cornelia's tree is utterly beautiful…so classic & those vintage ornaments are true collectibles. Thank you so much for sharing it with us!

  37. Andi's English Attic says

    Obviously no tree-topper, then!
    I particularly liked the cuckoo clock ornament.
    Health and safety laws must be more relaxed over there. I can imagine the trouble we'd get into if we had lighted candles on our trees in the UK (not that I'd dare). xx

  38. Amazing, beautiful tree. But the thought of lighting candles on a Christmas tree is frightening to me. I blame it on my husband.

    The first year we were married, at my insistence (because it looked "pretty" there), I insisted on putting our tree close to the fireplace. And it promptly dried out. I still insisted on lighting a fire in the fireplace even though my husband was reluctant. One night I looked downstairs and my husband was sitting in his chair close to the fireplace…with a fire extinguisher in his lap. Just waiting for and prepared for a disaster, I guess. Thankfully, he never had to use it.

    I put him out of his misery the following year and moved the tree.

  39. The tree shape itself is quite lovely. I can't imagine using real candles…I'd be sitting by it with my fire extinguisher all night. πŸ™‚ I do love the look of white lights and they are safer. Her ornament collection is amazing. Also, I'm wondering about the tradition mentioned of the "Christkind"….at first I thought it was a misspell, but since it was mentioned several times I realized it must be a Swedish word. Is it the same thing as Christ king?

  40. What an amazing tree !! Those ornaments are simply amazing. And, candlelight scattered around … gorgeous. Admittedly, I'd be a bit afraid to do that, but it looks absolutely beautiful. Thanks for hosting! Happy Holidays!

  41. katie kirby says

    It's a spectacle for the eyes!

  42. quintessence says

    Nothing short of spectacular!! I can't even imagine decorating it – and then taking down and storing all those magnificent ornaments – amazing!!!

  43. Amy @MaisonDecor says

    This tree is simply breathtaking! I love it Susan. I noticed that she put her ornaments in drifts of the same type or color, which is different than how most of us sprinkle the colors evenly about the tree. And it is overloaded creating such a wonderful enchanting look!

  44. A labour of love and it is truly LOVELY!!! franki

  45. Wow, I thought I had a lot of ornaments!

  46. A Delightful Design says

    Thanks for hosting today!

    That is quite a tree. I'm not sure I could handle it in my own home, but it's fun to see it all finished.
    abby

  47. Carmie of the Single Nester says

    Congrats on your 100th Link Party!

  48. FABBY'S LIVING says

    Yes…this tree is totally amazing!!!
    It's so big and full of ornaments, which I like very much, they're so different really, nothing we have in America. The German's are the most beautiful and unique.
    I have a friend who's father was German and she lights her tree Christmas Eve, til then her tree doesn't glitter cause she uses real lights too.
    Thanks Susan, a had so much fun looking at this post.
    XO
    FABBY

  49. Noemi from Bakersfield. says

    That tree is dripping with ornaments! I just loved every picture! I'd love to know how many she has and how she stores them all. I really need to take a trip to Germany and see all those pretty ornaments that you can buy there, but in the mean time I'll have to settle for looking for them online.

  50. WOW that is one heck of a lot of ornaments!

  51. Chari at Happy To Design says

    Hi Susan…

    What a sweet treat…to get to view Cornelia's fabulous Christmas tree! It's so different than ours (here in the US)…and I love it! I love that it's illuminated with real candlelight…it's just breathtaking!!! It's the first time that I have seen a tree lit with real candles as well. Ohhh…and I just adored getting a peek at all of her pretty ornaments! Ohhh my gosh, seriously…I can't imagine having so many…it would take me a good week to decorate that tree! Hehe! I really like the ornaments that look like hot air balloons…they're gorgeous! Well…Cornelia's Christmas tree is simply magical! Thank you for sharing it with us for MM and a big heartfelt thank you to Cornelia as well!!!

    Well dear friend, I may not get back by before Christmas so I wanted to wish you and your sweet family a very Merry…and a very blessed Christmas and New Year! Susan, you have brought so much joy into our lives through your beautiful blog…thank you, my friend!

    Warmest Christmas Wishes,
    Chari @Happy To Design

  52. saltbox treasures says

    WOW! That tree is amazing! Thanks for sharing. Merry Christmas!
    ~ Julie

  53. ⚜ β†β„―β„¬β„¬α΄΅β„°βšœ says

    That is one fantastic tree with all the sentiment. Wishing you and your family Happy Holidays!

  54. Wow, what a great tree. Thanks for sharing.

  55. Absolutely unbelievable…so different from their American counterparts. Never have seen a tree topped and love how the tree is so "natural" and less manicured than ours. Candles are both lovely and frightening at the same time! Thanks Susan for sharing.

  56. Brambleberry Cottage says

    Wow, that tree is loaded! I love a "fully" decorated tree, and I would say that definitely qualifies. πŸ˜‰

    Please be sure to come by and enter my fantastic year-end giveaway. Click the picture in my sidebar for details.

    Blessings and a very Merry Christmas!
    Liz @ the Brambleberry Cottage
    http://thebrambleberrycottage.blogspot.com/

  57. The Tablescaper says

    OMG!!!! I don't think I've ever seen such a HUGE tree in one's home. Such an amazing array of ornaments.

    – The Tablescaper

  58. WOW – stunning tree and ornaments. As a collector of heart ornaments, I spy several on her tree that I would love to have. The traditions are lovely. Beautiful post!

  59. Greetings! Very nice tree. I am Norwegian and Dutch, and we too use real candles on our Christmas tree. The tree goes up by the way on Christmas Eve and stays up until Epiphany. Odd to me how so many in America put their trees up the day after Thanksgiving, and toss it out the day AFTER Christmas. which is after all, the FIRST day of Christmas! πŸ™‚

    Some advice if you decide to use real candles:
    1. Put them as close to the ends of the bough tips as you can, so they are not near or under ornaments or other branches.
    2. Use only as many candles as you can safely attend to. It would be hard to keep an eye on 100 candles! If you place your tree against a wall, you can put candles on the back side, but do not light them!
    3. Christmas tree candles are traditionally lit when people are gathered around the tree, to sing carols, open gifts, etc. We do not light the candles and then “leave them on” for long periods of time. We light them, admire them, remember past Christmases and people, perhaps hold hands and dance around the tree, then extinguish them.
    4. In the olden days, a bucket of water was kept on hand for mishaps, but we have never had one. Common sense and attentiveness are all you need.
    5. If you have a pet such as a cat which likes to climb the tree, keep it out of the room when the candles are lit.

    Glaedelig Yule!
    – Gunnar

    • Thanks, Gunnar! Great tips!
      I can’t speak for all Americans, but the reason I’ve always put the tree up so early is two reasons: I can’t wait to see it up and it’s a lot of work to put up so it’s nice to be able to enjoy a long time.

      Here the Christmas season is really in full swing with lots of parties, Christmas home tours and Christmas events all over the city shortly after Thanksgiving. For example, I went on a Christmas home tour yesterday and saw around 12 homes all decorated for Christmas. This past weekend and next weekend will be the biggest weekends for Christmas parties, both private and for company parties. It’s impossible to describe all the activities that go on here.

      Actually, the Christmas shopping starts well before Thanksgiving as all the stores are filled with Christmas decor and goodies for months before Christmas. So by the time Thanksgiving arrives, we are READY and RARING to get going. πŸ™‚

      I grew up in the southern part of America in the state of Georgia. In the south it was a superstition that if your Christmas tree was still up by New Years Day, you were doomed to have bad luck the whole year. So we made sure that tree was down and put up before New Year’s Eve arrived.

      I don’t know if that was just a southern superstition or if it is more widespread through the United States. Here in the south we have a lot of funny superstitions. As I’ve gotten older, I realize the world isn’t coming to an end if my tree is still up on New Year’s Day πŸ™‚ and I won’t have bad luck and be poor all year if I don’t eat black-eyed peas and collard greens for dinner on New Years Day, another southern superstition.

      I think the main reason so many of us take our trees down shortly after Christmas is because we’ve been celebrating so long that we’re ready for life (and our homes) to get back to normal. And if you have a real tree (not an artificial one) it’s pretty dry (fire hazard) by the week after Christmas…another reason you want it down and out of the house.

      When I was growing up, we did get the tree closer to Christmas…maybe a week or 10 days or so before Christmas Day, but because of all the celebrations, parties, etc… I think that’s how the season got extended to start much earlier.

      I finally gave up having a real tree about 7 years ago so I could put it up earlier without having to worry about it being a toasty fire hazard by Christmas Day. Hope that explains a little about why we celebrate a lot earlier and why some folks take the tree down right after Christmas Day.

      • Hello Susan,

        Thanks for your reply! I actually don’t fault people for wanting to celebrate Christmas as soon as possible, putting their tree up at the end of November. From a historical perspective though (and Christmas IS about tradition) Christmas – as a religious holiday – begins on Dec. 25th, unless you’re Eastern Orthodox, but that’s another story. The preceding four weeks are called Advent, a time for preparation and anticipation. Then Christmas begins and lasts for twelve days. Even if people just celebrate it as a winter festival, with no religious overtones, winter doesn’t even begin until Dec. 21st! πŸ™‚ Anything before this occurs in Autumn, thus running a harvest festival and Christmas into each other. I believe that consumerism in general, and corporations, are the real reason that the season has “shifted”, but so long as people enjoy celebrating it in some fashion, that is all that matters. I do not suggest that an earlier Christmas season means that those celebrating it are greedy consumerists, just that the “shift” happened over time in subtle ways, until it became a norm.

        I have never heard about the superstition that you describe re: taking the tree down before New years, so as to avoid bad luck. From a Christian perspective, people originally gave gifts at Christmas because the three Wise Men gave gifts to the Christ Child, but according to tradition, they did not do this on the day He was born! The feast of the Epiphany which commemorates this is celebrated on January 6th, almost a week after New years. On the other hand, in Netherlands, gifts are exchanged on the Feast of St. Nicholas (who, as a bishop, gave gifts to the needy) and that happens on Dec. 5th! Whatever and however, the colors, smells, sounds, and memories unite us to each other and to our ancestors. I love this time of year, and wish you and your loved ones much happiness in it!

        Gunnar

        • Thanks, Gunnar! I personally love to start the season as early as possible because I love it all, including the shopping for gifts, the decorating, the parties, the food and of course, being with my family. I think each family has to do what works best for them and fits with their traditions, both new and old. Another blogger, Melissa, wrote a great post that I linked to on Facebook a few weeks ago. I like the way she explained when and how she decorates because it’s very much the way I do in my home: http://theinspiredroom.net/2013/11/21/simple-christmas-decorating/

  60. Susan, thanks for putting up the link again. We are always learning something new from your blog ! When we grew up long long ago, we used angel hair, but never knew the meaning until I read this. Today the stuff would be dangerous because it was sharp like fiberglass. We had two December birthdays in the middle of the month, so the live tree went up on a birthday. My mother had these huge cobalt blue ornaments that went on the tree in the corner. I don’t think many of us value the moment and realize one day they will be gone forever. I have collected German ornaments for years. Love this tree.
    I would also like to thank you for making it so easy to post on your site. I don’t have a google account and hate those robot tests. I never get it right !

    • I remember angel hair…that’s what we called it, too. It was sharp, you could cut yourself on it…had to handle it carefully. It was really pretty, though. The stores could never sell it now.
      I don’t like those captchas either. If you ever have one of those on another site and have trouble reading it, sometimes there’s a recaptcha button (or whatever it’s called) underneath that will let you request another one. Sometimes I’ve had to do that 3-4 times to finally get one I could actually read. A lot of sites have those to stop the robot spam comments, that way they don’t have to moderate comments and can let them post as they come in. I prefer to moderate comments…which just means see them before they post. That way, spam or troll comments don’t ever post and there are no awful captchas to deal with. Thanks for your sweet comment Myrna…really appreciate it! XXX

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