Traditional Czech Christmas Decorations

Traditional Czech Christmas Decorations

Do you know how traditional Christmas glass ball decorations are made?

Traditional Czech Christmas Decorations
Glass Christmas balls and beads – for many Czech families, those are Christmas. But how are these fragile beauties made? And where? We will take you to the best Czech manufactures where glass ornaments and decorations are still made by the hands of skilful artists before they adorn and light up your Christmas tree.
Each product goes through several production stages. The initial shape of the ornament is made in the blowing room where the desired shapes are blown with glass tubes. Then the semi-finished products go to a silvering and soaking room where the individual pieces get their colourful, often metallic, foundation. This is followed by decorating and final inspection. Most manufacturers are happy to show you the entire process, but if you’d like to visit one, it is high time to make a reservation as tours often require advanced booking.

Unique Bead Christmas Decorations from Podkrkonoší

Christmas decorations made of small blown glass beads are uniquely Czech works of art. These are not trendy Christmas hits, but rather these bead decorations have been popular since well before WWI and they are still being made in the Krkonoše Mountains of North Bohemia. Today, they are produced by the Rautis Company from Poniklá, the only company in the world that manufactures bead decorations using traditional methods. When you tour the factory, you’ll discover that their procedures are almost the same as they were one hundred and fifty years ago, and that blowing beads depends on the skills and experience of the blower rather than on modern technology. During the tour, you can watch the whole production process, from the manual blowing of glass beads, through silvering and dying, to the assembly. If you like the bead decorations, you can buy them for a good price in the company’s shop, or you can even make some with a bit of help in the creative workshop. If you’d like to visit the workshop before Christmas, book your spot in advance online.

Christmas Decorations from Dvůr Králové

In centuries past, the production of Christmas decorations spread from the Jizera Mountains to the Krkonoše Mountains and then to Podkrkonoší. For example, the Glassworks Cooperative in Dvůr Králové nad Labem in East Bohemia was founded in 1931, and four years later, a collection of Dvůr Králové Christmas decorations won the Grand Prix award at the world exposition in Brussels. Since regular tours of the manufacture are only available for groups of 15 or more, smaller groups need to make reservations in advance; however, you can still take advantage of the company’s shop or e-shop. And what do the skilful hands of glassmakers and artists create? All kinds of mushrooms, rockets, tree toppers, bells, and traditional ball decorations. Regardless of the design, all are timeless and can be enjoyed for many years. Many Czech families hand their decorations down for many generations.

Another interesting place to see Christmas decorations is one of the permanent expositions of the Dvůr Králové Municipal Museum in East Bohemia, which focuses on the tradition of manufacturing Christmas decorations. There, you’ll learn about the production cooperative and its history and you can walk through a production line step by step. Moreover, you can see decorations, figurines, and other items that have been sent all over the world for decades: their collection includes Christmas decorations from the 1930s to the present.

Jablonec nad Nisou – The Glass and Jewellery Superpower

For the end of this calendar year, the North Bohemian Museum of Glass and Jewellery in Jablonec nad Nisou has prepared a special exhibition of a selection of its current portfolio of popular patterns, as well as novelties in blown and bead glass Christmas decorations. Some of the products will even have their world premiere at the exhibition, a sure treat for those who love traditional Christmas stylings! It will be open until February 2020. The Jablonec Museum has been expanding and improving the quality of its Christmas decoration collection for many years, and it currently includes decorations by the Glassor family business as well as new decorations by ORNEX and Rautis. The latter has introduced a new product this year – a collection of 3D stars. With this exhibition, the Museum is testing a concept that should fully unfold next year when the Museum opens an annex with an exhibition of glass Christmas decorations typical for this region. The exposition will be called the World of Miracles.

Your Own Christmas Decorations from Opava and Jičín

Glass Christmas ball decorations have been made in the Opava production cooperative called Slezská tvorba for almost seventy years. The city of Opava is the centre of Czech Silesia, in the northeast of the country. The Hearts by Request are local specialities. During a tour or after an e-shop order, the artists will paint any message you’d like on a heart-shaped glass decoration. When you visit Opava, you can, after booking in advance, check out the production premises or visit the creative workshop where you can decorate your own glass balls for a small fee. You’ll have a unique opportunity to watch the whole production process: from manual blowing, through silvering, dying, painting, to final packing.

The HAN Company based in Jičín near Bohemian Paradise north of Prague also offers a tour of their glass Christmas decoration workshop where you can decorate your own Christmas decorations. However, both of these have to be booked in advance by phone and are usually not open on weekends.

Where to Buy Decorations?

If you are not planning a trip to one of the factories but you would still like to have your own traditional Czech decorations, do not despair. There are shops in Prague or Brno that specialise in selling these decorations before Christmas; a local information centre can tell you where these are. The products are also often available at the Advent markets at city squares. So now that you know the names of the traditional factories, just ask the seller where their goods are made. Here’s wishing you a peaceful and relaxing holiday season!