Day 17

A Load of Baubles

Advent17Today the word ‘bauble’ is synonymous with Christmas decorations, with trees everywhere festooned with an astonishing array of dazzling designs.

Clearly the bauble had to wait for the arrival of the Christmas tree, a ‘tradition’ brought to the UK by Prince Albert in the 1830s, yet the word ‘bauble’ was in use in English by the 14th century.

Coming from Old French bauble it originally had a general use as ‘a child’s toy’ – again something associated with Christmas – and later specifically to mean ‘bagatelle’ – children of a certain generation will remember seemed to be on the standard list of ‘traditional’ gifts.

The word ‘bauble’ can be traced to Latin baca meaning ‘berry’. Berries are also associated with Christmas – ever seen a festive image of holly or mistletoe without berries?

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