With its festive patterns and strong, bright colours, tartan’s a popular choice for traditional Christmas decorations.
Whether you’re going all out tartan-tastic, or just adding a hint, check out these decoration ideas!
1. 3D tartan Christmas tree decoration, Gisela Graham
A tartan tree decoration in traditional red and green. This would look great on a traditional tree themed with red velvet ribbon bows and gold bells. £3.50 for one, available from The Contemporary Home.
2. Tartan crackers, Tesco
Family crackers from Tesco, in shiny tartan and gold foil with gold ribbon decorations. £4 for 12, available from selected stores. For more information, visit www.tesco.com.
3. Tartan bauble, Heatons
This simple cloth bauble would make an impact used as part of a wreath, as a mantelpiece display or, of course, just hanging for the Christmas tree. Accessorise with plain red and green accessories to stop your display looking too fussy. £1.50/2 euros, available from Heatons.
4. Tartan stars, Poundland
This great value set of decorations includes three hanging tartan stars, made from wood, felt and cloth and topped with a button. £1 for the set, available from selected Poundland stores. For stockist information, visit the Poundland website.
5. Tartan Christmas bells, Gisela Graham
Available in round or traditional shapes, these Christmas bells would be ideal tied to the front door knocker to herald the arrival of seasonal guests. Alternatively, use as tree decorations. £4.50 each, available from The Contemporary Home.
Finally, here are a few things you may not have known about Scotland’s favourite symbol, to wow your Christmas guests with!
- 1. A true tartan is a woven material, usually woollen, which has stripes of different colours in different widths. The checked appearance is made by the ‘weft’ (widthways) thread when the cloth is woven.
- 2. A form of tartan dates back to the Irish Celts who immigrated to Scotland in the fifth century BC. One of the earliest examples ever found dates back to the third century AD, when a small sample of checked cloth was found used as a stopper in a jar.
- 3. The origin of the name ‘tartan’ isn’t clear, but it may derive from the Irish ‘tarsna’ meaning ‘crosswise’, the Scottish Gaelic ‘tarsuinn’ meaning ‘across’ or the French ‘tiretaine’ which was a type of wool/linen cloth.
- 4. The first recorded mention of tartan as a kind of clan uniform was in the 1745 rebellion. Local communities would normally wear similar tartans, as this would be governed by the plants and dyes the local weaver had access to.
- 5. After the rebellion, the government of the time made it a penal offence to wear tartan, although this didn’t apply to aristocrats, women or government soldiers. The Tartan Act had the opposite effect to that intended, though, and Highlanders began to go to great lengths to wear tartan in secret. The act was repealed in 1782.
- 6. In 1842, Queen Victoria visited Scotland and heralded the start of the Victoria love affair with the country. Her interest sparked the popularity of tartan, and she had two patterns designed especially for her – the Balmoral tartan, and the Victoria tartan. Other famous people and organisations with their own tartan include Scrooge MacDuck, Donald Duck’s Scottish uncle, the Los Angeles Police Department, the FBI, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police have one and the Royal Air Force. Dozens of regions have their own tartan, including numerous American states and Canadian provinces, as well as Brittany in France. Tartan is popular across the globe, and popular in any country that has a population with Scottish roots.
- 7. Tartan has now become a multi-million pound industry, and is inextricably bound up with Scottish cultural identity.
(Top image credit: Shutterstock)