In Victorian Britain, little girls would take the angel down after Christmas and dress him in doll's clothes. Eventually, the angel turned into a thoroughly female fairy., complete with a wand. The transformation was boosted by the emergence of pantomimes which became popular in the Victorian era and naturally included a good fairy in the cast (... oh yes they did!).
Cherubs were hung on trees to represent the angels who heralded the birth of Christ. The star, which forms one of the most important ornaments, indicates the guiding star which led the Shepherds and the Magi to the new born in the stable.
In recent years, stars have knocked angels off the top of the nation's trees - demand has reportedly fallen so much that some larger retailers have dropped angels altogether! A decade ago, angels were outselling stars but now stars outsell angels tenfold!
What do you have on top of your tree?
Text from a local Parish Magazine, December 2013.