Before anything else, let’s be clear that a Christmas tree has no religious significance whatsoever. But despite this, it has stood as a proud centerpiece of the holiday season— a symbol of hope and bounty of the past months.
The Christmas tree topper is usually the highlight of the tree, that’s why it is the best and brightest ornament. The tradition of using Christmas tree toppers began in Germany in the 1800s. It started with the Rauschgoldengel, or the tingled angel— a shiny, golden foil angel. Meanwhile, in Great Britain, flags such as the Union Jack made their way to the tops of numerous Christmas trees. (Read: Vatican Unveils Christmas Tree, Showcases Ornaments Made by the Homeless)
Today, two of the most popular Christmas tree highlights are the angel and the star toppers. These two have sort of become traditional and are generally viewed as symbols of Christ’s nativity.
Christmas Tree Topper: The Star
The star atop the Christmas tree symbolizes the Christmas star that guided Jesus’ visitors to his birthplace. It also represents the hope and brightness that Jesus Christ brought to the world when he was born.
Christmas Tree Topper: The Angel
Traditionally, the angel atop a Christmas tree is used to scare away evil spirits from people’s homes. But in the Christian tradition, the angel symbolizes the angels in the Scriptures. In particular, it represents the Angel Gabriel who informed Mary that she would be the mother of Jesus Christ. (Read: Pope Francis Proclaims 2021 as Special Year of St. Joseph)
The angel also represents the angel who visited Joseph in a dream telling him that he would serve as Jesus’ father on Earth, and the angels who appeared in the sky to announce and celebrate Jesus’ birth.
What Should Really Top a Christmas Tree?
You’ll be surprised to know that your topper actually depends on the style of your Christmas tree. Its purpose, after all, is to highlight the style and symmetry of your tree so it should always complement the profile and theme of your Christmas tree— not distract from it. (Read: 10 Tips to Keep in Mind When You Set up Your Belen This Advent)
If you can’t really decide on what to put, you can always opt for both— it would just depend on how you’d style the tree. But all in all, both the star and the angel represent one thing: Our faith and gladness that Jesus Christ, the Savior, is born.