Let me warn you first - if you suffer from arachnophobia, this post might not be for you even if I won't show you real spiders.
It was a few years ago that I heard about the Christmas spider and its legend for the first time. Someone told me that it's a German tradition and it also says so on Wikipedia, but like the story of the allegedly German Christmas pickle I had never heard of it here. Wikipedia also mentioned the Ukraine and Poland, however. So I looked around a little more and found that the story indeed seemed to be based on a tale from Ukrainia and that the Christmas spider is also popular as a tree ornament in Poland.
Then I found this article which says that the spider legend probably came to the Ukraine from Germany together with the Christmas tree. Next I stumbled upon a short German article that claimed that the spider is almost forgotten in Germany, but is still put up in trees in England.
I guess we will never know exactly where it really comes from!
Anyway, I found two versions of the legend.
This is the Ukrainian one.
A widow lived in a small hut with her children. One day a pine cone fell to the ground and took root. The children tended to the seedling, happy that they would have a Christmas tree. Being so poor they knew, however, that they wouldn't have anything to decorate their little tree.
Early on Christmas morning the children woke their mother up to show her the tree. A spider had spun her web around it and when the sun rays touched the web, the threads turned into silver and gold.
From that day forward the widow never wanted for anything.
This is the legend I mostly found on American sites.
A long time ago a mother prepared for Christmas Eve. She cleaned and scrubbed the whole house, even chasing the spiders from the living room. The spiders that had fled to the attic came out again later to see what all that buzz had been about. They found the Christmas tree and crawled along its branches to see all the beautiful ornaments spreading their gray, dusty webs along the way.
When the Christ child came, he smiled at the happy spiders, but he also knew the mother would be very sad about the tree full of spiderwebs, so he touched them, thus turning them into silver and gold.
Several traditions stem from these legends - to put up artificial spiderwebs and web ornaments and to hang Christmas spider ornaments on the tree. It is also said that tinsel represents the webs touched by the Christ child.
Now you may wonder where the stash tackling is coming in today. Well, I do like spiders and it sounded like a great idea to make a little spider for my own Christmas tree!
I used a beautiful lampwork bead, faceted rock crystal, bugles and sparkling crystals.