What are the Different Types of Christmas Tree Toppers?

Patti Kate

There are many types of Christmas tree toppers, but the most commonly used are stars and angels. Those with a cartoon theme are another popular type. Victorian-style tree toppers may resemble decorations from years gone by. Heirloom tree toppers are often passed down through family generations.

A Christmas tree with presents.
A Christmas tree with presents.

Many Christmas tree toppers are basic designs, but others incorporate lights of varying kinds. These lights may blink or not, and can be found in simple white or in any color that other Christmas lights come in. Light-emitting diode (LED) tree toppers are also available. Some toppers are battery powered, while others require electric current.

Interfaith families might put a star of David on a Christmas tree.
Interfaith families might put a star of David on a Christmas tree.

Christmas tree toppers are also made from almost any material, including plastic, metal, and fabric. Tree toppers are often found in silver or gold, although red is another widely used color. Some of the fabric toppers incorporate wire for flexibility and positioning.

Many families choose to put an angel on the top of the Christmas tree, since tradition has it that angels appeared in the sky over Bethlehem to announce Jesus' birth. Interfaith families who celebrate both Christmas and Hanukkah may decorate the top of the tree with a star of David. Typically designed in silver or gold, such decorations may be found in specialty stores or purchased through the Internet.

Santa Claus or Father Christmas Christmas tree toppers are also popular for trimming the top of a Christmas tree. These may be traditional or Old World style. The Santa character is typically wearing his famous red suit and may or may not be lighted.

Families with young children may prefer to decorate with Christmas tree toppers that portray favorite cartoon characters. They may be adorned in typical holiday attire and these styles may be lighted as well.

Snowmen are also quite popular characters for the top of a tree. Most of these use miniature lights. Other miscellaneous designs include multi-lighted snowflake styles, a large cross design, or mistletoe toppers. A large red, silver, or gold red bow is another style that may be used as a topper.

Some Christmas tree toppers feature celebrity themes. For example, rock stars such as Elvis Presley may be framed around a star and used as a Christmas tree topper. These are typically lighted as well.

Some fabric toppers use wires to gain flexibility and structure.
Some fabric toppers use wires to gain flexibility and structure.

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Discussion Comments


@waterhopper- There are several different ways to whiten your yellowing crocheted items. You definitely do not want to put your angel in the washing machine. Since your grandmother gave it to you, it could be an old item and it could come apart in the washing machine.

One of the methods that I have used is to mix up a solution of lemon juice and water and put it in a spray bottle. Spray some on the angel and sit it outside for a couple of hours. If that doesn’t work, you could use a very mild detergent such as Woolite and hand wash it in the sink. Use cold water if you do it that way. If that gets it clean, you can shape it back and then starch it. Whatever you do, I would not bleach it.


@cmsmith10- I am glad to hear that I'm not the only to stick to traditions! When my husband and I got married, he wanted our first Christmas tree to be special. He wanted to go shopping for unique Christmas tree toppers and that's when I used the puppy eyes!

My grandmother crocheted me and my sisters angels to use as tree toppers. She somehow stiffened them and I have used mine for over 20 years. She's not quite as white as she used to be but my husband agreed to keep our family tradition going.

Does anyone know how to clean a crocheted angel? I don't know if I can stick her in the washer or not. It seems like if I washed her, she wouldn't be stiff anymore. Any ideas?


When I was very young, around ten years old, my mother bought a tree topper for our Christmas tree. It was a little girl with brown hair that had angel wings. She had a gold halo around her head and she wore a yellow dress.

That tree topper was put on the tree for as long as I can remember. After my mom passed away a few years ago, I got the tree topper. She was a little rusty around the edges and I had to take her and have her dress re-stitched but she sits on top of my tree every year. I love to keep the tradition going and I hope that my kids will do the same.

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