The world is marvelously international these days. Evidence A: Magdalena Franco at Unleash Creative in Australia made a video tutorial of how to make three simple Finnish himmeli-style hanging straw ornaments:
Himmeli 3 ways – Tutorial for creating geometric hanging decorations using straws by Unleash Creative
Such lovely versions. I especially like her use of bright colors, and the tassels are a nice addition. I’ve used beads myself. (If you prefer voice instructions with your video, this tutorial by HGTV Handmade is pretty good.)
Magdalena’s himmeli number 2, an octahedron, is what I’m used to thinking as the himmeli shape. It’s used as a building block in making the large, traditional himmelis like this one from a 1909 encyclopedia:
(I don’t know what the things hanging down from the bottom corners are. Strips of fabric? Ribbons?)
Himmeli shapes can also vary a lot and be very ornate like the one below photographed by sparkleice on Flickr:
The name himmeli is based on the Germanic word himmel (heaven). They were originally made to ensure a good harvest – the bigger, the better – but turned into Christmas ornaments.
Nowadays himmelis aren’t used just at Christmastime, though. For example, I’ve seen pictures of colorful himmelis used as decoration for a summer patio or deck. I leave mine out in the front hall year-round as a lovely reminder of my roots. There are also all sorts of wonderful adaptations, like this diamond himmeli from Kotivinkki magazine:
Looks like himmeli (along sauna) is on its way to becoming one of the very few Finnish words known around the world. The ornaments themselves certainly deserve to be more widely known.
Note: I wasn’t paid or perked to mention this; just passing along a good thing.