`Tauglichkeitsstrauß´ - suitability bouquet on the Christmas tree

With the founding of the German Empire in 1871, general conscription was enshrined in the Imperial Constitution. Every male German had to be available for service in the military (first as an active soldier, then as a reservist and later, when he was older, in the Landwehr) for seven years from the age of 20, provided he was deemed fit. 

Until the Third Reich, recruits who were selected for military service received a bouquet of suitability, also called a recruit's bouquet, as a gift and as a memento.

In imperial times, these bouquets were often decorated with the portrait of the ruler in whose army the recruit was to serve. Such mementos were made by companies that mainly produced costumes, carnival or ball decorations.

Some of the soldiers were proud of these bouquets and so it is not surprising that these special military mementos also found their way onto the Christmas tree.


In the 1930s, such military bouquets were made by the company Eilers & Mey in Manebach (Thuringia), among others. Among other things, Eilers & Mey was known for its masks, paper lanterns, festive and carnival decorations.