Traditional Lithuanian Christmas ornaments are made of straw and flattened straw. With a lack of readily accessible straw in the United States, necessity became the mother of invention. In the '60s, Josephine Dauzvardis, the wife of Petras Dauzvardis, Consul General of Lithuania in Chicago from 1961-71 was asked to decorate a Christmas tree with Lithuanian ornaments as part of the Christmas Around the World
exhibit at Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry. Wanting to distinguish the Lithuanian tree from all others, Josephine Dauzvardis, with the help of the Sisters of St. Casimir, an order of Roman Catholic nuns, came up with the idea to use ornaments made of white paper drinking straws, instead of the more fragile, natural straw ones (that were sometimes bleached white). The Lithuanian Christmas tree with its distinctive white ornaments were a hit and set a trend in the States. Today, the straws are made of plastic because they retain their white qualities from year to year.