Vintage Christmas Glass and Crystal

Glass and crystal items are traditional Christmas decorations and gifts. Glassmakers like Sandwich, Waterford, Fenton, and others have long produced glass Christmas pieces including ornaments, tableware, wall decorations, lanterns, window-hanging ornaments, glass-beaded garlands, and limited-edition glassware.

But historically, glass had a more practical purpose during Christmas, as counterweights or shades for candles, which were used to light up Christmas trees before the widespread distribution of electricity. Glass Christmas counterweights generally resembled the ornaments of the day (fruits and flowers were common motifs), except they had clips on their tops that were meant to be secured to branches, as well as holders for candles. Glass shades, which were often blown into the same molds as ornaments, were even more functional, outfitted with clips at their bases since the shade was designed to contain the flickering flames.

A parallel tradition of Christmas crystal gives collectors of Waterford, Swarovski, Baccarat, Orrefors, Steuben, and even Lalique something a bit more upscale to hang on their trees or set on their tables. Subjects for crystal ornaments generally run along the same lines as glass ones, with sparkling Santas, angels, bells, and doves being among the most popular motifs. Waterford has made crystal ornaments in the shapes of wreaths and fleurs-de-lis. Orrefors ornaments tend to be abstractions of Christmas trees and snowmen, while those from Baccarat include shooting stars and snowflakes.

Beyond ornaments, crystal makers have also produced objects that are more traditionally decorative, intended for household display during the season. Swarovski’s cut crystal pieces are like little statuettes of Santa, his reindeer, and their sleigh. Steuben’s Christmas crystal was even more sculptural, especially the trees represented by bubble-riddled, dunce-cap-like cones. On the other hand, many pieces of holiday crystal are functional, such as the 12 Days of Christmas stemware and plates produced by Waterford.


Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

Papa Teds Place

Papa Teds Place

The late Theodore H. Althof, Jr's beautiful collection of vintage dimestore cardboard Christmas 'putz' village hous… [read review or visit site]

Antique Christmas Lights Museum

Antique Christmas Lights Museum

George Nelson's incredibly detailed chronicle of vintage Christmas tree lighting. Browsable by decade and special t… [read review or visit site]

Bohemian Christmas Decorations

Bohemian Christmas Decorations

This simple site showcases over 500 artistic Gablonz glass bead antique and vintage Christmas tree ornaments, made … [read review or visit site]

Old Soviet Christmas Cards

Old Soviet Christmas Cards

This site showcases over 1000 old Soviet Christmas and New Years cards from 1950 to 1990. Browse through page after… [read review or visit site]



Other Great Reference Sites

Most watched eBay auctions    

Signed Swarovski Austria Christmas Winter Sleigh Presents Crystal Figurine LgpSwarovski 1995 Christmas Star OrnamentSwarovski 2004 Rockefeller Center Star Crystal Christmas Ornament Swarovski 1999 Christmas Ornament Mint In BoxSwarovski Star Rockefeller Crystal Snowflake Star Christmas Ornament 2004 Mib1995 Swarovski Christmas Tree Ornament. Original Box. Original Brochure!Swarovski Crystal Snowflake Star Christmas Ornament 1999 Mib1982 Waterford Partridge In A Pear Tree Crystal Christmas Ornament No BoxTiffany & Co Crystal Christmas Tree Ornament In BoxLot Of 2 Mirabilia Cross Stitch Charts Snow Days & Crystal ChristmasSigned Swarovski Austria Christmas Reindeer 214821 Silver Crystal Figurine LgpSigned Swarovski Austria Christmas Tree 266945 Retired Crystal Figurine Nr Lgp2005 Swarovski Crystal Annual Christmas Ornament Star/snowflakeSwarovski Crystal Snowflake Star Christmas Ornament 2001 MibSwarovski Crystal Retired Christmas Tree # 266945Swarovski Crystal Christmas Ornament PeridotSwarovski 2002 Annual Christmas Ornament/mibFenton Limited Edition Christmas Pitcher Cobalt 1998 Swarovski Crystal Annual Edition Christmas Ornament Snowflake Swarovski 2004 Christmas OrnamentSwarovski Retired Snowman In Hat Christmas Ornament Crystal Figurine ~ VgcSwarovski 1997 Christmas Star Snowflake Ornament In BoxWaterford Crystal Bell Limited 7th Edition 12 Days Of Christmas Swarovski Crystal Christmas Ball Ornament 20142001 Swarovski Crystal Annual Christmas Ornament Star/snowflake #267941 Nr6 Ft Clear Glass Chandelier Crystal Beaded Chain Wedding Christmas Garland 14mm Christmas Cat Trinket Box By Keren Kopal Austrian Crystal Jewelry Box FabergeSwarovski 1999 Angel Christmas Ornament MibSwarovski Crystal Figurine Kris Bear Christmas 2014Swarovski Santa's Sleigh/gifts/tree/cert/box/christmas Mib Mint/no Reserve7 Ft Color Glass Chandelier Crystal Beaded Chain Wedding Christmas Garland 14mmSwarovski Annual Christmas Ornament 2011/used/mib/1092037Waterford Crystal Jewels Collection Covered Egg With Miniature Christmas TreeCrystal Glass Pink 3d Butterfly Paperweights Christmas Wedding Collectible Decor188.05 Ct Natural Blue Untreated Tanzanite Rough Crystal Gem~christmas Offer~t5Betsey Johnson Crystal Fawn Deer Pendant Sweater Chain Necklace Christmas Gift ZBetsey Johnson Crystal Fawn Deer Pendant Sweater Chain Necklace Christmas GiftSwarovski Crystal Snowflake Star Christmas Ornament 2002 MibFenton/wright Cobalt Blue Opalescent Christmas Xmas Snowflake Tumbler Beautiful!Jay Strongwater Poodle Christmas Ornament With Swarovski CrystalsSwarovski 2007 Christmas Star OrnamentLot Of 30 Art Glass Icicle Murano Decorations Christmas Ornament Basket FillerSwarovski Crystal Christmas Tree W Star #266945 RetiredMib 2" Oval Waterford Clear Cut Crystal Jewels Christmas Trinket Box # 104387Blue Sparkle Round Swarovski Crystal Ball Bib Stud Earrings Kid Christmas Gift2002 Swarovski Crystal Snowflake Christmas Ornament W/ Original Box Swarovski Crystal Memories Christmas Wedding Bells Ornament With Original BoxesSwarovski Crystal 20 Year Christmas Ornament 2011Swarovski Crystal Christmas Ornament 2004 Rockerfeller StarWaterford Crystal 2005 Christmas Tree OrnamentBetsey Johnson Sparkling Crystal Christmas Tree Pendant Necklace #g278Betsey Johnson Crystal Fawn Deer Pendant Sweater Chain Necklace Christmas Gift ZBetsey Johnson Crystal Fawn Deer Pendant Sweater Chain Necklace Christmas Gift ZSanta Claus Fashion Crystal Rhinestone Pendant Purse Bag Key Chain Christmas GifWedding Royal Carriage Crystal Charm Pendant Purse Bag Key Chain Christmas GiftPink Octopus Pearl Pendant Charm Crystal Purse Bag Key Ring Chain Christmas GiftLovely Guitar Rhinestone Crystal Charm Pendant Purse Bag Key Chain Christmas GifFashion Rose Rhinestone Alloy Christmas Snowman Rhinestone Crystal Jewelry Gift8mm Aquamarine Sparkle Round Swarovski Crystal Ball Bib Earrings Christmas GiftDouble Christmas Trees Charm Pendant Rhinestone Crystal Purse Bag Key Chain Gift