Collectible Christmas items range from antique hand-crafted pieces like blown-glass tree ornaments to vintage Christmas decorations and manufactured items like aluminum trees and limited-edition plates, nutcrackers, and cardboard Putz village houses. All are rooted in longstanding traditions: bells and tree ornaments, for example, have been associated with Christmas for hundreds of years.

Until the Victorian era, most Christmas trees were decorated with candles, cookies, and fruit, but in the mid-1800's German craftsmen began producing blown-glass tree ornaments in shapes like stars, fruit, and angels. Thus, the ornament tradition was born. Lauscha was the first company to make molded-glass ornaments, some of which were shaped like pickles (the first child to find the pickle ornament amid the cookie shapes and saints got a year of good luck). Bohemia glassblowers made Gablonz ornaments out of silver-lined glass beads, strung on wire into everything from spiders to zeppelins. Dresden artisans made names for themselves in the 1880s producing embossed cardboard ornaments, which included one-sided "flats" as well as molded and glued three-dimensional pieces.

In the days before electricity, glass ornaments had a practical value as counterweights and shades for candles. Counterweight ornaments looked like their less functional cousins in terms of their designs, but they came equipped with clips so they could be hung from branches. Shade ornaments had the obvious additional value of containing a candle's flame. Around the same time, companies such as Waterford, Swarovski, Baccarat, and Orrefors produced purely decorative crystal ornaments shaped like Santas, bells, and other traditional symbols of the holiday season.

Christmas was also influenced by the development of novelty papier mâché candy containers, which were used as ornaments, even after their contents were consumed. Some families made their own hand-crafted ornaments to hold the goodies hanging from the trees, which made these containers some of the earliest Christmas presents. The simplest design was the candy cornucopia, which was made from a piece of paper rolled into the shape of a cone.

In the 20th century, major retailers like Sears and Montgomery Ward began issuing Christmas catalogs, which themselves are now collectible. Department stores also featured model train sets at Christmas, helping to establish that tradition. Coca-Cola featured Santa Claus heavily in its early advertising, and Coca Cola Christmas items are now highly collectible, as are items as diverse as one of a kind sterling silver tree ornaments, Santa-shaped chocolate molds, and vintage Christmas records.

In a class by itself, though, is Christmas jewelry, as seen in the widespread popularity of costume jewelry Christmas pins and brooches in the shapes of trees, candy canes, and reindeer. Stanley Hagler, Miriam Haskell, and Trifari are just a few of the costume-jewelers known for their Christmas collections.


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    

Vintage 7' Peco Aluminum Christmas Tree Color Wheel Musical Revolving Stand 2724Antique Christmas Blown Glass Tree Ornament Three Arm Chandelier &dangling BellsAntique Vtg W.german U.s.zone Mohair Christmas Reindeer Lead Antlers Glass Eyes Thomas Nast Vintage Type Santa, Demensional, Wall Hanging 8x11 1/4" Hand MadeOpalescent & Blue Matchless Star Xmas Tree Lamp. C-6 Miniature Base. Works. Vintage Lot 51 Shiny Brite, Poland, Japan Glass Christmas Tree Balls Ornaments11pc. Vintage Hard Plastic Christmas Lot . Santa . Snowmen . Rosbro . Nice Lot 4 Vintage Holt Howard Napco ? Pixie Christmas Elf Figurines Antique German Spun Cotton Batting Snowman Christmas Ornament W/black HatStainless Aluminum Christmas Tree Vintage Glass Santa Candy Container With Painted Color And JarAntique Christmas Tree Ornaments LotAntique Celluloid Photo, Photograph Album, Christmas Holly Girl W/ Photos100 C9 Vintage Swirl Flame Christmas Light Bulbs In BoxesAntique Celluloid Pinback Santa Hahne 1896Vtg Italian Hand Blown Glass Martian Ufo Alien In Spaceship Ornament Made Italy.Vintage Christmas Ornaments Huge Lot Over 100 Glass Old Hand Painted WorldwideLot Of 39 Vintage Ge Lighted Ice Colored Snowball Christmas Replacement BulbsAntique Feather Tree 40"Old German Porcelain Belsnickle Santa Claus&children Merry Christmas Cup&saucerEvergleam 6' Aluminum Christmas Tree/light And 94 BranchesAntique Vtg Patriotic German Mercury Glass Ornament Vtg Antique German Glass Xmas Ornament Germany Cat RattleBox 12 Vintage Unsilvered Glass Shiny Mid Centruy Stripe Christmas Ornament4 Vintage Antique Germany Putz Nativity Wooly Stick Leg Sheep Lamp Figures Rare!L3626- Vintage The Sparkler Aluminum Boxed Christmas Tree 37 Branches Aprx 4 Ft Antique Vtg Lot Of 5 Mercury Glass German Christmas OrnamentsRare Antique Wired Mercury Glass Christmas Tree Topper Bells Vintage Ornament 24" Paper Mache Red Mohair*german Santa*candy Container By Paul Turner Vintage Christmas Glolite Bubble Lights By Noma Assortment,nos,all Work,displayQuartet Antique German Putz SheepVintage 16" Ceramic Christmas Tree W / Base Pearlized White W / White LightsVintage Aluminum Pom Pom Christmas Tree 5 1/2 Feet Tall Consolidated Novelty CoVintage Mid-century Xmas Noel Set Pixie Girl Figures Handpainted Ceramic JapanAntique Vtg Lot Of 12 German Mercury Glass OrnamentsNorma Decamp "a Basket Case" 5 Santa's In Lovely Basket, All Removable Come SeeWonder Star "matchless" Original Sales Box. 10 Light. No Bulbs. C-6 Miniature2 Vtg Matchless Wonder Star Christmas Light Bulbs - Pink W/ Green & Blue - WorkAntique 30 Inch German Feather TreeVintage Antique Bisque German Snowbaby Santas & House Cake Decoration Vintage 6 1/2 Foot Silver Glow Aluminum Christmas TreeChristmas Blowmold Elf Garden Gnome 18"h By Union ProductsBradford Christmas Tree Topper StarVintage Celluloid Pinback Santa Zeppelin C.c. Chew Holt Howard Bottle Brush Christmas TreeCobalt Blue, Light Blue Matchless Star Xmas Lamp. C-6 Miniature Base. Works. Vintage Brinnco Christmas Noel Santa Candleholder Figurine Japan/ BoxAntique C1800s Victorian German Glass Beaded Metal Beaded Christmas Tree 4" TallBox 12 Vintage Unsilvered Shiny Brite Ww11 Stripe Paper Cap Christmas OrnamentVtg Holt Howard Santa Trio Candle Holder Japan Hh Christmas Ceramic Figural*rare* Vintage Green Santa Claus Christmas Store Display Huge 66" Harold Gale Vintage Holt Howard Pixie Elf Noel Candle Holder Set 1958 Vintage Aluminum Christmas Tree Lot Of 5 Saturn Galactic Shooting Star C6 Christmas Bubble LightsVtg Italy Mercury Glass Large Alien Martian In Ufo Space Ship Ornament 10.5"Huge Lot Of Vintage Red 400 Inches & 84 Feet Of Gold Mercury Glass Bead GarlandVintage Evergleam 4 Ft Aluminum Christmas Tree 31 Branch Box Read MoreVintage Glass Bead Garlands .. Red, Gold, Pink, Silver + Extra BeadsElectric Chenille Cross. 11-light. C-6 Miniature Base. Noma Electric. Blue BulbsVintage 6 1/2 Ft Aluminun Pom Pom Christmas Tree W/stand

Recent News: Christmas

Source: Google News

Suburban Scene: Platteview Road is focus of public meeting
Omaha World-Herald, August 30th

The museum is looking for old and/or unique holiday decorations such as Santas, postcards, holiday dishes, ornaments and other unique, vintage Christmas or seasonal decorations. The museum also would like old tools, drug store items and memorabilia, ...Read more

A store where Christmas never ends
Rapid City Journal, August 30th

De Scheckel, owner of Shirt Shack, sits in Santa's chair while surrounded by vintage Christmas toys and decorations at her Main Street store. 2015-08-30T04:00:00Z A store where Christmas never endsJim Holland Journal staff Rapid City Journal. 13 hours ...Read more

Hanbury Manor Marriot Celebrates its 25th Anniversary
Haute Living, August 27th

The hotel is stepping back in time to the glamour of the vintage years with Vintage Christmas Party Nights during the festive season. Guests will be transported back in time to 1920's glamour, with finger snapping music, classic cocktails and champagne...Read more

Antiques captivate history lovers
Batesville Herald Tribune, August 25th

Vintage Christmas trees and toys will be on display October-December. “We're hoping to have a winter wonderland up there .... If you have old ornaments, we can put them on our tree.” Museum hours are Thursdays and Fridays, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.; and Saturdays...Read more

Prepare a house for hurricanes to reduce damage
NJ.com, August 20th

Transfer anything stored in cardboard boxes to plastic bins to avoid water damage. It only takes a little water to ruin those vintage Christmas ornaments. Soil grading: Outside your house, check the grade of the soil and be sure it is sloping away from...Read more

Butter Street Barn born out of 'addiction' for antiques, collectibles
Dayton Daily News, August 18th

“We have frequently changed the theme in the trailer from vintage clothing, to travel souvenirs, vintage Christmas and now she is the “Lady Cave” with china, craft and quilting items.” Five years ago, Bridge obtained her auctioneers license with her...Read more

50 vintage Christmas cards we'd still love to receive today
Chron.com, December 16th

Healthiest housing markets of 2015. visit|article-6464522|Real Estate-nav-hcat|4 · Find&Savevisit|Find&Save|navigation-www|11. MenuSections. http://www.chron.com/life/holidays/article/50-vintage-Christmas-cards-we-d-still-love-to-5961065.php ...Read more

Vintage Christmas decorations to debut in downtown Grand Rapids
MLive.com, December 9th

Downtown Grand Rapids lit-up for Christmas in the 1960s. (Courtesy | Grand Rapids Public Library, Hero Bratt Collection). Garret Ellison | gellison@mlive.com · Print · Garret Ellison | gellison@mlive.com By Garret Ellison | gellison@mlive.com The Grand ...Read more