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.
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Recent News: Christmas
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Garden center owners to close shop after 51 yearsBlueRidgeNow.com, October 29th
Past the hanging and potted plants outdoors, the inside of Hendersonville Nursery holds divided rooms with clusters of bird seed in bulk and bird feeders, gardening tools and sundials, spools upon spools of ribbon, stacks of wicker baskets, vintage...Read more
Costumes: They're not just for Halloween in UkiahUkiah Daily Journal, October 28th
She has a full line of Santas, Christmas cards, tree trimmings, gifts and a whole rack of vintage Christmas sweaters, personally collected and cleaned, for those who plan on attending ugly sweater parties during the holidays. She's got items for the...Read more
Acorn Antique Show returns to OgdenStandard-Examiner, October 28th
“Vintage Christmas is really big,” she said. “Some people like primitive country, rustic chic. We also get higher end stuff, like oak furniture, from a couple of dealers who come from Colorado.” Other shoppers like pieces with a more modern edge...Read more
The Seasoned Collector: November shows for collectors of all stripesSan Jose Mercury News, October 28th
Since November is chock-full of activities, it might be a good idea to jot down as many of these events on your calendar before you get caught up in all the hustle and bustle of the season. A good cause. The industrious volunteers at Sunnyvale's Nearly...Read more
Beyond Retro pops up with vintage Christmas jumpersDrapers, October 28th
Beyond Retro will open London's first vintage Christmas jumper pop-up shop at Old Street station on November 11 for six weeks. Last year the retailer sold 8,000 festive knits across its four stores in Dalston, Brick Lane, Soho and Brighton, and online...Read more
Parrsboro to celebrate 'Vintage Christmas'Cumberland News Now, October 28th
Parrsboro and its merchants will be celebrating the season this year with a four-day “Vintage Christmas Open House” on Nov. 13-16. © Contributed. Decorating is soon to get underway on Main Street as Parrsboro's merchants prepare for the Vintage ...Read more
Vintage Christmas market Oct. 25Cochrane Times, October 23rd
Annie Kelly, of Cougar Chic Decor in her gallery north of Cochrane, holds a sign with lights that she had made and is a hot item that she also custom makes for clients and will be selling, among numerous items at a home-made Christmas sale with 26...Read more
Vintage Christmas ShowOttawa Start (press release), October 17th
Vili Verhovsek (Vili V) and Al Greenwood, are presenting a Vintage Christmas Show, with a spotlight on simpler times and of course Christmas. Vili will be presenting the music of the Teen Idols, Ricky Nelson remember “Poor Little Fool” Bobby Darin “Mac...Read more