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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Surviving Christmas? More like thriving ChristmasStockton Record, November 28th
Just hearing a vintage Christmas carol — Nat King Cole's “The Christmas Song,” Bing Crosby's “White Christmas” or Frank Sinatra's “Jingle Bells” — makes me smile. That the Hallmark Channel began running its Christmas movies nonstop about six months ...Read more
OLLY SMITH: Here's to a vintage Christmas: A £120 Lanson Champagne? A ...Daily Mail, November 28th
CHAMPAGNE. Lanson Noble Cuvée Blanc de Blancs 2000. (12.5 per cent), £120, thechampagnecompany.com. As impeccably structured as the Eiffel Tower, pour a glass of this stellar Champagne and toast its glory. 2. PROSECCO. Asda Extra Special ...Read more
Candy Cane Lane celebrates 70 years with 'Vintage Christmas'Visalia Times-Delta, November 24th
It's the happiest time of the year. Or it is at least for those who got their parade entry forms especially early this year. It's time for the annual Candy Cane Lane Parade to kick off the holiday season and now in its 70th year, it promises to be...Read more
A Seriously Charming Vintage Christmas Tree DIYYahoo Canada Shine On, November 19th
We're big fans of the shabby-chic look, and there's something sentimental about the vintage-influenced style that works especially well for the holidays. Wildflowers & Pistols blogger Heather nailed the look (literally and figuratively) when she put...Read more
Monticello Antique Marketplace Proud to Announce 2015 Opening Dates of Annual ...PR Urgent (press release), November 10th
28, 2015 — Monticello Antique Marketplace, in Portland, is announcing the official dates of its' annual Vintage Christmas Show. The event will start on Friday, November 20 at 8 a.m. and will last through Christmas until Sunday, December 27, 2015. The...Read more
Artfully Edmonds spotlight: Cascadia Art Museum to open vintage Christmas Card ...My Edmonds News, November 9th
Update at 11 a.m. Tuesday: Please note that the exhibit will be open to the public Thursday but that a reception previously announced is for museum members only. The museum will be closing at 5 p.m. Thursday. Thursday, Nov. 12. Cascadia Art Museum...Read more
Vintage Christmas ornaments sought for Campbell County 'show and tell'Lynchburg News and Advance, November 7th
The Campbell County Public Library and Historical Society invites people to bring vintage Christmas ornaments for a “show and tell” from 2:30 to 4 p.m. Nov. 21 in the meeting room of the Historic Courthouse at 774 Village Highway in Rustburg. Mary...Read more
'Vintage Christmas' focus of Anaconda Garden Club's holiday show SaturdayMontana Standard, November 3rd
Anaconda Garden Club members Ann Loftin, standing, and Virginia Loranger are pictured in conjunction with the “Vintage Christmas” holiday show Saturday, Nov. 7, at the Anaconda Elks Club, Third and Main. The show is open from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. with ...Read more