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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'Knit a vintage Christmas' with Candi Derr, October 7th

This book may take you back to your childhood, but the patterns in it are fresh and adorable. There are 12 different Christmas stocking patterns, but you can mix and match the graphs to make your own. The most intricate project in the book is a series...Read more

Milford Mills opens in new village location, October 1st

It won't be long, Kelley said, before she's decking the halls with unique ornaments, stockings and other vintage Christmas items. “We've always enjoyed spending time in different downtown areas like Plymouth or Northville,” Kelley said, adding that...Read more

St. Charles Hospice recruiting more volunteers
KTVZ, September 29th

Along with patient care, volunteer opportunities also include special projects, clerical support, medication deliveries, or helping with special events such as a December Light Up a Life memorial, the annual silent auction, Vintage Christmas in...Read more

A farewell to Stage Force
Foster's Daily Democrat, September 26th

We have cancelled our fall events except for our annual holiday program, The Ragpicker's Dream, which we present courtesy of the Music Hall as part of “A Vintage Christmas In Portsmouth.” If you wish to say farewell, please join us for one of the two ...Read more

What's in Store: Organic grocer 'does the homework for the customer'
Post-Bulletin, September 21st

Of her work, she said, "It's like Christmas every day." And she will start accepting Christmas items on consignment beginning Oct. 1. For the first time, she is planning on a vintage Christmas look that is 1940s-inspired. At the end of October, over a...Read more

Vintage fashion: Lots of spots to score looks from bygone times
Charlotte Observer, September 9th

items, including a large variety of vintage apparel, cowboy boots, sunglasses, even vintage lingerie, sunglasses purses and luggage. At Christmastime, the shop is home to what is surely of the region's largest ugly – er, vintage – Christmas sweater...Read more

Lala's reopening, holiday cheer intact, under new ownership
austin360 (blog), September 9th

That means that, yes, the same cheerful holiday lights, tinsel and vintage Christmas decorations that original owner Frances Lala continued to hang up after the holidays of 1972, shortly after she opened her eponymous bar, will remain in place there...Read more

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

Sending Christmas cards has been a U.S. holiday tradition for as long as Americans have been licking stamps. If you're putting off getting those last-minute Christmas cards in the mail, you're running out of time. The deadline for First-Class and...Read more