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
Antique Christmas Lights Museum
Bohemian Christmas Decorations
Old Soviet Christmas Cards
Other Great Reference Sites
Most watched eBay auctions
Recent News: Christmas
Source: Google News
Write to KnowCape Cod Times (subscription), April 30th
Dear Write to Know: I need a vintage Christmas ball and other decorations for a tree to be donated. I would love a star or angel for the tree top. I need by September/October, or anytime. Thanks. Call: 508-432-7278. M.T., Chatham. Dear M.T.: Perhaps...Read more
Photos: Vintage Christmas ads from around the worldChron.com, December 24th
If you think America has the market cornered on Christmas commercialism, think again. Long before there was a Coca-Cola Santa or even Budweiser Clydesdale, these companies made use of the holiday mirth to help pitch their products and services to ...Read more
10 vintage Christmas adverts that wouldn't fly todayDomain News, December 23rd
Vintage advertisements provide a glimpse into a world we may not have experienced first hand. Sometimes, that can be pretty cool. Other times, it's simply alarming and downright offensive. This is one of those times. Gone are the days when a toaster...Read more
7 Great Music Moments from Vintage Christmas TV SpecialsAdvocate.com, December 21st
We're toasting the holiday season by remembering vintage Christmas TV specials that resonated with LGBT viewers. Whether it was the misfit character Hermey from 1964's Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer or fabulous hosts like Cher and Pee-wee Herman ...Read more
Greetings gone by: Vintage Christmas cards at the Book Club of CaliforniaSan Jose Mercury News, December 17th
You'll think you've surely gone astray, wandering off course from the holiday blur of Union Square, into the bland lobby of an office building at 312 Sutter St. and up a mysterious yet equally utilitarian elevator to the fifth floor. There, through...Read more
Make a Scene: Broadway Center spreads vintage Christmas cheerTacoma Weekly, December 17th
Make a Scene: Broadway Center spreads vintage Christmas cheer. By Ernest Jasmin Thursday, 17 December 2015 In print on Page B5. Email · submit to reddit; Print Friendly and PDF. Email · submit to reddit · Print Friendly and PDF. CAMPY CHRISTMAS...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