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    

Antique German Santa 10 Inches Tall- Early Candy ContainerAafa 2-christmas Tree Tin Candle Lantern 19th C Miniature Hanging Candle LanternRare Antique German Santa Claus Riding Nodding Head Donkey - Pull Toy On WheelsAntique Victorian Era Cast Iron Painted Christmas Tree Double Gate & Old FenceAntique German Belsnickle Santa Claus Figure Germany Christmas Candy ContainerAntique German Santa Claus Riding Nodding Head Elephant Toy On Roller Feet19thc Antique 1869 Christmas American Folk Art Painting, Santa Claus & PresentsVintage Antique German Christmas 5.5ft Feather Tree W Red Berries Top QualityAntique German Santa 8 Inches Tall- Early Candy ContainerAntique German Blown Glass Ornament - Boy Robs Birds Nest -rareAntique German Santa 8.5 Inches Tall- Very Early Candy Container1900's Collection Of German Blown Glass Figural Christmas OrnamentsVintage Lot Over 50 Pieces Christmas Pinecone Spun Cotton Santa Elves Gnomes Vintage 7 Ft Pom Pom Aluminum Christmas Tree 130 Branches No Stand IncludedAntique German Father Cristmas Santa Figure Candy Container Basket Germany 6.5"Vtg 1955 Rare Mirostar Motion Revolving Heat Christmas Tree Light W Box CleanVintage Pink Santa W/ Plush Suit, 14.5", Excellent Condition, Harold Gale - Omg!Paper Mache-german Santa-(salmon) Candy Container Handmade By Paul Turner Vintage Antique German Dresden Paper Christmas Ornament Owl GermanyVintage Set Of Santa Heads Paper Mache Lanterns In Original Box German Made 1912Bradford Celestial Light Multicolor Treetop Star Vintage Plastic In Box WorksAntique Cat Face With Hat Glass Ornament Germany Figural Christmas Yellow Eyes Vintage 1920’s Strauss Santee Santa Claus Reindeer Sleigh Litho Tin Windup ToyLot Of (19) Antique Matchless Wonder Stars Christmas Lights Vintage Star LightEarly Christmas German Candy Container Mache Santa &feather Tree 12" Vintage Bradford Celestrial Light Christmas Tree TopperVintage Mechanical Christmas Animated Store Display Boy Girl Ladder To Restore Antique German Heubach Spun Cotton Bisque Head Ornament1940's Christmas Goose Feather Tree In Original Box 42" TallAntique 1900 Christmas Candy Box Advertising Mohrman & Arends Store Geneva NeVintage 6 1/2 Foot Aluminum Pom Pom Taper Christmas Tree With Color WheelLot Of 17 Vintage 1940's Bottle Brush Trees For Putz Christmas VillageVintage Mij Pixie Angel Bottle Brush Tree * Satin Ornaments Lots Of Pink! CherubOoak Painted Glass Ornament - Friesian Stallion8 Antique Old German Dresden Christmas Candy Container Ornament Santa BelsnickleGraduated Brass Sleigh Bells Circ. 1900 Leather Strap 6' Long Sizes 2-8+Little Girl With Umbrella Cotton Batting, Crepe And ScrapEver Gleam 8' Pom Pom Aluminum Silver Christmas Tree - Guaranteed 12-22 DeliveryVintage Good-lite Shooting Star Bubble Lights In Box W Clips No 820 W Ge LampsThe Best{rare Alien} Blown Glass Christmas Ornament Italy Robot Spaceman VintageVintage Rare Poloron Christmas Blowmold Santa In Sleigh With 2 Reindeer SetOoak Painted Glass Ornament - Kladruber StallionAntique Ever Ready Outfit Christmas Light String Exhaust Tip Bulb Nr EvereadyVintage Victorian Antique German Christmas Green Grape Cluster Kugel GreatVintage Large White Atlantic Mold Ceramic Christmas Tree Light 25" ~ 90 LightsLarge(19,3 Inch) Paper Mache Belsnickle Candy Container Handmade By Paul Turner Vintage Bradford Celestial Star Light Tree Topper, Gold Disco 60's, Orig.box!Antque German Dresden Cardboard Boot Candy Container Christmas OrnamentOld Vtg "glolite" Christmas Light Up Display 12" Bottle Brush Ornament Tree 40'sExcellent 6ft Evergleam Aluminum Pom Pom Style Christmas Tree + Color Wheel Vintage German Bisque Santa With Donkey (snowbabies)Vintage Antique 1928 Original In Box Noma Christmas Tree Star With Mazda LampsShiny Brite Christopher Radko Sparkle Bubble TreeC1940 Erzgebirge Wendt Kuhn Christmas Angel Holding A Book Standing On Star #249Fantastic 1950's Hard Plastic Reindeer & Snowman Store Display Unusual!Vintage Bubble Lights 7 Paramount Saucer 3 Noma 9 Clips In Noma BoxBradford Celestial Star Christmas Tree Topper Motion Light Vintage Works!Vintage Pearl White Ceramic Christmas Tree Lighted Blue Dove Bulbs Table 23.5 InVintage Erzgebirge Christmas Pyramid Angels Announcing Advant Nativity Of ChristVintage Bubble Light Noma Biscuit Christmas Tree Holds 20 Lights Collectible 29”

Recent News: Christmas

Source: Google News

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

Circa 1910: Greeting card features an illustration of Father Christmas (or Santa Claus) as he sits cross-legged in an armchair before a fireplace, accompanied by the text 'Hearty Good Wishes for a Happy Christmas,' 1910. (Photo by Transcendental ...Read more

Jodi McFarland: Make it a vintage Christmas and buy gifts at an antiques store
MLive.com, December 14th

Jeff Schrier | Mlive.com A 1964 ticket stub from the Beatles "Hard Day's Night" movie at the Franklin Theatre is is one of many collectible Saginaw nostalgic gifts available at Antique Warehouse, 1122 Tittabawassee Rd, Kochville Township, Dec. 8, 2014...Read more

“Merry Christmas Honey! I Got You a Vacuum!” 16 Awkwardly Vintage Christmas ...
Visual News, December 9th

They sure don't make 'em like they used to… especially when it comes to Christmas advertisements. They were sexist, weird and even downright unhealthy. So grab your matching family pajamas, light up a few smokes, and take a trip down memory lane with ...Read more

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

Vintage decorations have started going up in parts of downtown Grand Rapids as a throwback to the days before Christmas shopping was something that happened in suburban malls or in front of a computer screen. Filmmakers Teresa Thome and Patrick ...Read more

David & Iris Iwana's vintage Christmas
Honolulu Star-Advertiser, December 9th

David and Iris Iwana have decorated their home with over a dozen Christmas trees, Santa in his sleigh and scores of vintage ornaments and various other Christmas items. Near the front door of their home is a display honoring Rudolph the Red Nosed ...Read more

Trinity Baptist presents 'A Vintage Christmas'
The Daily Tribune, December 5th

Trinity Baptist Church presents, “A Vintage Christmas,” a Christmas concert with the Trinity Choir and Orchestra at 6 p.m. this Sunday, Dec 7th. Travel back in time to the 40's, 50's, and 60's as we remember what Christmas is all about. The concert...Read more

Vintage Christmas
Orlando Magazine, December 4th

My favorite holiday has always been Christmas. As a child growing up in the 1970s, one of my fondest memories was going to pick out our tree from the Christmas tree farm, bringing it home, stringing the lights and getting out all of the pretty...Read more

Chestnut Ridge society welcomes collector of Christmas antiques
Tribune-Review, November 26th

By 1895, the bulbs were promoted for home use, and by 1903 preassembled strands of Christmas lights were becoming popular. Don Lachie, a collector of vintage Christmas lights and other holiday-related memorabilia, shared these facts and more at a ...Read more