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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Suburban Scene: Platteview Road is focus of public meetingOmaha World-Herald, August 30th
The museum is looking for old and/or unique holiday decorations such as Santas, postcards, holiday dishes, ornaments and other unique, vintage Christmas or seasonal decorations. The museum also would like old tools, drug store items and memorabilia, ...Read more
A store where Christmas never endsRapid City Journal, August 30th
De Scheckel, owner of Shirt Shack, sits in Santa's chair while surrounded by vintage Christmas toys and decorations at her Main Street store. 2015-08-30T04:00:00Z A store where Christmas never endsJim Holland Journal staff Rapid City Journal. 13 hours ...Read more
Hanbury Manor Marriot Celebrates its 25th AnniversaryHaute Living, August 27th
The hotel is stepping back in time to the glamour of the vintage years with Vintage Christmas Party Nights during the festive season. Guests will be transported back in time to 1920's glamour, with finger snapping music, classic cocktails and champagne...Read more
Antiques captivate history loversBatesville Herald Tribune, August 25th
Vintage Christmas trees and toys will be on display October-December. “We're hoping to have a winter wonderland up there .... If you have old ornaments, we can put them on our tree.” Museum hours are Thursdays and Fridays, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.; and Saturdays...Read more
Prepare a house for hurricanes to reduce damageNJ.com, August 20th
Transfer anything stored in cardboard boxes to plastic bins to avoid water damage. It only takes a little water to ruin those vintage Christmas ornaments. Soil grading: Outside your house, check the grade of the soil and be sure it is sloping away from...Read more
Butter Street Barn born out of 'addiction' for antiques, collectiblesDayton Daily News, August 18th
“We have frequently changed the theme in the trailer from vintage clothing, to travel souvenirs, vintage Christmas and now she is the “Lady Cave” with china, craft and quilting items.” Five years ago, Bridge obtained her auctioneers license with her...Read more
50 vintage Christmas cards we'd still love to receive todayChron.com, December 16th
Healthiest housing markets of 2015. visit|article-6464522|Real Estate-nav-hcat|4 · Find&Savevisit|Find&Save|navigation-www|11. MenuSections. http://www.chron.com/life/holidays/article/50-vintage-Christmas-cards-we-d-still-love-to-5961065.php ...Read more
Vintage Christmas decorations to debut in downtown Grand RapidsMLive.com, December 9th
Downtown Grand Rapids lit-up for Christmas in the 1960s. (Courtesy | Grand Rapids Public Library, Hero Bratt Collection). Garret Ellison | email@example.com · Print · Garret Ellison | firstname.lastname@example.org By Garret Ellison | email@example.com The Grand ...Read more