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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Vintage Christmas comes to PortsmouthSeacoastonline.com, December 7th
Vintage Christmas includes a number of locally forged events presented by the Hall. There are two nights of "Ragpicker's Dream" by Kent Stephens' Stage Force; the third year the Hall has offered the work of the Kittery, Maine, based company. The...Read more
Vintage Christmas Decorations on DisplayMadison County Courier, December 6th
6, 2013) Oneida resident Mike Lewis will open his vintage Christmas decorations displays at the Oneida Public Library Dec. 6 from 9:30 a.m. to noon and at the Cazenovia Public Library Dec. 7 from 4:30 to 8 p.m.. Lewis said his collection of around 3...Read more
Gallery: See vintage Christmas photos from Flint-area celebrationsMlive- flint, December 5th
Gallery: See vintage Christmas photos from Flint-area celebrations. Loading Photo Gallery. Print · Blake Thorne | email@example.com By Blake Thorne | firstname.lastname@example.org The Flint Journal Follow on Twitter on December 05, 2013 at 10:30 AM, updated ...Read more
Gingerbread contest a sweet holiday traditionSeacoastonline.com, December 4th
It's also a great way to partner with 'Vintage Christmas' as well." The Gingerbread House Contest has long been Burke's favorite part of the Candlelight Stroll. "I think because they're so uneven. Some are made by 5-year-olds and some made by gourmet ...Read more
Historical museum offers vintage Christmas displayClarkston News, December 3rd
Now through mid-January, the Northeast Oakland Historical Museum (1 N. Washington St.) in downtown Oxford has a wonderful holiday display featuring vintage Christmas ornaments, timeless toys, festive nutcrackers and a hand-painted Nativity scene from ...Read more
Hampton parade to showcase a vintage ChristmasSeacoastonline.com, December 3rd
HAMPTON — By now, you know that this year's Hampton Christmas Parade theme is "vintage Christmas," in honor of the town's 375th anniversary. But did you know of the sub-theme: "Music in the Air?" Experience Hampton Inc., which organized the parade, ...Read more
Schoolcraft Christmas Antiques Walk Dec. 6-7 a warm event for chilly holidaysMlive Kalamazoo, November 29th
The Christmas Antiques Walk strolls from shop to shop, church to business from 6-9 p.m. Friday, Dec. 6, and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7, drawing at least a couple thousand people to visit a couple dozen locations in the village, including Norma's...Read more
They are the heart and soul of Vintage ChristmasFoster's Daily Democrat, November 28th
It's not surprising that Steven Zoldak sometimes feels like a link in the chain of Portsmouth's rich tradition and history. … And that that sensibility has special resonance for the potter at this time of year when another Vintage Christmas, the...Read more