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    

13 Vintage Daum France Art Glass Christmas Tree, Flower, Santa Ornaments De Noel14 Vintage Lalique Paris Art Glass Christmas Ornaments Noel, Comet, Crescent NrAntique C.1900 German Paper Mache Belsnickle W/ Branch Christmas DecorationVintage Sparkler Pom Pom Aluminum Christmas Tree 6 Ft 70 Branches * Orig BoxVintage Evergleam Aluminum Christmas Tree 6 Foot 94 Branches Holiday Xmas Silver4 Vintage Steuben Art Glass Christmas Ornaments, Star, Apple, Pear, & PineconeTwo Antique German Germany Christmas Feather Trees Berries Candles Vintage 1910?4 Steuben Glass Crystal Pineapple, Acorn, Lantern & Gift Box Christmas OrnamentsTeddy Bear With Extended Legs Antique German Glass Christmas Ornament!21 Vintage French Baccarat Crystal Glass Christmas Ornaments, Plaquette Noel Nr Vtg Large 29" Lighted Santa Face Christmas Blow Mold Wall Hanging DecorAluminum Christmas Tree 7' Evergleam Fountain 100 Branches W/ Tripod Stand 1964Retro Vintage Aluminum 6.5 Ft. Christmas Tree With Box Angel Pine SilverVintage Pom Pom Sparkler 6ft Aluminum Christmas Tree 94 Branches W/boxNoma * 8 Candelabra Socket Candles Halo Candolier ~ Vtg Christmas Light / LampVintage Evergleam 7' 100 Branch Stainless Aluminum Christmas TreeAntique Christmas Mercury Glass Garland Vintage Blue SilverVint German Christmas Musical Pyramid Carousel 4 Tier Wood Nativity Silent NightOld Lot 30 Antique Vintage Christmas Green Bottle Brush Trees Germany Japan 1940Vintage Steuben Glass Neiman Marcus 311/1000 Crystal Icicle Christmas Ornament Antique German Santa Claus On Wood Sleigh With Tree And Reindeer BeautifulVintage Bradford Celestial Christmas Stars Color Cylinder Tree Star Topper As IsVintage Celluloid Santa In Car6 Vintage Christmas Japan Pinecone Pipe Cleaner Elves / Gnomes Antique Dresden Santa Claus Christmas Squeak Toy Squeaker Roly Poly GermanyAntique German Paper Mache Face Santa & Feather Tree On Wooden Sled Toy FigureAntique Santa Claus Doll Rare Cloth Body & Face 25" TallAntique Victorian Tinsel Christmas Decorations Die Cut AngelOld Lot 27 Antique Vintage Christmas Red Green Bottle Brush Trees Germany JapanLot 30 Disney Ornaments~many Grolier~cinderella~snow White Dwarfs~mickey~minnieJosef Originals (5) Candy Cane Pixie ElvesAntique German Bisque Snowbaby Candy Container Us FlagAssorted-antique-vtg-c6-c-6-base-working-christmas Bubble Lights ! Sterling NiceVintage Ceramic Christmas Tree Green 19" Lights Star Ornaments Mirostar Candolier And Matchless Stars Vintage 6 Ft Aluminum Pompom Christmas Tree 91 Branches Original Box DirectionsVintage Christmas Antique Noma Electric 7 Light Halo Candolier 1939 In Orig Box Antique German Germany Christmas Feather Tree Vintage 1910? Two Toned BranchesVintage Bradford Celestial Light Christmas Tree TopAntique/vintage Mercury Glass Christmas Garland--old UnstrungVintage Snowman Battery Lantern-glass72 Vintage General Electric Lighted Ice Christmas Lights C 7.5 + 3 Display Boxes Rare Early , Santa , Christmas Tree Stand , Very Detailed , Cast Iron Vintage Christmas Bubble Bubbling Sterling Lights-work!Exceptional Pink Large Glass Balloon Tinsel Die Cut Ornament VictorianVintage Lot Of 45-shiny Brite Mercury Glass Blown Christmas Tree OrnamnentsAntique Christmas Die Cut Scrap, Santa With A Cane, Toys & Puppet, 10", FramedStunning Vintage Silver Aluminum Christmas Xmas Tree 8 Feet Tall W/standBeautiful 3 Tier Pyramid Nativity Made In Germany Wooden Christmas - #234Vintage Flock 6 Wooly German Putz/nativity Xmas Sheep 3 Antique German Bisque Googly Black Snowbaby Figures Candy ContainerBradford Celestial Star Christmas Tree Light Topper Top Disco Star Vintage W/boxAntique Jumbo Die Cut, Santa With Bag Of Toys, Father Christmas, FramedAntique Christmas Mercury Glass Garland Black Orange Silver PairAntique Composition Paper Figural Candy Container German Young Woman Lady On LogLarge Antique German Bisque Snowbaby Skier Figurine 5"1970 Gorham Snowflake Sterling Silver Marked Christmas Ornament Decoration VtgNice 6 Ft Aluminum Pom Pom Christmas Tree 55 BranchesVintage Christmas Poland Glass Ornaments (21) +1 Shiny Brite In Orginial BoxCollection Lot Of 9 Antique Early Old German Wooly Stick Leg Putz Sheep Ram

Recent News: Christmas

Source: Google News

Autumn in Cottonwood Falls feat. Christmas Open Houses
Emporia Gazette, September 15th

Come shop the 50+ year collection of vintage Christmas items, as well as handmade vintage and new ornament wreaths, stockings and more. Enjoy live music from Annie Wilson, Kansas Balladeer, Saturday from 12:30-3:30. Cottonwood Falls Collectables ...Read more

Sainsbury's launches fashion range to celebrate 10th birthday of Tu
Retail Week, September 2nd

The Tu Anniversary Collection includes statement pieces through to classic staples. The Tu autumn collection includes folk inspired pieces, bold brights and prints, and 1960s silhouettes. The Christmas collection includes vintage Christmas motifs and...Read more

2014 Christmas ornament contest
WALB-TV, August 20th

Nicki Wilson the Director of Family Support Services says "the list includes Paul Eames Christmas Tree lot, Flint River Train Trestle, The State Theatre, The Cookie Shoppe, Tift Park and Vintage Christmas Lights Downtown Albany." The contest runs...Read more