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    

Very Old Tall Victorian German Santa Claus Candy ContainerSchafer Vater Santa Claus Flask "merry Christmas" Rare Nmint Nipper BottleVintage Bradford Celestial Tree Topper -- Works Great!Rare Vtg 1949 Paramount Christmas Plastic Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer MusicalAntique German Spun Cotton Christmas Ornament Fruit & Vegtables Lot Of 20Vintage Holt Howard Pixie Elf Noel Candle Holder Set 1958 1960's Poloron Blow Mold Snowman With Original Shovel And Light Fixture 45" Tall1958 Vintage Holt Howard Porcelain Christmas Angels N-o-e-l' Candle HoldersAntique Victorian Mercury Glass Double Indent Christmas Beads Garland Vtg 95"Vintage Chalk Or Plaster Face Santa Claus AntiqueStar Band Co. Inc.aluminum*pom-pom*christmas Tree M-7100(100 Branches) 7 Ft./box21 Inch Paper Mache *walking German Santa*candy Container By Paul Turner Awesome Set Of (11) Old Vintage Christmas Bubble Lights~rare Colors~estate FindVintage Pom Pom Aluminum 7 Foot Christmas Tree With Stand By PecoCelluloid Bobble Head Christmas Tree OrnamentLot 23 Mid Century Bradford Atomic Sputnik Starburst Christmas Tree Ornament VtgVintage Ceramic Christmas Santa Claus Reindeer Sleigh Figurine Kreiss Co. JapanAntique Victorian Mercury Glass Double Indent Christmas Beads Garland Vtg 107"11 Lot Vintage Christmas Italy Italian Mercury Indent Diorama Ornaments IobLot 45 Vintage Miniature Glass Christmas Tree Ornaments Indent Mica Made Poland2 Box Vintage Mercury Glass Tiny Feather Tree Christmas Ornament-japanVintage Large Cardboard Castle House Christmas Putz Village Japan With Trees C1930's Composition Santa - Originally On A Sled - Germany2 Antique Mercury Glass OrnamentsVintage Christmas Feather Tree Miniature Glass Ornament Lot, Indents Shiny BriteAntique Christmas Ornaments Santa Frog Turkey And SantaAntique Lot 3 Strands Victorian Mercury Glass Christmas Bead Garland Vtg 293"Antique/vintage 1920's Paper Mache Santa Clause Christmas Candy ContainerAntique Victorian Mercury Glass Christmas Beads & Bells Garland Vtg 85"Vintage 6 Ft Aluminium Christmas TreeChristmas Lights Vintage String Tree Bulbs Lot Vintage Retro Timco Ge Twinkle C9Antique Spun Cotton Christmas Ornament Fruits Lot Of 11Antique Mercury Glass Patriotic Bell Glass Clapper Christmas Ornament-germanyVintage Lot Of Erzgebirge Putz Children Flowers Wendt & Kuhn Wooden Figurines Lot Vintage Glass Christmas Santa Ornaments Czechoslovakia In BoxOld Estate Find Christmas Ornaments Light Bulbs Humpty Dumpty Santa LanternsPair Of Antique End Of Day Glass Swirl Christmas Ornaments14 Vintage Noma Bubble Light Tubes For Noma Biscuit Bubble Lights-glass Slugs1973 Gorham Sterling Silver Snowflake Christmas Ornament* Lot Of 6 Vintage Clip On Blown Glass Multicolor Birds Christmas OrnamentsAntique German Dresden Christmas Candy Container Basket Feather Tree OrnamentVintage Six Noma Bubble Christmas LightsAntique Vtg Bottle Brush Christmas Tree Miniature Doll House Mercury Bead Pair 2Outstanding Vintage Bubble Lights, Noma Biscuits, C6 Working, Slugs5 Vintage Mercury Glass Swirl Stripe Christmas Ornament* Lot 8 Blown Glass Small Size Mushrooms Christmas OrnamentsFour Large Vintage German Kugel Ball Christmas Ornaments Heavy Hand Blown GlassC The 12 Days Of Christmas Sterling Silver 925 Ornament Set Internation SilverVintage Rival Christmas Decorative Lighting Outfit Holiday Lamps Strand Lights Working Antique Matchless Wonder Star Frosted Clear Crystals 1930's 3 1/8"Unusual Holt Howard Hh Japan Santa Christmas Head Bracelet With Original BoxTwo Very Old German Santa Figures, BisqueVintage C6 Raylite Paramount Purble Kristal Snow Animated Candle Bubble Light Rare 1960's Beco 988 Lighted Jolly Santa & 989 Sleigh Blow Mold Vtg X-mas DecorVintage Stuart Nye Sterling Hand Wrought Christmas Cross Ornament Original CardWorking Antique Matchless Wonder Star Frosted Red Crystals 1930's 3 1/8"Lot 8 Used Tested & Working C6 C-6 Christmas Mazda Multi Color Light BulbsAntique Small Erzgebirge Germany Putz Home/stable Set W/3 Animals & Woman FarmerAntique Cast Metal Billy Goat Figure Germany White With Collar, Horns, Putz 4"Vintage Glolite C-9 Christmas Light Strand / Ge Swirl Bulbs

Recent News: Christmas

Source: Google News

Downtown Visalians unveil strategic plan, new goals
Visalia Times-Delta, June 30th

Downtown Visalians, city staff and community members caught a glimpse into downtown Visalia's future Tuesday during an annual luncheon held at the Marriott. The luncheon is organized by the Downtown Visalian's each year as a meeting place for ...Read more

Retro Toys and More is owner's fourth try to catch his dream
Arizona Daily Star, June 27th

Lunch boxes, paper dolls, vintage Halloween, vintage Christmas,” Lopez said. “If it's kid-related or child-related, it's in there.” Stiltner has been friends with Lopez for years. She was helping him sell merchandise online — he has two bedrooms and a...Read more

31 vintage Christmas cards sent in Alabama from 1900-1970, plus a history of ...
AL.com, December 23rd

While creating a photo gallery of vintage Christmas cards sent to and from Alabama over seven decades, including war and peace times, I decided to look up the history of holiday cards. GreetingCard.org says the first Christmas card was designed in...Read more

Vintage Christmas: Some holiday decor never gets old
Pensacola News Journal, December 19th

Styles change so much over the years but we all know vintage is always in. When it comes to fashion and home décor what goes around usually comes back around. When it comes to Christmas decorations there is only one rule — anything goes. As exciting ...Read more

These Adorable Vintage Christmas Cards Will Make You Yearn For A Simpler ...
Huffington Post, December 19th

If you're like most people, Christmas cards mean dashing to take family holiday portraits, last-minute printing or, if you're really lazy (sorry), sending one of the many hilarious Someecards. While we're grateful that technology has afforded us faster...Read more

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

Sending Christmas cards has been a U.S. holiday tradition for as long as Americans have been licking stamps. If you're putting off getting those last-minute Christmas cards in the mail, you're running out of time. The deadline for First-Class and...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

Downtown Grand Rapids lit-up for Christmas in the 1960s. (Courtesy | Grand Rapids Public Library, Hero Bratt Collection). Garret Ellison | gellison@mlive.com · Print · Garret Ellison | gellison@mlive.com By Garret Ellison | gellison@mlive.com The Grand ...Read more