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    

Rare Large 15.5in Antique Krampus Devil Doll Christmas Halloween Candy ContainerSanta W/ Reindeer Composition & Paper Mach Candy Container German SuperiorLarge 28,2 Paper Mache*german Santa* Candy Container By Paul Turner Vintage 6 Ft Aluminium Pom Pom Christmas Tree 91 Branches 1950's All Over Again58 Vintage Christmas Ornaments Shiny Brite Pink Mercury Glass For Feather Tree Vintage Pink Harold Gale Santa Claus Rare, Amazing Condition !!!Rare Vintage Mid Century Poloron Blowmold Illuminated Vacucel Lighted Fireplace Antique German Christmas Candy Container? Santa Clause On Wooden Sled Antique German Feather TreeVintage Aluminum Taper Christmas Tree 8 Ft With Color Wheel74 Antique & Vintage Glass Christmas Ornaments Figurel Indent + Shiny Brite+ Guc8 Vtg X-mas C-6 Saucer Bubble LightsAntique Vintage Mid Century Aluminum Tree Ornament Color Wheel Christmas LotAll Bisque Antique German Elf Nodder BandVintage Wax Angel Christmas Ornament-germanyAntique German Figural Christmas Ornament Stocking With ToysRare Vtg Christmas 50s Rosbro 6 Hard Plastic Santa Ornaments W/ Hammer Axe ToolsMirro Elegant 4&1/2 Ft Vintage Aluminum Christmas Tree W Orig Box & Instructions4 1948 To 1950 Paramount Bubble Lights All Work C-6'sAntique German Hand Blown Mercury Glass Reindeer Trio, Very Large, Circa 1920'sRare Vintage Box Of Sterling Paramount Bubble Lights Christmas Tree C6 Size2 Vintage Mercury Glass Hot Pink Chartruese Bumpy Tube Bead Christmas Garland13,8 Inch Paper Mache *german Santa*(red) Candy Container By Paul Turner 2nd. Fabulous Multi-colored Glass Beaded Garland. 1930s Japan. 20 Ft. Vintage Royalite Hard Plastic Light Up Santa W Tree In Original Box2 1948 To 1950 Paramount Bubble Lights 1 Purple, 1 Blue C-6Antique Feather TreeVintage Christmas, Old Spun Cotton Icicles Ornaments , Lot Of 6Vtg 1930's Glolite Glass White Feather & Red Cellophane Table Top Christmas Tree7 Antique Mercury Glass Tiny Pine Cone Bell Christmas Feather Tree OrnamentVintage Harold Gale Pink Santa Claus Christmas - 16" Fantastic!!!German Putz Metal Reindeer Deer Lead Antlers Lot Of 610,5 Inch Paper Mache *german Krampus* Candy Container By Paul Turner #5 - Two Antique German Putz Wooley Stick Legged Nativity SheepVintage Alcoa Aluminum Christmas Tree 6 1/2' Royal Pine W/box & Light 6101 Gorham Sterling Silver 440 Starburst Christmas Tree Topper Ornament Nr#4 - Two Antique German Putz Wooley Stick Legged Nativity SheepVintage Usalite String Of 20 Twinkling Atomic Lights RareNoma String Bubble Lites Biscuits Rockets C6 1 Purple Light~working W/box(4) Antique 1900's Victorian 4 " Germany Wax Angel Christmas Ornaments Mohair Vintage Lot Of 2 Putz German Wooly Ram Sheep Lamb Stick Leg Christmas Nativity*lot Of 8 Vintage Christmas Tree Toppers Decorations Mercury Glass Vintage Royal Electric Hard Plastic Light Up Santa W Tree In Original BoxVintage Peco Aluminum Christmas Tree 6 Foot Model No16Vintage 6 Foot Pom Pom Aluminum Christmas TreeLarge Lot 32pc Vintage Christmas Bubble Lights Noma? Estate FoundAntique Large Stick Leg German Putz Sheep Christmas Nativity - Ex Cond !!Vintage Bubble Light Oil Christmas Blue Works....c6.....tree Bulb No ReserveLot Of 2 Vintage Paper Mache Santa Claus W/ Felt Cloths Made In Japan 4" Tall12 Vtg Christmas Ornaments Shiny Brite Large Double Indents Shiny Brite BoxVintage Mid Century Modern Evergleam Aluminum 4 Ft. Christmas Tree Branches Vintage Santa Clauses-mechanical Swinging-manufacturer "paul Weiss" NuremburgVintage Antique Santa Claus Original Suit Beautiful Condition New Face Come SeeAntique German Santa HeadAntique Early 20th Century German Barn With Outbuildings And 34 Animals1947 To 1948 Paramount Oil Bubble Light It Works No Damage C-6Vintage Christmas Santa Elves Music Box Mixed Lot 18 ItemsRare Poloron Styrofoam Blowmold Carolers Vintage Christmas Lot 40s Candles Sants & Sleigh Putz Mica Ornaments PiksVintage Large Blow Mold Plastic Candles Christmas Display With Lights

Recent News: Christmas

Source: Google News

Pieces of Raleigh's history will be sold at Briggs Hardware auction
News & Observer, July 24th

Jackson Rogers, left, and Johnnie Lemons with Rogers Auctioneers tag the nail bin up for auction at Briggs Hardware store, which has been in Raleigh since the Civil War, on Friday July 24, 2015. The store is closing its doors and they are auctioning...Read more

B & B Auction Celebrates 44 Years
Orange Leader, July 19th

“We sold antiques, hummel figurines, lead toy soldiers, cut glass, milk glass, vintage Christmas decorations, household items, yard accessories and much more.” Although it has been three years since B & B Auction has actually held auctions, Bertrand ...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 Time
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

Home Tour: Thousands of priceless Christmas antiques fill Indian Hill home and ...
WCPO, December 19th

Indian Hill resident Beth Karp has been collecting vintage Christmas decorations from around the world. Karp has also contributed to the holiday displays at the Taft Art Musem of Art every year. Emily Maxwell | WCPO. Copyright 2014 Scripps Media, Inc...Read more

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

Greenwich estate hits market for $65M. visit|article-6404123|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

“Merry Christmas Honey! I Got You a Vacuum!” 16 Awkwardly Vintage Christmas Ads
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