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
Antique Christmas Lights Museum
Bohemian Christmas Decorations
Old Soviet Christmas Cards
Other Great Reference Sites
Most watched eBay auctions
Recent News: Christmas
Source: Google News
Artful Shopper: Judy's Antiques and JewelryThe News-Press, February 27th
We have an antique 1900s Christmas tree in the window with vintage Christmas decorations and we keep it up year round. Anything special for Mothers Day? We have a lot of interesting, girly type stuff — perfume bottles, jewelry, compacts, and nice...Read more
Vintage Christmas decorations on displayMansfield News Journal, December 22nd
ONTARIO There's a story behind all of those vintage decorations at Elmcroft Senior Living Community in Ontario. They are part of collections belonging to friends and family of receptionist Barb Pifher of Shelby. "Christmas has always been my favorite...Read more
Vintage Christmas decor highlights homeMilwaukee Journal Sentinel, December 20th
Vintage Christmas decor highlights home. Posted: Dec. 20, 2014. Email; Print. Antiques dealer Scott Tagliapietra has decorated his home, which was designed and built in 1949 by one of Frank Lloyd Wright's chief engineers, for Christmas. Related Coverage...Read more
Vintage Christmas: Some holiday decor never gets oldPensacola 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 todayChron.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
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
Vintage ChristmasOrlando Magazine, December 4th
My favorite holiday has always been Christmas. As a child growing up in the 1970s, one of my fondest memories was going to pick out our tree from the Christmas tree farm, bringing it home, stringing the lights and getting out all of the pretty...Read more