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    

1920s Green Feather Tree, Poinsettia Base. Wondeful Color, Berries. Germany Vintage Christmas Halloween Krampus Candy Container C1910 German RareLot Of Rare Antique Christmas Tree Ornaments / BulbsFour German Plaster Reindeer. Movable Antlers. Harnassed To Pull Sleigh. 1920sAntique German Christmas Mercury Glass Charlie Chaplin OrnamentRare Vintage Cartier Lapis Lazuli Trinity Ring Sterling Silver Bell Orig BoxAntique Vintage C.1920 German Glass Xmas Ornament. Red Riding Hood Head.Antique Vintage Lot 5 Germany Wooly Stick Leg Sheep Putz ChristmasThree Antique Santa Clause Figures - Paper MacheVintage Chenille Santa Christmas Tree Hangers-ornaments-decorationsRare Vintage Box Of Sterling Paramount Bubble Lights Christmas Tree C6 SizeAntique Feather Tree 53" Tall With Wooden BaseVintage "sparkler" Aluminum Christmas Tree -4 Ft. Size With Org. Box And Stand1920s Santa Claus In Wooden Sleigh, Pulled By Brown Celluloid Reindeer. IssuesAntique Celluloid Santa On Sleigh Reindeer Figurine Vintage Christmas Ornament Antique Dresden Christmas Tree Reindeer Pony Lion Vtg Flat Cardboard OrnamentsEarly 1900s Feather Tree, Wooden Turned Base. But Needs Repairs And Tender CareAntique German Kugel Unusual Blue Green Teal Christmas Ornament Ca18802nd Late 1870s Jewel Lead & Tin Alloy. Counterbalance Candle Holder. GermanyVintage 1950s Pixie Devil Lot 7 Japan Lefton HalloweenAntique Milk Glass 1906 Roosevelt Bears Suitcase Candy Container X-mas OrnamentAntique Christmas Santa Claus Figurine Miniature Wood Composition German VintageVintage Paramount Bubble Christmas Lights Replacement Set 3 PurpleVintage Christmas Ge (general Electric) C7 Light Bulbs Original Box Nos Huge LotAntique Glass Christmas Ornament-birdsAntique Christmas Cotton Santa Claus Mica Sailboat Vintage Feather Tree OrnamentGreat Old Original Cast Iron Small Deer Still Bank With Arcade Sticker 1913-32Vintage German Putz Black Wooly Sheep Toy Composition Head & Body~good ConditionRare Six Piece Crowns Set 1960 Holt Howard Santa Claus King Smoking Set JapanVintage Evergleam Aluminum Christmas Tree. 4' 58 Branch W/afcolite! Mint!Vintage Erzgebirge/putz Angel With Violin & Boy With Toy Horse ~ Wendt & Kuhn1975 Gorham Snowflake Sterling Silver Christmas Ornament Medallion Vintage German Bisque Santa Claus Riding On A Sled With Pine TreesMiniature Feather Tree. 14" Red Berries. Early 1900s. Germany. Late 1870s Jewel Lead & Tin Alloy. Counterbalance Candle Holder. Germany12 Vintage Glass Christmas Ornaments-bells, Barrels, Pointy,triple IndentVintage Santa Clause Lot - Christmas OrnamentsVintag 50's Bradford Celestial Star Motion Light Tree Topper Works GreatVintage Evergleam Aluminum Christmas Tree 6 Ft 94 Branches-orig Box/pkg-nice!Beautiful Brass Capped Double Kugel Christmas Ornament Vintage German CollectiblBlack Wooly Sheep Toy Vintage German Putz Composition Head & Body~good ConditionVintage Box Of 7 Paramount Christmas C7 Bubble Lights Rare Vintage Working Set Of Four Paramount Bubble Lights (no Cord)Vintage Evergleam Stata Lite Revolving 4 Color Wheel-for Aluminum Tree12 Mercury Glass Christmas Ornaments-barrels-inverted Christmas Trees-usaVintage Chinese Lantern Christmas Ornaments -usa -555Vintage Mercury Glass Diorama Indent Deer Christmas Ornament Antique ChenilleRainbow Wink-o-lites,christmas Light,case Of Bulbs,2 Strings ,noma,nos GibraltarVintage Christmas C-6 Peerless Shooting Star Bubble Lights!Lot Of 10 Vintage Knee-hugger Christmas Elves OrnamentsVintage Christmas Ornaments - 14 Handmade Elves Circa 1950Box 11 Shiny Brite Midcentury Blown Glass Christmas Drum Ornaments MercuryVintage Kreiss Japan Ceramic Noel Angels Candleholders1983 Gorham Snowflake Sterling Silver Christmas Ornament Medallion Vintage Christmas Bubble Lights Noma With Original Box1930s Chenille Santa In Santa Themed Candy Box. Ornament, Candy Container Rare Vintage Ge Transformer Christmas Lights 24v 1920's With Noma Mazda Glolite7 Vintage Holt Howard Snowie Snowman Clip Ornaments In Original Box 2003 Gorham Sterling Silver Christmas Snowflake Ornament. 34 In A Series.Two Vintage Santa Clause Banks

Recent News: Christmas

Source: Google News

NBA keeps it simple with '15 Christmas unis
ABC30.com, May 13th

They feature a holiday card theme, with script chest wordmarks inspired by vintage Christmas cards and heavy use of a cream-based tone (officially called "greige") that's meant to evoke parchment. The NBA logo on the jerseys appears in a sealing wax...Read more

An annual vintage Christmas party with the...
Hamilton Spectator, May 1st

Funtrek Tours in Hamilton, Ontario, provides you with customized vacations and tours that exceed your expectations and deliver a pleasant experience. Funtrek Tours has been known for delivering community support. They have a passion for creatively ...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