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, Simple Tiered Base. Wondeful Color, Berries. Germany Vintage Halloween Paper Papier Mache Candy Container Pumpkin Smiling Old RetroC1930s Celluloid Face Santa Claus Net Bag Candy Container Christmas Ornament Yqz15,5 Inch Paper Mache*german Belsnickle* Candy Container By Paul Turner Father Christmas Santa Antique German Lithographed Tin Candle Clip Ornament!19thc Antique 1869 Christmas American Folk Art Painting, Santa Claus & PresentsEarly 20thc German Kugel Blue Pine Cone W Leaves Christmas Ornament4' Vintage Aluminum Christmas Tree 55 Branches In Original Box22 Inch Paper Mache *german Santa*candy Container Handmade By Paul Turner Rare Factory Sealed 1950s Silver Forest Vintage Aluminum 4 1/2' Christmas Tree 16 Vintage Retro Sputnik Atomic Star Plastic Christmas Tree Ornaments Paper Mache *german Belsnickle* In Chimney Candy Container By Paul Turner 10,5 Inch Paper Mache*german Belsnickle* Candy Container By Paul Turner Antique Christmas Ornament Angel Putti Cherub And CrossVintage 1940's Paramount Bubbling Animated Christmas Tree Light String Vintage Noma Bubble-lites Xmas Lights&box 9 Lights No StringAntique C1900 Santa Belsnickle Figure German Moveable Arms Legs Fur Suit CompAntique German Paper Die-cut Scrap~tinsel Blue Suit Santa Christmas Ornament YqzVintage Bradford Celestial Motion Christmas Tree Topper LightVintage Wrapped Wire & Cardboard Baby In Bed Christmas OrnamentEarly 1920s Tin Zeppelin. Christmas Tree Ornament. Japan1930s Santa Claus Figural Glass Night Light 9" W Red Bakelite Base8 Inch Paper Mache *german Belsnickle* Handmade By Paul Turner Victorian Wire-wrapped Mandolin. Elegant Early Glass Christmas Orn. Germany.Vintage Glass Birds-clip On Christmas Tree Ornaments-set Of 11-orig Box-wgermanyVintage Antique Rare German Christmas Stick Legs Putz Goat Ram Sheep Erzgebirge1971 Super Rare 40" Plastic Empire Blow Mold Sad Face Hobo Clown Lighted SnowmanStanding Angel Antique German Lithographed Tin Christmas Candle Clip!1700's To 1800's Nyc Forged Iron Brass Santa #5 Pennsylvania Sleigh Bell RattleGorham Sterling Silver Christmas Ornament Of Santa's Helper Elf (1352)1870s Tin & Lead Alloy Star, Two Paper Flowers Inside. Germany. Nuremberg.Wooly Sheep Lot Of 5 Antique Putz Germany Erzgebirge For Christmas Or DollhouseSpun Cotton Icicles And Snowball With MicaVintage Lot Of Small Glass Christmas Tree Ornaments Hand Blown Japan Estate FindVintage 60s Era Mercury Glass Christmas Ornaments Indent Mica Shiny Brite PolandVtg Lot Of 9 Knee Hugger Elves Christmas Elf Pixies Felt Cuties Posers Japan Antique Victorian 23" Feather Christmas Tree Turned Wood Base Tin Candle Holder Vintage Christmas Star Shaped Figural Light BulbVtg Antique Christmas Brass Sleigh Bell Lot Leather Strap Horse Harness 25 BellsVintage Christmas Decorations: Lights And Glass OrnamentsAntique Mercury Glass German Christmas Ornament Partridge Bird Peacock Family1890s Wire-wrapped Glass Tree Topper. German. Tinsel Spray On Top. Beads Hanging11 Vintage Cardboard Christmas Houses Village, Putz? Pair Of Vintage Christmas Angel Table Ornament Figurines Japan1870's Antique Folk-art Victorian Wooden Sleigh W/orig Paint The Best!Early Nilco C-9 Light Bulb Boxed Set - Working!Early 20thc German Belsnickle Figural Santa Claus Composition Figure-yellow SuitVery Rare 1.75" Red Ribbed Round German Kugel - Antique Christmas10 Inch Paper Mache German Santa(red) Candy Container By Paul Turner Matchless Wonder Double Star Christmas Tree Ornament Pink & Emerald Jewel Unique2 Vintage Matchless Star Christmas Tree Bulb Light Usa Crystal GlassVintage Retro Eames Era 1950's Bradford Atomic Star Sputnik Plastic Ornaments Vtg 1930's Matchless Wonder Star Glass Christmas Tree Light - Amethyst Color2 Antique Goose Feather Christmas Trees, Germany, White W/berries, 11 1/2" HVintage Kreiss Set Of 3 Christmas Angels Singing Caroling Japan Ceramic BellsVintage 1972 Trush Sterling Silver Bird Full Figure Christmas Ornament NiceVintage Ceramic Christmas Santa Claus Wall Pocket Vase Norcrest Japan P3421880s Victorian Basket Of Chrysanthemums, Cellophane.tinsel & Paper Xmas Orn.Early 1890s Angel, Santa Double-sided Spun Glass Circle. Early Orn. Germany.1880s Paper Angel, In Cotton Wings. Dresden Stars. Tinsel & Paper Xmas Ornament

Recent News: Christmas

Source: Google News

Celebrity chef gives youngsters advice on Langage yoghurt-making contest
Plymouth Herald, April 24th

Richard, who has appeared on TV programmes such as Channel 4's Kirstie's Vintage Christmas, also runs the Devon Scone Company and has a reputation for making tasty handmade scones from locally-sourced ingredients. He will be helping Langage ...Read more

Spring bazaar set at Northwood UMC
Mason City Globe Gazette, April 17th

NORTHWOOD | A spring bazaar and luncheon will be Saturday, April 25, at Northwood United Methodist Church, 1000 First St. N. Coffee and homemade cinnamon rolls will be served from 8:30 to 10 a.m. for a freewill offering. From 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., ...Read more

31 vintage Christmas cards sent in Alabama from 1900-1970, plus a history of ..., 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. says the first Christmas card was designed in...Read more

Vintage Christmas decorations on display
Mansfield 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

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, 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 Rapids, December 9th

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

Vintage Christmas
Orlando 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