Although Christmas has different meanings for different people, it is a serious business for collectors. From Christmas Tree Ornaments to paper Mache Decorations, one happy collector said, "For us, Christmas is all year round!”
Santa Claus is also known as Father Christmas, Saint Nicholas, Saint Nick, Kris Kringle, or Santa. He is a legendary character originating in Western Christian culture. Which brings gifts on Christmas Eve or toys and candy to well-behaved children? And either coal or nothing to the naughty children.
In German "Weihnachtsmann" is a very generic German term for Father Christmas, St. Nicholas, or Santa Claus.
But rest-assured from retail stories to collecting Christmas decor, it's all big business!
At Last, It's Christmas Time in Canada, Eh!
All year long, you've been looking high and low for beautiful old Christmas tree ornaments from years gone by, and it's finally time! It’s time to show off your fine collection to the world.
We all know there's no proper way of decorating your Christmas tree. There's no book of rules you have to follow. As long as you make it a pleasurable experience, an enjoyable event for you and your family, that's all that counts!
At Christmas, your kids bring home ornaments they tenderly made a school. You hang these personalized drawings on the tree. Christmas cards are strategically placed between the branches with the lights, tinsel and beautiful coloured hanging decorations that come in every shape and size. This particular time of year is special for a lot of folks.
Did you know that spending Christmas in the modern world wasn't always like this?
Some old documentations date decorating Christmas trees back to the 1600s. But Christmas, as we know it today, didn't become popular until much later on, around the 1800s. I'm sure people started celebrating Saint Nickolas Day long before that in some countries.
Even though the theme of my article is about Collecting Christmas Tree Ornaments and Decorations, I thought I would share a few facts you might not know. There is the genuine fun part, and it comes after the festive season, collecting these fine art pieces.
People take this Special Day of the year quite seriously and so much so, it's a billion-dollar industry.
But sadly this tradition comes alive only once a year but, that's not necessarily true either. Take for example this one fellow on a U Tube Video CHANNEL. . . ." Christmas Is All Year Long." LINK
Collecting Christmas Tree Ornaments
"Christmas collectibles include not only Christmas trees and ornaments, but they also have Santa Clause figures, unique dishes, games, wrapping paper, and Belsnickle is a 19th-century figure of Father Christmas, made of paper Mache.
A popular Kugel is an early, heavy ornament made of thick blown glass, lined with zinc or lead and often covered with colored wax. Christmas cards and tin toys are also highly collectible.
I was personally collecting still banks (money/coin banks). The Santa Clause cast iron (piggy banks for a better term) was hard to impossible to find, but they were my favorites, so Christmas décor comes in many different shapes, sizes, and themes.
Pictorial Guide To Christmas Ornaments & Collectibles, Identification and Values. (CLICK HERE)
Here is something to look for on Kugel tree ornaments.
In the 1840s-1900s, they were heavy, blown glass. (Kugel in Germany) means round ball, but don't let that fool you. They came in different shapes and styles like fruits, apples, berries, etc.
The older editions had their name stamped on the steel collar of the ornament. A light chrome coating covered some, so look for flaking or the worn tarnish after many years.
I would bet money, many people would remember the spring clips that attached the string to the ornament. They were stuck inside the top of the bulb. Not like today's push on attachments.
The ornaments and decorations had a paper or cardboard collar (instead of steel), mainly because of the mass shortage in metals.
A point to remember on collecting anything is that the great war years changed how many things were made due to the war machine and the short supply of products.
Steel, paints and most or all material, was in general, cut back for public use.
Christmas Snow Baby
(1864) Early Snow babies are highly collectable. They were made of candy and used as Christmas decorations. In later years they were made from bisque and spattered with glitter sand. Royal Bayreuth also makes snow babies tableware. Copies of the small Snow Babies figurines are being made today in a line called "Snow-Babies" repro. But that's not a bad thing.
Things to look for when collecting Christmas Ornaments:
- Imposed identifying marks on the ring or, some people call caps.
- The older caps were more minor than the newer versions.
- Look for a paper /cardboard ring/ cap. That'll date it into the war years.
- Look for a tarnished ring.
- Check the lip under the ring. Is the glass flush, or has it a lip? Older ones are flush.
- Plastic is a dead giveaway of newer ornaments.
Countries to look for when collecting old Christmas Tree Ornaments are *Czechoslovakia *Poland and Germany.
Shiny Brites Ornaments
Shiny Brite Tree ORNAMENTS 1930-the 1960s seem to be the most famous collectors. Before the war, they were just plain decorative balls for the tree. After the war, they became a little more colorful. Some came with concave starburst (reflectors) with lots of glitter, different shapes, and styles.
More things to Look For
- Advertising SIGNS- Example – "Coca Cola sign with Santa drinking a coke."
- DISHES- glassware with a Christmas theme.
- Decorative hand-painted balls and shapes like animals and little, hand-carved people, etc.
- Decorative bells
- Hanging lanterns
- Snowbabies are highly collectibles
- A cardboard cutout of St. Nickolas figurine
- Betty Boop hanging ornament.
- Novelty hanging decorations.
"German Dresden ornaments are embossed cardboard with outstanding detailing."
Christmas postcards come in four pages, and you just cut out the one you want. They're collectible!
There is no written rule on decorating your tree. But there are many elegant old-looking ornaments and decorations yet to be uncovered and conversation pieces THEY ARE.
AS THE STORY GOES, THEY EVEN HUNG COOKIES FROM THE TREE BRANCHES AS PER Readers STORY.
"When I grew up in Europe, there were neither artificial trees nor electric lights to brighten up the tree. Christmas decorations were mainly passed down from generation to generation and were delicately hand-painted, small ornaments, about 3-4 inches in diameter.
There were also many bird-shaped ornaments with angel hair tails, fancy homemade cookies, strings of various nuts, and of course with real candles about 3 inches high.
The candles were only lit for a half hour or so because it was so dangerous, and one of the adults would be on watch with a candle snuffer and water, in case the tree caught fire." Reader From Toronto.
Did I say, Santa Clause Coin Banks Are Very Rare?
Do your research on Christmas Collectables. You will find a wealth of information on Christmas Tree Ornaments and oddities on the web. So don't be too surprised if you get hooked on this exciting hobby that lasts the whole year long.
Bonus, you can show off your fine Christmas collections at the same time every year.
"So, let's get started." LET'S COLLECT SOMETHING, EH!
There are lots of places to find your treasures: the thrift stores, flea markets, garage sales, church bazaars and yes, evens my automotive swap meets. (my favorite)
The off-season is the best time to start and add to your Christmas collection. Nobody thinks of Christmas in the summer. Do research, get armed with knowledge, Christmas is coming! This is the time to get ready for the offseason, and remember when collecting "anything," "Knowledge is Power"
Do your research!
I am not a collector of Christmas ITEMS but I do like my “Piggy banks.” This fun article shows that people celebrate Christmas Time for many different reasons.
This story in part was taken from my Blog Post (LINK here)
Out of everybody’s heavy schedule, we have to put one day aside every year to spend quality time with the people we love. My Christmas is to celebrate with family.