Some More Christmas History
In 1848, Queen Victoria encouraged her German husband, Albert, to decorate a tree as he had in Germany, and the tradition caught on in both England and America. Decorated with sweets, glass ornaments, and candles, the trees became widely popular. By 1870 Germany exported huge numbers of glass ornaments, manufactured via a “cottage industry,” made up of individuals and families who made the ornaments in their homes. After the World Wars, America and Japan joined the fray and began producing their own decorations, based on the beloved German ones. It is these that I’ll be talking about in this post–vintage Christmas ornaments of the 1950s.
Bottle Brush Decorations
The most desirable bottle brush decorations have small glass beads attached, along with other decorations, like the brush wreaths–one with bells, the other with a spun cotton snowman. This brush tree sits on a glittery wooden base stamped “Japan,” holds four pretty pink presents, and displays gold garland, glass ornaments, and crushed glass type of “flocking.” I plan to list it for $26.99 during the Christmas season.
The Santa Claus figure seems to be an amalgamation of a number of different myths from around the world, including St. Nicholas (Greek), Sinterklaas (Dutch), Father Christmas (England), and a variety of others.
This cute little chenille Santa also carries a small tree and has a paper mache face. I plan to price him at $3.99 next season. My guess is that he was made in America.
This Santa has a 1960s or 70s look and feel about him. I’ve never seen it at a sale or in a guide book, so I picked him up for a few cents at a garage sale. There are no markings. If anyone knows anything about him, I’d love to hear it. My feeling is that it was made in Hong Kong.
I suspect that these spun cotton and pipe cleaner guys were either part of a larger decoration or perhaps inserts for floral arrangements (please inform me otherwise if you’ve got better info). Germans, and later the Japanese, created spun (or pressed) cotton ornaments by pressing cotton into molds to create various shapes like heads, animals, and fruit. These examples are likely Japanese, and I sold them as a set in my Etsy shop for $4.99.
Another area of Christmas collectible is candy containers. Often there is nothing about the piece that indicates it held candy because it looks like a stand-alone decoration, like this boot. But there would have been a piece of card board glued or tucked into the top to hold some special treat inside the boot. This is the first one I’ve ever owned that has the ribbon and the paper around the top still attached. Many fine examples of older containers were made in Germany, this newer one was made in the USA. They retail for about $4.
I call this guy my haughty reindeer because of his thrown-back head and cynical expression. Made out of molded plastic, he’s quite large–about seven inches high and wide. I think it’s very unique and attractive, but it failed to sell last Christmas for its original price of $12.99 or its reduced price of $6.50. Scads of plastic deer, Santas, elves, trees, and other decorations came out of the 1950s. They can usually be found at garage sales for next to nothing.
These hot pink glass beads are likely made in Japan. Sellers on eBay and Etsy call them “mercury” glass beads, but I’m not sure why. Mercury glass results from the silvering of double-walled, free-blown glass. The coloration is achieved from the inside of glass and, as you can see in the photo, the pink coloration is wearing off the outside of these beads. They nevertheless have a great vintage look; this 8 foot set sold last year for a bargain $6.49.
Manufacturers produced myriads of Christmas-related items like this little tin of glitter. I love the lettering and the graphics. This diamond dust could be used as faux snow or could be applied to the roof of a card board house or hillside. It sold last year for $5.99. Other items would include paper decorations, table decorations, tree skirts, gift wrapping items, and the list goes on(!).
Elf on a Shelf
|Source: Chrissy at Parent Pretty|
I couldn’t finish this post without a nod to the ubiquetous shelf elf(!). I’ve never owned one myself, but they are hugely popular in the blogsphere, so I couldn’t leave him out. Chrissy at Parent Pretty can tell you how to properly bend your elf–LOL.
I’d love to hear about it–