December 16, 2017

The antique lover in your life is likely pining for a vintage Christmas-related gift this holiday season. Take note: Antique decorations and unique presents could set yourself apart from the many gift-givers this time of year.

Or perhaps you want to give yourself something retro this holiday season, especially if you're a hardcore collectibles fan who enjoys seasonal antiques.

But what are the most eye-popping vintage items focused on Christmas, tree decorations and Yuletide celebrations? Muzeum is here to guide you through this busy space.

The Christmas tree is a great place to start. By now, everyone might have a standard pine tree to decorate, but in the 1950s, aluminum Christmas trees were all the rage. They can be difficult to find now, making them an attractive collectible for the Christmas fanatic who claims they have all things holiday-themed.

If you can find that type of tree mounted on an electric tree stand that rotates the tree, you'll be in possession of an even rarer item.

Decorations are increasingly sought after by collectibles experts. It's well known that hand-made paper ornaments are not nearly as prized in the marketplace as the embossed and fully coloured chromolithographs that reached the peak of their popularity between about 1870 and 1900. They featured all kinds of subjects, including animals, domestic or wild, and also patriotic figures such as Miss Liberty, Uncle Sam, and the American eagle during the Spanish-American War and World War I.

The type of Christmas decoration that is most rare is the Dresden, which is usually cardboard, hand-painted and embossed. Often depicting animals, angels or vehicles, Dresdens took more time to make and never had high mass-market appeal in the U.S., but they became attractive to antique fans long after they were decorating trees.

We all know glass ornaments as the de facto decoration for Christmas trees across the world. As widespread as they are, if you can find a uniquely shaped glass ornament, you could be in possession of a valuable goodie. We've heard of Noah's Ark-shaped glass ornaments selling for thousands of dollars.

Also highly prized are vintage Santa figurines. We learned the earliest incarnations of Saint Nick were in Celluloid figurines. In the early 1900’s German craftsmen realized how to manipulate this lightweight, plastic-like material into simple shapes. But alas, the market for these figures faded due to their flammability by the 1930’s.

The most valuable pieces of Santa memorabilia are small and generally made of paper mache and then painted by hand. Dubbed Belsnickles (Nicholas dressed in fur), they are often priced between $3,500 and $4,500.

Angel bells were also the rage for Christmas lovers, particularly in the U.S. in the 1950s. Rosy-cheeked angel bells have become highly collectible in the past decade, most notably due to how they fell off the market in the 70s. Like many kitschy items from Christmas past, they can be a lovely boost of nostalgia for those who got their stockings stuffed with these ceramic beauts.

If you are in the market for Christmas collectibles, or you have items you'd like appraised by Muzeum's expert staff, drop us a line anytime via our Contact Us page. And we wish you and your family and friends a very happy holiday season!

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