Thursday, December 22, 2011

How to choose antique Christmas decoration?

Holiday Season is coming soon! Many people enjoy decorating their homes. And some of them find a special appeal in vintage and antique Christmas decorations. Antique Christmas ornaments can add an Old World or vintage touch to your holiday décor. Begin a collection of antique ornaments and look for pieces throughout the year. This way, you can bring Christmas into your home during any season!

German immigrants brought their Christmas tree decorating habits to America, where the tradition spread. In the 1860s and 70s, the first commercial Christmas tree ornaments began to emerge. Some of these commercial Christmas ornaments were crafted out of embossed and painted cardboard.

These were Dresden ornaments, named for the German city where they were produced. In Germany in the 1600's, Christmas Trees were decorated with colored paper, small toys, food, and sometimes candles.

Later, tinsel, silver wire ornaments, candles and small beads became common. The custom was to have several small trees on tables, one for each family member, with their gifts stacked on the table under the tree.

Electric Christmas tree lights were first used just 3 years after Thomas Edison had his first public demonstration of electric lights in 1879. The early Christmas tree lights were handmade and rather expensive.

In the 1900's, popular decorations included strings of popcorn, homemade cards, pictures, cotton to look like snow, candy, and eventually glass balls and figurines. Some people used candles, but they often caused devastating fires.

In the 1930's, common Christmas tree decorations included bells, balls, and tinsel, and with a beautiful golden haired angel at the top. Commercial Christmas ornaments took off in America when F.W. Woolworth, of five-and-dime store fame reluctantly began selling German glass ornaments and they sold out in two days. That convinced him and he began his buying trips to Germany. Translucent plastic shapes, honeycomb paper angels, and glow-in-the-dark icicles became popular items.

Not until WWII did an American company succeed in manufacturing Christmas ornaments. Using a machine designed to make lightbulbs, the Corning Glass company was able to produce more than 2,000 Christmas ornaments a minute.

The mid-1960's saw another major change. The world was changing and modernist ideas were everywhere. Silver aluminum artificial trees were so popular that they were imported from America throughout the world. Colored lights placed below the tree made decorations unnecessary.

In the 1970's, America made a return to Victorian nostalgia and the trees had a refreshing new look. Some American companies specialized in making antique replicas, but others found the original makers in Europe to recreate wonderful glass ornaments and real silver tinsels.

Useful tips
  • Become familiar with the antique ornament market. There are a wide variety of ornament types, from German, blown-glass ornaments to papier-mâché ornaments, from goose-feather trees to antique Christmas lights. Once you know what you like, you'll know what to look for.
  • Read up on the subject of collectible and antique Christmas ornaments. You'll want to be able to spot a treasure when you see it! You'll also want to be knowledgeable enough to distinguish an antique ornament from a reproduction.
  • Search the Internet and local antique stores, garage sales and flea markets for antique Christmas ornaments.

  • Expect to pay anywhere from a few dollars to thousands of dollars for antique Christmas ornaments. The price will vary greatly with the ornament's age, color, condition and manufacturer.
  • Display all of your antique ornaments during the holidays. Some ornament collectors set up as many Christmas trees as it takes to hold their collection.
  • Learn more about antique ornaments and stay in touch with fellow collectors of antique Christmas decorations through organizations such as the Golden Glow of Christmas Past collectors club. Groups like this one send out newsletters to their members and sponsor conventions as well.
  • Store your antique ornaments carefully. Wrap delicate ornaments in tissue paper before you pack them away and use stiff cardboard or plastic containers in which to store them. Look for storage units made especially for Christmas ornaments.

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