Every wonder how Santa Claus became associated with Christmas? Confused by the references to St. Nicholas, Belsnickel and Woodland Santa? Here's a short history of the many identities associated with the jolly old elf.
It all began with St. Nick
Father Christmas for Grown Ups
Father Christmas, a variation on Saint Nicholas, was associated with adult revelry. The Victorian era brought a return to the idea of St. Nick as a gift giver whose purpose was to delight small children.
Along came Belsnickel
Santa Claus, the jovial elf
Modern-day Santa Claus evolved from the re-imagining of Saint Nicholas by Washington Irving at the turn of the nineteenth century. There was a tug-of-war in the religious community, as the Puritans disapproved of pagan holidays. Literary work re-imagined Santa Claus as a gift-giving jovial elf (think Night Before Christmas, famously illustrated by Florence Sarah Winship). That imagining has persisted in our culture to this day, where Santa is in charge of toy-making elves and flying reindeer.
Woodland Santa is magical, too
Woodland Santa, portrayed as a friend to animals, is another variation of Saint Nicholas. He may be dressed in brown or white robes, sometimes fur lined, but often less elegant than the ermine and red velvet garb of his counterpart. He’s frequently shown with birds perched on his arms or head and forest friends at his feet.
Which Santa do you believe in?
No matter which Santa figure you feel the most affinity for, you'll find a figure or ornament for your collection in the Cool Vintage Finds Store on eBay. And have a very Merry Christmas, for one and for all!
It may be 85 degrees and sunny where you are right now, but if you're a true fan of Christmas decor of yore, you're already thinking about how you'll deck your halls for the upcoming holiday season. Vintage Xmas decorations are always charming and nostalgic, connecting us to ghosts of Christmas past and creating memories for generations to come. Here are some favorite vintage finds to enhance your collection of holiday home finery.
Ceramic Christmas trees
There's been a recent resurgence in the popularity of ceramic Christmas trees. By Atlantic Mold Co. and other makers, these trees are typically fitted with small colorful lights. Less common, you may find a tree that's lit with candles like the one shown above. You can find more online options for ceramic trees at the Christmas Tree Source.
Vintage Christmas stockings
Whether hand knit or made of felt and sequins, vintage Christmas stockings are fun and festive holiday decorations. Some of the oldies but goodies are personalized, which adds a little kitsch (unless you're fortunate to find one with your own name). No worries—often you can remove or cover stitches or print to make it your own.
Vintage Christmas candles
Carved and figural candles with Christmas themes are highly collectible. Mark each year with the annual Christmas candle issued by popular makers. Santa, snowmen and tree candles from the 70s are fun finds. Christmas candles of all kinds make great gifts.
Vintage Christmas tree skirt
Christmas tree skirts come in all shapes and sizes. If you're looking for something vintage, keep your eyes peeled for hand knit, felt and sequins, needlepoint and other hand crafted masterpieces.
Spread good cheer with a table set with your favorite holiday-themed glasses, dishes and table linens.
Vintage Christmas ornaments
Vintage Christmas ornaments are easy and addicting to collect. Look for mercury glass, needlepoint, wood (real and faux carved) and even resin renditions to add nostalgia and charm to your holidays at home. Vintage ornaments are also an attractive (and useful) way to spruce up your gifts; simply wrap your ribbons around gently used ornaments to add flair to your packages.
This short list offers just the tip of the iceberg—there are oodles of Christmas collectibles for connoisseurs of all things vintage. What's your favorite vintage holiday decor? Show and tell in the comments below!
Learn about our recent discoveries and what captures our imagination in this blog, then peruse the treasures in our Cool Vintage Finds Store on eBay.
Brought to you by...
... Susan Buie, writer by day, vintage curator and co-proprietor of the Cool Vintage Finds Store on eBay in all the moments in between.