OLD-FASHIONED SETS APPEAL
From those famed Hess trucks to every-year-a-new-one Hallmark ornament series, people collect all kinds of things for the holidays, unpacking them each season to proudly create one-of-a-kind displays. The bottom line is, these collectibles add personality to your celebration — and sometimes value (though most are collected for sentimental reasons rather than financial gain). So go ahead, collect, display, and savor the way you and your family have created your very own holiday tradition.
Prices and availability are subject to change.
HESS TOY TRUCKS
It was back in the 1960s when Leon Hess, the founder of the Hess Corporation, decided to create a quality, affordable holiday toy. In 1964, the original Hess Toy Truck sold for $1.29 — including batteries — and was a hit. The collecting continues with this year’s models commemorating the series’ 85th anniversary — and still coming with free batteries.
Find them: 2018 Hess RV with ATV and Motorbike ($34, includes free batteries and standard shipping)
CHEVRON TOY CARS
A clever stop-motion advertising campaign that went viral — long before the term was used for such things — found the animated cars featured in Chevron ads turned into actual Chevron Toy Cars. The 60-plus models became a popular gift (for kids and adults) from 1995-2009 and are still remembered — and displayed.
Find them: Vintage models arefeatured on eBay, where listings start at less than $5.
HALLMARK KEEPSAKE ORNAMENTS
Greeting card giant Hallmark traces its roots back to the early 20th century in Kansas City, Missouri. Today, you can’t miss its stores jam-packed with greeting cards, gift items, wrapping goods and yes, Christmas ornaments. The company’s website notes that it was 1973 when it introduced its first collection of Hallmark Keepsake Ornaments, which included six glass ball ornaments and 12 yarn figures. Today’s themes range from sports to nature, fictional characters to pets with the longest-running current series, Frosty Friends, in its 35th year.
Find them: Christmas Carnival Journey to the Stars Musical Ornament with Light and Motion (first in series, $50)
CHRISTOPHER RADKO ORNAMENTS
The top of the Christopher Radko website counts down the days, hours, and minutes until Christmas — the company’s excitement is palpable. It’s no surprise as these vintage-inspired collectibles have countless fans. This year’s collection includes more than 600 handcrafted European glass creations, so have fun narrowing down your choices.
Find them: Deer with Santa Hat Dated($10)
DAVID WINTER COTTAGES
Though a definite specialty, there remains a following for David Winter Cottages, evidenced by the website dedicated to the British cottages made by the Studios and Workshops of John Hine, Media Arts Corporation, and Enesco between 1980 and 2002. Scroll through to be transported to a magical place.
Find them: Various styles available on eBay, where listings start at less than $5
“The Nutcracker,” an 1892 ballet with a score by Tchaikovsky, has spurred not only countless holiday performances around the world — but a craze for collecting figures based on its title character. From “life-size” incarnations that flank front doors to miniatures tucked into stockings, this fella is a popular holiday figure and motif.
Find them: Actual German nutcrackers from Erzgebirge-Palace ($17 and up)
Lenox offers a number of collectible series, each having its own loyal following. Whether you opt for the silver-tone Silver Bells, the hand-painted ceramic Snow Majesty snowflake collection, or the new Heavenly Angel design, a purchase means you’re part of a long tradition.
Find them: The 2018 Silver Bell Ornament, 5th in series ($20)
The Irish crystal company is synonymous with elegance and craftsmanship, its annual Snow Crystal Christmas Ornament adding a distinctive sparkle to many a Christmas tree.
Find them: The 2018 Annual Snow Crystal Christmas Ornament ($65), available from Neiman Marcus
JIM SHORE SANTA CLAUSES
Creations by Jim Shore, an artist and designer known for his folk-art style, remain highly collectible. His designs touch on Santa Clauses and TV favorites such as “Frosty the Snowman,” to Disney princesses, Victorian designs and plenty more.
Find them: The Jim Shore Heartwood Creek 2018 Sixth Annual Dated Santa($22)
We have to be honest — these are creations that you love … or are scared by! Those who love their whimsical faces, around since 1934, can’t get enough of the Christmas-themed selections. These include nativity figures from mice and little drummer boys to carolers, all with those signature facial features.
Find them: The new 6-inch Jingle Bell Girl Mouse ($27)
SWAROVSKI CRYSTAL SNOWFLAKE ORNAMENTS
It’s said no two snowflakes are alike — and no two annual Swarovski Crystal snowflake ornaments are either. The company has other series, such as Christmas balls, but it’s that signature snowflake that gets all the gasps for its sheer drama. This year’s is crafted with 156 clear crystal facets by Verena Castelein, hanging on a white satin ribbon for placing on tree or in window.
Find them: The 2018 Annual Edition Ornament ($79)
Why be boring with just a single holiday tablecloth? After all, there are all those pre-Christmas gatherings plus Christmas Eve dinner, Christmas Day breakfast, Christmas dinner … so invite Santa, wreaths, holly, angels, and more to the table to create a setting most festive.
Find them: Holiday Ribbon Damask Tablecloth ($15 to $35), available from Bed Bath & Beyond
THOMAS KINKADE … ANYTHING
It seems that anything Thomas Kinkade touched, collectors love. The late artist, billed as the “Painter of Light,” put his work on everything from paintings to clocks, lanterns to ornaments and much more. Again, for those who are fans, there is nothing more evocative of an idealized Christmas than a Thomas Kinkade scene.
Find them: “Christmas Miracle” 14-by-14 inch Gallery Wrapped Canvas ($89)
The legacy of the artwork of Sister Maria Innocentia Hummel endures on the collectible market, the nun’s work first gaining a following in 1930s Germany and Switzerland. The annual Hummel Christmas plates, made from 1971 through 1995, remain prized by collectors for their charm (and depending on year, value).
Find them: Search eBay and other secondary-market sites for options, some listing at less than $10.
PORCELAIN CHRISTMAS TREES
Find them: Mr. Christmas 14-inch Nostalgic Christmas Tree in Green($40), available from Home Depot
MARK ROBERTS FAIRIES
Another love ’em or hate ’em item, Mark Roberts Fairies are legendary collectibles, intricately detailed and lushly ornamented designs that dazzle in their individuality. The 2018 collection includes a variety of sizes with designs including caroling, gingerbread-baking, deck the halls and “lap of luxury” fairies.
Find them: Fairy of Festivities ($56 to $130)
CAT-THEMED HOLIDAY HOME GOODS
Find them: 3dRose Cute Christmas Striped Kitty Cat Mrs. Santa Claws Potholder($26) from Wayfair
Find them: Bethany Lowe Traditional Smiley Snowman Figure ($68) from Horchow
This one’s for all ages — yes, you can go digital but sometimes it’s fun to pull out a favorite DVD and pop it into the player, whether it’s an agreed-upon classic such as “It’s A Wonderful Life,” a television favorite such as “The Little Drummer Boy,” or more contemporary picks such as the 2003 British blockbuster “Love Actually.”
Find them: “A Christmas Story” (multiple formats, from $4) on Amazon.com
Find them: Vintage Snow Globe, Deer ($19) from West Elm
Find them: Angel Grace ($33), from Christmas Traditions
Find them: Barbie Collector 2018 Holiday Nikki Doll ($38) from Target
Find them: Rhineland Glockenspiel from the Alpine Village collection ($140) from Department 56