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Christmas Ornaments: Building Your Collection

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Basic Information

Glass wreath ornament by Fostoria in box marked "Christmas Nostalgia." Presidential Seal metal ornament with enameling in blue box with seal.iOffer link

You don't have to wait for Christmas to enjoy Christmas ornaments. They're suitable for all-occasion ornaments or for your home decor if you want. Some Christmas ornaments do double-duty as suncatchers all summer and tree ornaments once you decorate for Christmas.

You might choose to collect Christmas ornaments in a curio cabinet or display case so you can enjoy them all year. Whatever your choice, they're almost irresistable to some collectors -- like us. We have many that we've kept for ourselves, but we sell duplicates and ones that don't fit into our collection.

We made our first Christmas ornaments -- actually, we stayed up all night on Christmas eve and made some styrofoam ornaments to look like dioramas. Small styrofoam balls aren't easy to dig out the centers, and the results weren't spectacular. We still have a little angel from that first tree (Some people are just sappy sentimental.)

Hallmark ornaments weren't available in the late 1960s. The first Hallmarks were ball ornaments and yarn ornaments that looked like handmade dolls, available in 1973. I recall thinking they were darling and expensive (they weren't expensive, we were poor). They cost more now on the secondary market than they cost in 1973, and few have the original boxes.

Boxes are an important part of collecting commercial Christmas ornaments. Even the condition of the box makes a difference in the value. If you're buying ornaments, look for ornaments in the original box -- then look at the condition of the box. These get bent easily, or faded or torn from sitting in a shop.

We purchased a merchandise close-out from a Texas Hallmark store in 1996, and have added and subtracted from that basic collection for more than 15 years. That's why we have so many Hallmark and Enesco Christmas ornaments -- and many haven't been used. In fact, many haven't been opened.

If you're new to collecting Christmas ornaments or want to expand your collection, you might want to limit your collecting to a series, a type or a shape so you can keep your collection under control.


Sweet William – Angel boy in purple robe with puppy from the Hallmark series, Mary's Angels.

We've collected the Hallmark Barbie in the Holiday Barbie series started in 1993.

These are small ornaments that correspond to the doll for the year. The 1993 ornament is in a red dress, and was hard to find for several years, but these have been available recently -- even at reasonable prices. Hallmark produces Barbie ornaments that are outside the Holiday Barbie group as well, including the Millenium Princess Barbie, Barbie and Ken Wedding Day, Barbie and Kelly and Barbie as Rapunzel.

One of the long-running series in Hallmark is Frosty Friends, with Eskimo children in cute poses. Frosty Friends Number 1 is from 1980.

Here Comes Santa and Mary's Angels are collectible Hallmark Keepsake series ornaments, with a collectible ornament available every year for several years. Hallmark has made a sports series for the popular sports, including basketball and football, with at least one ornament available each year.

Hallmark has more series ornaments than probably any other maker, and you can restrict your collecting to Club ornaments or Event Exclusives.

Event exclusives are for attendance at an event. If you go to the premier weekend events or special promotions, Hallmark makes some ornaments available for the attendees, sometimes in limited numbers.

Angel in blue robe with a bunny, Marguerite from Mary's Angels by Hallmark.

Hallmark also has Premier ornaments available during the Premier event each July. There are personalized ornaments with a place where you can add a name.

Each year, club members can order special ornaments not always available to the public. You must belong to the Club to get the advertising for these ornaments.

Hallmark has magic ornaments that have some action such as light, sound or motion.

The Hallmark Reach ornaments were a series available from 1989 through 2002, usually five Christmas ornaments in a set available one each week as a purchase with a purchase. Some of the sets were Santa and reindeer, Snoopy Christmas, The Bearingers and a Christmas locomotive called Claus and Co.

You don't have to collect Hallmark ornaments to have a wonderful collection. We're partial to art glass and porcelain ornaments that we buy for investment. We think some ornaments will increase in value over the years. Whether you're looking for a series that appeals to you or for an investment for retirement or for your kids, Christmas ornaments may suit your fancy and your purse.

Type: Art Glass

Pressed glass baby carriage with holiday wrapping and stars by Mikasa.

We collect Ron Hinkle and other art glass Christmas ornaments, and these are beautiful blown glass, suitable for permanent display at your home. Have a look at his ornaments here.

I expect Ron is a relative since he comes from the same area of West Virginia and has Linda's maiden name. That gives us more reason to collect his work, but other American glass artisans make Christmas ornaments as well.

Red haired angel in pink and white robe ornament, art glass.iOffer link

Michael and Frances Higgins made art glass rondelays that are suitable for Christmas ornaments and the Higgins Studio continues to make glass ornaments. (We collect vintage Higgins, but have mostly plates, bowls and dropout vases.)

Here's an art glass ornament we purchased on the secondary market and don't know the maker, but it looks American.

Type: Sterling Silver

Sterling silver snowflake with gold-filled center marked "Gorham Sterling Christmas 1982".

If sterling silver continues to increase in value, sterling ornaments are not only beautiful but will increase in value.

We have Gorham sterling silver snowflake ornaments for resale. Contact us for snowflake ornaments for the years from 1970 through 2005.

We would also recommend James Avery for other sterling silver ornaments, since they're made in Texas. We've sold all the James Avery ornaments we've had. Here's an example of his style from his website.

Jeep Collins is another Texas silver artisan, and his shop has sterling silver Christmas jewelry in exquisite designs. His site is here.

Type: Pewter

Side view of pewter angel, marked "Hope", holding a cross. Pewter french horn ornament with holly wreath and "Joy to the World"iOffer link

Pewter Christmas ornaments have that "Old-World" look of Christmas past. We have pewter ornaments and pendants that could be used as ornaments, particularly on a table tree. I see pewter angels frequently, and a studio artisan in Texas makes Marcie pewter angels.

Type: Porcelain and Pottery

White snowflake on blue pendant with holly berries on edge. Jasperware by Wedgewood England.iOffer link

Ceramics ornaments from home ceramicists are often as attractive on the Christmas tree as purchased ones, but unless the ceramicist is well-known, these ornaments don't usually increase in value. They are wonderful for sentimental value but not a good investment.

White eight-pointed star porcelain ornament with holly berries in center.iOffer link

Ceramics includes glass, pottery, porcelain and even terra cotta or brick, and you may find Christmas tree ornaments made of all of these products.

Porcelain ornaments are usually a fine grain white or ecru clay fired at a high temperature. Lenox, Wedgwood, Coalport and other English companies make porcelain or bone china ornaments imported for the American market. Lenox porcelain is made in China

The older porcelain ornaments were made in the U.S.A. We buy and sell some of the older ornaments, including the Hallmark porcelain bell ornaments that have dates for different years.

English bone china creates a spectacular Christmas tree, and Coalport is one of the fine china companies in England that makes Christmas ornaments. See left.

"Christmas Kitty", orange and white, in white dress and apron with poinsettias, first in the series from Hallmark.iOffer link

Hallmark produces ceramic ornaments, too, and we often have secondary-market porcelain collectibles from Hallmark, such as the kitty shown here.

Wedgwood makes ornaments that double as pendants, as shown above.

White ceramic snowflake with gold 1983 in center and tassel.iOffer link

Avon had ceramic snowflake Christmas ornaments for several years.

Image or Shape Collections

Marked "symbol 1986" Angel with shell-shaped dress and hat holding a heart.

You may choose to collect nativity scenes, angels, bells, doves, santas, sports, children or any animal category to limit your collection and keep it under control. (Otherwise, you'll have to sell some, like us, so you can sleep in the bed.) A choice of a rare image or shape will keep your collection to a minimum or you can combine your image choice with a type or series. You may decide to collect sterling silver santas, porcelain sleighs or Hallmark raccoons.

The more restrictive you make the collection, the fewer ornaments you'll find in that category.

Some examples are: Reed and Barton and Hand and Hammer made a sterling silver santa series. Avon and Wedgwood made porcelain sleighs. Hallmark made a skating raccoon in 1978 and a skateboard raccoon in 1985. Raccoon Surprises was from 1982, with the raccoon in a stocking.

Purchase Information

If there are Christmas ornaments from prior years that you would like to have, we have over a thousand ornaments available here through our website, in stock and ready to ship.

There are sterling silver ornaments from Gorham and Wallace, silverplate from International, Hallmark and Enesco ornaments from past years, including Baby's First Christmas, Star Wars, patriotic ornaments and Disney Christmas ornaments.

We have plastic, acrylic, Lucite ornaments, glass ornaments from Fostoria glass before they closed, porcelain Christmas ornaments from many different companies including Avon, and pewter ornaments from Seagull Canada and other quality metals and companies.

Email us and let us know what you're looking for. We may have it! Even if we don't have it, we like communication and will answer your questions if we can.

There are mini ornaments for your miniature Christmas tree, too, including Hallmark minis.

We have at least 1000 ornaments unlisted, but you can find some listed in our iOffer store.

Most of these ornaments are in the original boxes, purchased from a retail store or on the secondary market. We are a smoke-free, perfume-free home. Ornaments are priced to sell, most are half of old book price! We're pleased to negotiate for multiple purchases. We wish you holiday cheer and blessings all year.