Sunday, December 13, 2009

Childhood Treasures

Miniature Handpainted Bell

Another Vintage Christmas Monday, and this one takes us back to the 1940s-1950s. This little bell hangs on our Christmas tree each year. The tiny 1" porcelian bell is handpainted and simply marked with the words "Japan" on the inside. It was tied to a Christmas present that my husband received as a young child. My mother-in-law had kept it and hung it on the family tree each year. She gave it to us for our tree the first year we were married. It has the sweetest little sound, but more than that it holds the sweetest of memories. It is obviously a small trinket but my mother-in-law valued this little bell enough to keep it safe all these years so that her son could have it for his family Christmas trees years later.

Plaster of Paris Santa Dated 1940

This little Santa figure is another Christmas piece from my husband's childhood. The paint is chippy and flaking off here and there, but then it does have 1940 imprinted on the back rim of the base. So at close to 70 years of age, I think this Santa looks pretty good! This little guy was one of a pair that was among my mother-in-law's Christmas decorations. One of my sisters-in-law has the other. The Santa figures are made of plaster of Paris or gypsum plaster. Curious as to why this is called plaster of Paris, I googled and found the answer in Wikipedia. "A large gypsum depoist in Montmarte in Paris is the source of the name." I have many Santa figures that have found their way into our home through the years, but this one and the one featured below are very dear to my heart.

Plastic Santa Light Cover, c 1950

The jolly red Santa above is from my childhood Christmas trees. When I was a child the Christmas lights that we placed on our trees were large colored blubs. They would get hot and were both dangerous to touch and a fire hazard. I much prefer the tiny white lights of today. Not only are they much safer, but I prefer the tiny sparkle of the white lights as they glisten through out the branches of the tree. You can see in the photo below that this Santa was meant to attach to one of the large bulbs as a type of shade. When the lights were on, Santa would glow from within as he hung on the Christmas tree. I recall other such shades in various forms on our tree, but this one was always my favorite. My mom gave it to me after I married. You can see that he, too, is a bit worn. I always have him out during the holidays. The two little mice figures by his side are a bit newer. They were given to me in 1973 by the aunt who made my pink Christmas stocking that I shared here last week.

Back of Santa Light Cover, c 1950

In this photo you can see where this little guy could be attached to a light bulb on the string of Christmas lights. Such a simple piece of plastic that reflects the joys of childhood Christmas trees.

Thank you for joining me today for Vintage Christmas Monday. Please leave a comment and tell me about something that hung on your childhood Christmas tree. Then click here to join Joan @ Anything Goes Here to see more vintage Christmas treasures.

The summer we married, my husband was in graduate school, and I was employed as a teacher. We took a portion of our savings that summer and purchased a sailboat. We christened our Catalina 22, “Hyacinths For The Soul” after Saadi’s poem. Our "Hyacinths" provided years of pleasure.


  1. Sarah, what a joy! Did you know that someone wrote somewhere (!) that those of us who actively read blogs (and blog, right?) are "smarter"? I truly love to come to your blog with all the background information (yes, I would wiki, otherwise)!

  2. Oh, that is so neat that you have these, Sarah! We had an angel on the top of our tree that lit up and that as I recall had angel hair on her (which was something like spun fiberglass). Daddy is the one who always put her on the top of the tree.

    A lot of our ornaments (virtually all) were stolen by someone who worked for my mother, but slowly, we replaced all of the ornaments on Mama's tree till it was once again covered. My sisters and I divided up all of her ornaments when she died, and I took a lot of sentimental ones. But one thing the thief didn't get was an old Santa that was on our mantle when I was small. He was dressed in a red velvet suit, and he had a gold sleigh. Not sure who has that now. But Santa had a team of reindeer (I only have two of those left), and some lady we knew made those for Mama. We used to wrap little matchboxes and put them in Santa's sleigh each year for his packages. Also tiny toys went in it.

    I remember how hot the big bulbs used to get when you touched them. And I liked blinker lights. We always cut our own trees from the pasture. Daddy would take one of the field hands with him, and they would cut more than one. We picked the one we liked best, and then the hands who helped would take the other two. They were cedar, and they got very sticky as they dried out... but they smelled SO good. And Mama always banked the mantles in pine and pine cones... it was tucked around Santa and his reindeer.


    Sheila :-)

  3. Love your tiny bell and the plastic Santa. This year it is my turn to choose some ornaments for my son and his new wife for their first Christmas. They decided to forgo a real tree this year as their space is limited and chose instead to use a small lighted ceramic tree that was my son's grandmothers. I will wrap some of my ornaments for them for next year. Thanks for sharing.

  4. thank you! I love to hear about christmas memories!
    Very special!

  5. I love vintage ornaments, and yours make me think of all the Christmasses with very vintage-y ornaments. Last year we bought a Russian ornament for one of Bandy's college friends who studied in Moscow--mostly the pieces were from the 50s. My mother has her grandmother's glass "corn" ornaments. Thanks so much for this lovely post.

  6. You've shared such sweet items, and ones with so much family history too. I love that. I remember when they had bigger lights on the trees, and I like the little ones better too.

  7. How lovely, Sarah! It's nice to have little reminders of your childhood! I have no idea what happened to all of our ornaments. My mom was inclined to give everything away! I hope you are havig a wonderful week!...hugs...Debbie

  8. Sarah, how wonderful for both you and your husband to have childhood memories to share on your Christmas tree. I love your posts and look forward to each one.

  9. Hello Sarah, I am just getting to visit my pinkies too. We were gone this weekend, 'again.'

    I love the vintage ornaments you shared today. The bell and the Santa are treasures for sure. I also loe your ligh shades for Christmas. I sure do remember those big lights. The small lights now are far better and safer.

    I also scrolled down to see your pinks from last week. The Louis XVII collectibles are such a treasure to have. I will have to investigate his site. It is interesting that he was a kindergarten teacher too. The French touch is lovely.

    Have fun getting ready for Christmas.

    Hugs, Jeanne

  10. How wonderful to have decorations from your childhood and with great memories. Thanks for sharing them with us.


  12. Hi Sarah,
    Your little bell is wonderful and all the more so because of the story & memories attached to it.
    I don't have a single childhood ornament to put on our tree, which is a shame.

  13. Hi Sarah, Oh, this post brought back memories! Loved seeing your vintage special the memories that go with them. :-)

  14. Oh Sarah, how wonderful that you have and treasure these childhood memories for both you and your husband! Those are the kinds of decorations that really evoke Christmas for me. (Somewhere on our tree is a little bell similar to the one that belonged to your husband-it was mine when I was a child, and I love it). I love your Santa light cover. laurie


Thank you to each of you who take the time to leave a comment. I read and appreciate each and every one and will respond to any questions. Your notes are the only way I know who has stopped in for a visit.