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Turns out, Grandma was right all along when she pulled out her retro ceramic Christmas tree every year at the start of the holiday season. These tabletop tannenbaums have been a best-selling decoration the last couple of years, going fast at retailers like Amazon, Target, and Walmart. Though, the true vintage models available on Etsy are most popular of all—and they could make you some big bucks if you have any extras hanging out in your attic.
So what’s the deal with these ceramic decorations—and why have people been making such a fuss over them for so many decades? Here, we’re sharing everything you need to know, plus suggestions for which ones to buy.
For starters, it’s important to know the history of the pretty figurines. Believe it or not, the trees first hit the scene back in ’40s, but they didn’t truly become popular until the ’70s. They were first designed (at least officially) by Atlantic Molds, but most vintage ones you’ll find at flea markets or online sellers come from Nowell’s. Nowadays, many folks collect them and pass them on to family members.
Nowadays, you can find styles in a variety of colors, sizes, and designs too. New ones are typically battery-operated, while antique ones light up with a power cord.
And if you don’t own one of these beauties yet, note that you don’t have to go the store-bought route! Back in the day, many collectors crafted their very own with pre-made ceramic trees—and you can do the same today. There are tons of DIY kits on the market (particularly over on Etsy), which allow you to paint your own heirloom piece that can be cherished for generations to come.
Wondering what to do with one of these treasures once you find it in your home? First, we recommend sprucing it up a bit (pun very much intended!). You can easily make it look merry and bright again with replacement bulbs and new tree bases. Talk about a Christmas miracle!
Regardless of whether you’re on your way to sell one or buy one, though, one thing’s for sure: You’re going to make Grandma very proud!
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