The History of the Vintage Ceramic Christmas Tree

The Ceramic Christmas Tree

00000img_00000_burst20191103164825709_cover-1I can still remember my grandmother’s ceramic Christmas tree. The way she would take it carefully out of the packaging she had carefully wrapped it in from the previous year. The way she would check it to make sure nothing had been damaged and that each tiny light bulb was in it’s place. The look of those tiny bulbs on that beautiful green tree made me smile. It made me think of Christmas. She’d smile at us kids, my sister and I, and then she’d tell us the story of when she first brought that tree. How she had seen it at a store and just fell in love with it and how our grandfather had gone out the next day and gotten it for her as an early Christmas present.

When she told us that story she always paused a little and smiled. Remembering our grandfather as he was now gone. And my sister and I even though we’d heard this story almost a million times, would pause along side her trying to picture our grandfather, who had been a quiet man, going to a store and purchasing such a fragile item just to make our grandmother smile.

After we heard this story, my grandmother would always put the tree in the window in her front room and plug it in and my sister and I would smile and enjoy the lights. Such was our family tradition every year until our grandmother died. Then we would continue the tradition without her. It still makes me smile to see that old fashioned ceramic tree and fills me with happiness when I plug it in and see all those twinkling lights.

Stories like the one above are just one of hundreds of stories that come to mind when people see those old fashioned ceramic Christmas trees. They are indeed a family tradition and a beautiful keepsake. But where did this tradition start and what is the meaning behind these trees. For the answer to that, we have to explore a little.

The History of the Ceramic Christmas Tree

Most old holiday decorations don’t hold much value beyond the sentimental kind. But if you have a box of Christmas memorabilia collecting dust in your attic, there’s one item worth searching for. According to Today, vintage ceramic Christmas trees shot up in value around the holidays, and any you might have lying around the house could potentially be worth hundreds of dollars.!

Ceramic Christmas Trees became very popular back in the 1970s, however some date back to as early as the 60s! As technology improved in producing clay and mods that could hold correct shapes and create larger sizes, ceramic trees became more and more popular projects in ceramic shops around the USA well into the 1980s and early 1990s.

Back in the 1960-1970s, mom and grandma wanted to create their own gifts, keepsakes, pots and dinnerware so they went to learn how to paint their own ceramics at a local shop. This lead to holiday decorations and you guessed it ceramic trees!

Several different ceramic mold companies in the Midwest started producing their own version of the now classic Ceramic Christmas Tree. The earliest versions of trees had tiny electric bulbs that lit individually. As technology developed in plastics and lighting, the older versions of tiny individual bulbs were replaced by trees that lit from within using only one light bulb to light and entire tree that is decorated with small, colorful plastic “bulbs.”

Vintage trees from this era are painted in a variety of colors, styles and textures. Some are glazed, some finished in acrylic paint, some with snow and many without, but one thing is clear — people still love those remarkable handmade ceramic Christmas Trees!

Since these trees are made from fired clay, little care is required making them perfect for holiday decorations and gifts that easily last many, many years.

The Decline in a Beloved Hobby

Since the early 1990s, several mold companies and ceramic shops have gone out of business or merged with others due to a decline in interest in ceramics ; mainly due to the influx of ready-made ceramics from Japan and China. Added to that the need for Mom’s to go to work to help support the family, leaving little time for ceramics projects.  As these mold companies went out of business and ceramic shops closed up, many of the original mold designs and styles have been lost or destroyed.

Since these trees are made from fired clay, little care is required, making them perfect for holiday decorations and gifts that easily last many, many years.

New Memories for the Masses

New memories are being created as friends, children and grandchild enjoy trees made from some vintage mold designs available today. People are enchanted by the ceramic Christmas tree and the delicateness of the lights. There is purely something magical about them.

Where to find those Vintage Christmas Trees

We are so excited at Clarks’ Christmas Tree Farm and Christmas Shop to offer for our 2nd year these old-fashioned beautiful trees to our customers. We have vintage ceramic trees available in white and green and ranging in a variety of sizes. We are also excited to offer some new items such as ceramic tree nightlights and flat window trees for tight spaces.  These beautiful trees are sure to create memories for you and your family and will be something you can pass along to your own children.

Visit our website by clicking here to check out the location of our shop and to find out a perfect time to come see our beautiful ceramic Christmas trees in person! We can’t wait to help you make new memories with your family!

Our shop opens officially for the season on Friday, November 29, but we are offering a special sale weekend the weekend of November 23 & 24 where all items in our Christmas Shop as well as our fresh wreaths and pine roping will be 20% off.

4 thoughts on “The History of the Vintage Ceramic Christmas Tree

  1. I too have my grandmother’s ceramic tree and I’m wondering the differences of them. This tree has hand written writing etched into the clay on the bottom….looking to me like someone made it.


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