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.

New Children’s book!

Clark’s Christmas Tree Farm is excited to welcome a new children’s book written by two local authors.

20161116_074631-1.jpg  Steve and Jean Goodwin, from southeastern, PA wrote Milton The Christmas Moose to help inspire the spirit of Christmas in all of us and to give those children out there who feel unwanted, different or left out a voice. The wonderful book features Milton, a moose who is different from the other moose and who often feels left out or picked on. Even though Milton faces all these difficulties, he is still very caring and accepting and kind. Santa is so impressed by Milton’s spirit of Christmas that he gives him a special Christmas wish and uses him as an example of how everyone should act. Milton the Moose is a holiday tale about compassion, determination and being yourself!

About the Authors:
15094521_10154050161256099_28335819718287176_nSteve Goodwin has his Ph. D in Health Education from Penn State. He has been teaching health education at the University of Delaware for twenty-three years. His work has been published in professional journals and presented at state, regional, national and international conferences. He has been teaching a course called the Act of Happiness for eight years. One of the main aspects of the course is attaining happiness through the development of positive character traits.

Jean Goodwin has her B.S. in Elementary and Early Childhood Education from Penn State and an M.S. in Education from St. Francis University. She taught intermediate grades in Pennsylvania, Delaware and Maryland for twenty-one years. Since retiring from teaching, she has run a first and second grader after-school program for the YMCA.

Steve and Jean have three grown children and four grandchildren.

About the illustrator:
Ioanna Philippou is a mother and illustrator from Cyprus. She works from her illustration studio, in TOTO, in the island’s capital, Nicosia with her sister and print maker Simone. She graduated with distinction from the University of Delaware with a Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts and Visual Communication and has ten years of experience in the field. Some of her clients include: The Wall Street Journal, Lowry Park Zoo, Second Cup, UNAIDS, Costa Coffee, Politis, and Hope For Children. Ioanna is also active in her personal creative development by taking part in numerous solo and group exhibitions across Cyprus, Europe, and the U.S. Find our more about her work and practice at

We hope you’ll pick up your own copy of this book to
share with your family. 

Caring for Your Christmas Tree

12227174_10153229743216099_32687313969579071_nSo you went out and found the perfect tree. It’s beautiful and full and fits perfectly in the spot you picked in your house, BUT how do you keep it beautiful until Christmas?

Caring for a live tree can be scary to some, but remember your tree was once a live plant and caring for it doesn’t have to be scary if you follow these tips and tricks:

  1. When you first bring your tree home, bring it inside, set it up and then leave it alone for a few hours to a whole day so that it can properly acclimate to your house. Remember your tree was once outside, so its used to outdoor temperatures and may need some time to properly “warm up” to your house.
  2. The most important item in tree care is WATER. If a tree is not properly watered, the needles can become dry and fall off and your beautiful tree may begin to droop. Filling up and checking your tree regularly can help you avoid water loss and a droopy tree. At Clark’s we have “watering elf” funnels which will make watering your tree not only fun but easy!  It’s also a good idea to select a tree stand that has a capacity to hold at least one gallon of water. Our “Stand-Straight” stands have large buckets that will hold the perfect amount of water for your tree.
  3. Initially your tree will drink A LOT of water, up to a gallon or more of water in the first day or two. After that, expect that the tree will absorb two pints or more per day, depending upon its size and whether or not you have pets drinking from your stand.
  4. Setting up your tree as far away as possible from sources of heat, fireplaces, radiators, vents, etc., will hinder the drying process and is also a safety precaution. Additionally, remember to unplug or turn off tree lights before going to bed and whenever the tree is unattended.
  • From our family to yours, we wish you a safe and wonderful holiday season!

Real or Artificial Tree: The Age Old Debate.

10301446_10152529473431099_7316538677639657716_nFall is full swing and as the air slowly starts to dip into the cooler temperatures, the thoughts of Christmas start to float into the atmosphere. Stores all over the area are already stocked with Christmas goodies and decorations, and crazy enough, some of the Christmas sales have already started. With the thoughts of Christmas and sales, come the age-old debate for a lot of families, real or artificial tree this year? Both options have their appeal. For some, an artificial tree is more cost-effective, but for others that smell of a real Christmas tree and the symbolism it represents just can’t be beat. We are obviously in the pro real tree category, but not just because we grow real trees.

According to a study performed by an environmental consulting firm in Montreal, an artificial tree has to be reused for at least 20 years to be greener than purchasing a real tree annually. The average family only uses their artificial tree for 6-10 years.

The study goes further to point out some other key points about real trees.

Real trees are renewable: When a tree is cut down, another tree can be grown to replace it. For every Christmas tree harvested, 1 to 3 seedlings are planted the following spring.

Real trees are recyclable: After the season, Christmas trees can be used for birdhouses, mulch, and fuel chips. Have a look at all the recycling options and tips from the National Christmas Tree Association. Artificial trees are made from non-biodegradable plastic, meaning they can’t be recycled. After those 6-10 years of use, most sit in a landfill for centuries. There are more than 4,000 recycling programs in the United States.

Real trees support life: Trees absorb carbon dioxide as well as other gases, and emit oxygen. Most fake trees contain polyvinyl chloride which produces carcinogens that can cause liver cancer or developmental problems during manufacturing and disposal. The PVC can also be a potential source of hazardous lead. While real Christmas trees filter smog and dust from the air.

Real trees preserve green space: Often times, Christmas trees are grown on soil that can’t support other crops, utilizing space that would otherwise serve no purpose. Learn about the National Christmas Associations Project Evergreen.

Real trees provide shelter: Real Christmas trees provide a comfortable habitat for a variety of wildlife.

There are close to 350 million Christmas trees growing in the United States alone, while 80 percent of artificial trees are manufactured in China. The United States real Christmas tree industry employees over 100,000 people.

We hope you’ll join us at Clark’s this year to get a real tree. Real Christmas trees help the environment and the economy.

Information courtesy of Marsha Gray and MCTA

Sources: National Christmas Tree Association, NY Times, CNN Money, Smithsonian

NEW! Christmas Shop to Open November 2015

All done and ready to get stocked with Christmas goodies.
All done and ready to get stocked with Christmas goodies.

Clarks is excited to announce that we will be opening a brand new CHRISTMAS SHOP in November of 2015! We were busy at the Philadelphia Gift Show in March talking to vendors and gathering ideas for the items we will be offering. Stay tuned to our Facebook page and website for more details and pictures as the project gets underway!

New shop will offer ornaments, collectible figures and decorations, wall signs, wreaths, roping, tree skirts, holiday jewelry, hot chocolate, coffee, goodies and much, much more!

Click here to see the shop being built.

Pumpkin: Not just a fall food!

71972_658553865672_1153770_nWell it’s September and that means only 3 months until Christmas! Officially only about 2 until the shopping begins. With the fall air and increasingly darker days comes the dawn of another wonder of the holidays, pumpkin. Many believe pumpkin to be a big part of the Halloween and Thanksgiving holidays, but really this fantastic food is a wondrous thing to add to any meal.

Pumpkins are not only a fun food to carve, but they lend many health benefits including:

  • Pumpkins Keep Eyesight Sharp
  • Pumpkins Aid Weight Loss
  • Pumpkin Seeds Can Help Your Heart
  • Pumpkins May Reduce Cancer Risk
  • Pumpkins Protect The Skin
  • Pumpkin Seeds Can Boost Your Mood
  • Pumpkins Can Help After A Hard Workout
  • Pumpkins Can Boost Your Immune System
    Information courtesy of The Huffington Post

10 Fun Facts about Pumpkin!

  1. The word “pumpkin” showed up for the first time in the fairy tale Cinderella.
  2. The original jack-o’-lanterns were made with turnips and potatoes by the Irish.
  3. Over 1.5 billion pounds of pumpkin are produced each year in the United States.
  4. The world’s largest pumpkin was more than five feet in diameter and weighed over 1,800 pounds.
  5. The largest pumpkin pie ever baked weighed 2,020 pounds.
  6. Each pumpkin has about 500 seeds.
  7. Delaware hosts an annual “Punkin Chunkin” championship.
  8. There are over 45 different varieties of pumpkin.
  9. Pumpkins are fruits.
  10. Pumpkins are 90% water.
    Information courtesy of Good Housekeeping

If you continue to search the web there are countless articles like the one above proclaiming this wondrous food as one that should be eaten all year. While I like my pumpkin particularly in a spice latte, I can’t help but dream of bigger and more delicious delicacies as the fall continues.