Wednesday, 2 December 2015




Hello December! I love Christmas, the whole Christmas season. It's such a lovely time of year, and I invite you to spend a magical winter moment with the Collections Corner blogpost to usher in the Christmas season. Delving into collections around the world, I have selected 12 Christmas-related items including cards, toys, books, and decorations. Enjoy!

I. The First Christmas Card – Victoria and Albert Museum

© Victoria and Albert Museum, London
This card is a reproduction of an 1843 card, commissioned by Sir Henry Cole, the Museum’s first director. It combines two traditional themes. The central illustration shows three generations of a family raising a toast to the recipient of the card, and the outer, less colourful images show acts of charity and giving to the poor.

II. Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol – The Morgan Library & Museum

© The Morgan Library & Museum
Every holiday season, the Morgan displays Charles Dickens’ original manuscript of A Christmas Carol in Pierpont Morgan’s historic library (view online here). First published on 19 December 1843, the novella met with instant success and critical acclaim. A Christmas Carol remains popular, having never been out of print.

III. A Christmas Story House & Museum

© A Christmas Story House
This 19th-century Victorian house was used in the exterior scenes of Ralphie Parker’s home in the beloved 1983 film A Christmas Story. Located in Cleveland, the house was purchased by a private developer in 2004 and has been restored and renovated as to appear as it did both inside and outside in the film – leg lamp and all!

IV. Poinsettia – Canadian Museum of Nature

© Canadian Museum of Nature
An ornamental shrub, the poinsettia is native to Mexico and Central America, where it is known as Flor de la Noche Buena (“Flower of the Holy Night”). It is believed to have been used as a Christmas decoration as early as the 17th century when Franciscan monks near Taxco, Mexico incorporated the plant in their Nativity processions.

V. Second World War Stocking and Gifts – Imperial War Museum

© IWM (EPH 3663)
Six years of war brought many changes to familiar festive rituals in Britain. Christmas celebrations during the Second World War often had to be scaled down or adjusted as restrictions and shortages took their toll. The toys and gifts in this Christmas stocking from 1940 have been made from low-quality wartime paper.

VI. An Iconic Santa Claus Holiday Advertisement – The Coca-Cola Archives

© The Coca-Cola Company
The modern image of a jolly, red-suited Santa Claus with a beard is often attributed to Haddon Sundbolm, an artist hired by Coca-Cola in the 1930s to promote their product in the winter months. The ads Sundbolm created portrayed a rosy Santa Claus bringing cheer with a bottle of Coke, and the image stuck.

VII. Glass Christmas Tree Ornaments – Museum für Glaskunst Lauscha

© Museum für Glaskunst Lauscha
The bauble is one of the most popular Christmas ornament designs, and such spherical decorations have been in production since 1847. Glass baubles were first made in Lauscha, Germany by Hans Greiner who produced garlands of glass beads and tin figures that could be hung on trees.

VIII. The Christmas Truce – The National WWI Museum and Memorial

© The National World War | Museum at Liberty Memorial
On Christmas Eve of 1914, along parts of the Western and Eastern fronts in Europe, a spontaneous truce was declared among the entrenched soldiers of World War I. Many German and British troops exchanged presents of cigarettes and plum puddings and sang carols and songs. There was even a documented case of soldiers from opposing sides playing a good-natured game of soccer.

IX. Pink Evergleam Aluminum Christmas Tree – Wisconsin Historical Museum

© Wisconsin Historical Society
Aluminum Christmas trees were first commercially manufactured in the United States from 1955 until the 1970s. Their massive appeal derived from their novelty in a marketplace dominated by traditional holiday decorations and designs. The aluminum Christmas tree was famously used as a symbol of the over-commercialization of Christmas in the 1965 Peanuts holiday special A Charlie Brown Christmas.

X. The Nativity: The Presentation in the Temple – Museè du Louvre

© Museè du Louvre
Nativity scenes have been a popular Advent and Christmas decoration for homes, parishes, and public places for hundreds of years. Saint Francis of Assisi is credited with creating the first nativity scene in 1223. He recreated the scene of Christ's birth in a special service and Mass he held inside of a cave, inviting both his fellow friars and the townspeople to join in the celebration. 

XI. Wooden Toboggan – McCord Museum

© McCord Museum
The toboggan was a common means of hauling small loads or people over snow historically among subarctic Aboriginal groups. The word “toboggan” likely originates from the word for sled by the Mi’kmaq (tobâkun) and/or Abenaki (ubãbãgan). Tobogganing became a popular winter sport in French Canada in the late 1800s.

XII. “White Christmas” Sheet Music – The National Museum of American History

© Smithsonian Institution
“White Christmas” is an Irving Berlin song reminiscing about an old-fashioned Christmas setting. Originally written for the 1942 musical film Holiday Inn, the song was made famous by the 1954 holiday classic White Christmas. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the version sung by Bing Crosby is the best-selling single of all time.

What collections inspire holiday celebrations or the winter season for you? Please leave your comments below.  Happy Holidays!

1 comment:

  1. Love the festive topic choice! Some neat objects you've selected!