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What is a crotal bell?

a Swiss cow bell
a Christmas bell
a sleigh bell
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Christmas Collectibles
by Lissa and Dick Smith

A fact-filled guide to Christmas collectibles offers information on and full-color photographs of Yuletide items from the Victorian era to the present.

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Origins of Christmas

The celebration of Christmas as we know it today stems from the traditions of several different cultures.

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Print Santa Doll

AN-TIQUE (an-teek) An object having special value because of its age, especially a domestic item, piece of furniture or decorative arts object esteemed for its artistry, beauty, mechanical ingenuity, or period of origin.

The Antiques Almanac, a five-edition-per-year online magazine for beginning and intermediate antiques collectors and those just interested in finding out about old things, is your first stop on the Web in your search for information about antiques and collectibles. Here, you’ll find articles on a variety of American and international antiques, including furniture, china, glass, silver, and other decorative arts from the Colonial, Empire, Victorian, Art Nouveau, and Art Deco Periods, plus vintage and modern collectibles, interesting historical facts, antique tips, and recommendations for caring for your collections. Come back often to see what's new. And be sure to tell your friends about us.

This edition's theme:
"Holiday's Best"
Volume 16 No. 5

This edition features the best Holiday articles from The Antiques Almanac.


Away We Go Awassailing
Wassailing is a very ancient custom that’s rarely done today. The custom predates the Battle of Hastings in England. However, historians believe its origins date to Ancient Rome, where people would make sacrifices to the Pomona, the Roman Goddess of Fruits. The word wassail originates from the Anglo-Saxon waes-hael, meaning “to your health.”

                      More Antiques Articles


Glass Ornaments of Christmases Past
When people look back over their lives, they often find that the memories and emotions of Christmas rise above all the other emotions in both vividness and intensity. Child-like emotions of excitement and anticipation infect even adults during this time of year. Antique Christmas ornaments can do more than anything to rekindle these emotions.

                           More Collectibles Articles

Are Christmas Cards a Dying Breed
Times change. It used to be that people sent loads of Christmas cards. Some sent 100 or more. But with the rising cost of postage and less time people have to sit down and write out greeting cards, it’s no wonder that fewer people are sending them today.

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Little World Under the Christmas Tree
Christmas villages have been in existence for centuries. But cardboard Christmas houses have only been around 130 years or so. And cardboard Christmas houses made to glow from electric light bulbs have only been around since about 1928, when electric light strands, became affordable.

More Antique Spotlights


Ring Those Christmas Bells
Silver bells, jingle bells, sleigh bells, church bells—all help to bring cheer and merriment to holiday celebrations today. But the tradition of ringing bells at the onslaught of winter goes back centuries when people rang bells to ward off evil spirits who they thought would bring bad fortune and disease during the winter months.
More Collecting Articles


Caring for Antique Dolls
Thoughts of the little girls who treasured dolls in years gone by, or of colonial ladies eagerly noting details from a new French fashion doll surround doll collections with sentiment. And often that sentiment gets in the way of common sense when it comes to caring for the dolls in a collection.
                  More Caring for Collections


Check out these related articles from past Holiday Editions of The Antiques Almanac that may also be of interest:

A Look at the Wintry World Inside
And They Brought Forth Gifts
And the Stockings Were Hung by the Chimney with Care
Celebrating an Old-Fashioned Christmas
Christmas on the Homefront
Christmas in Colonial Williamsburg
Creativity Reigns in Mexican Nacimientos
Gingerbread Fantasies
Nutcrackers—A Christmas Tradition
Pinning Hopes on Goodwill
Sweet Sweet Santas
The Origin of Christmas
The Origin of the Holiday Feast


An Editorial on Antiques

What's the Deal with Brown Furniture?

Bob discusses the current negativity towards "brown furniture."

Learn even more about antiques with the oldest antiques site in England.
2023 Holiday Edition
Holiday's Best"
is here

Go through the menu and read all the
New! articles.

The Jewels of Bryn Athyn
by Bob Brooke

Set in the northern suburbs bordering the City of Philadelphia lies Bryn Athyn, a quiet Pennsylvania town and home to a magnificent Gothic-style cathedral. Within its confines are jewels the likes of which haven’t been seen since the Middle Ages—its stained glass windows.
                                           Read more.

Twas the Night Before Christmas
by Bob Brooke

The universal appeal to both young and old alike of “A Visit from Saint Nicholas,” as Moore originally titled his poem, has made it an indelible part of the anticipation, mystery, mystique and memories that surround Santa Claus.
                                           Read more

Santa―All Dressed Up and Everywhere to Go

Most people are more familiar with a variety of Santa toys and decorations, including many made of plastic from the mid-20th century on. But the origins of Santa dolls go back a lot further.    
                                          Read more

How to Recognize and Refinish Antiques for Pleasure and Profit

Book: How to Recognizing and Refinishing Antiques for Pleasure and Profit

Have you ever bought an antique or collectible that was less than perfect and needed some TLC? Bob's book offers tips and step-by- step instructions for simple maintenance and restoration of common antiques.                 Read an Excerpt


Tin Batmobile Hits the Stratosphere

This red open-top Batmobile is a rare tintoy produced in 1966 by Yonezawa for the Japanese market. It recently sold for $150,000.

Fabergé  Vesta Case
Sells High

This Fabergé #jeweled gold-mounted #agate vesta case recently sold for more than 15 times its estimate at $118,747. Queen lead singer Freddie Mercury purchased it at #Sotheby’s in Switzerland and kept it with the marked-up auction catalogue close by.

Roman Shipwreck Yields Glassware

A team of French and Italian underwater archaeologists have recovered a selection of glassware and raw glass blocks from a Roman shipwreck between the Italian island of Capraia and the French island of Corsica.

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