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The best part of Christmas has nothing to do with presents – not the ones we give nor the ones we receive. We’re not suggesting Santa skip anyone this year, because that would be silly, especially after all those wonderful letters sent to the North Pole. What we are suggesting is that the best part of the holiday can’t be returned nor re-gifted.

We're talking about about our Christmas memories, the ones that remain as fresh as the season’s first snow. In that spirit, we offer a brightly wrapped package of memories of Christmases Past. After all, nostalgia is everyone’s favorite glass of good cheer.

Blue Santa postcard

Elvis wasn’t kidding. It’s going to be a blue Christmas without you. And even with you, thanks to this 1911 Blue Santa Postcard printed in Germany. This rare postcard, with Santa wearing a blue coat, sold for $140 at Matthew Bullock Auctioneers.

Evergleam aluminum Christmas tree

Nothing says kitschy Christmas fun like an Evergleam stainless aluminum, six-foot Christmas tree. The now-defunct Aluminum Specialty Company made the first metal tree in 1959 for around $25. By 1967, the aluminum beauties were no longer made. Out of fashion but not out of our hearts, aluminum trees are popular with mid-century modern enthusiasts. This Evergleam sold for $500.

Shiny Brite ornaments

Started by Max Eckardt in 1937, the Shiny Brite Company created the most popular Christmas tree ornaments in the U.S. throughout the ’40s and ’50s. The glass ornaments fell out of favor in the 1960s when plastic ornaments emerged, but nostalgia is a strong cocktail. Shiny Brites are again popular with collectors for their beauty and their awesomeness. Depending on type, expect to pay between $5-$10 for an ornament. This pair sold for $36. 

A Charlie Brown Christmas

Featuring the artwork of Bill Melendez (his limited-edition animation cel is shown here), the music of The Vince Guaraldi Trio, and the genius of Peanuts creator Charles M. Schulz, “A Charlie Brown Christmas” is a holiday classic from 1965 that stands the test of time. It provides a meditation on the meaning of Christmas, consumerism, happiness and friendship. Not bad for a 30-minute TV special.

How The Grinch Stole Christmas

The Grinch not only stole Christmas but – despite being as cuddly as a cactus and as charming as an eel – he took a piece of our heart as well. Released in 1957, first edition copies of How the Grinch Stole Christmas! by Dr. Seuss can sell for as much as $500.

Cabbage Patch Kid

Police were called into some stores prior to Christmas in 1983 to control crazed shoppers fighting over limited supplies of a toy. The cause of the commotion? Cabbage Patch Kids. Although retailing for $25, Cabbage Patch Kids sold for as high as $2,000 on the black market. Today, the doll holds sentimental value but not much else, selling for $10 to $30.

Holt-Howard Winking Santa

Many things make the holidays magical, but few produce a smile as quickly as the wonderfully nostalgic line of whimsical Christmas ware from Holt-Howard. Although no longer made, Holt-Howard remains highly collectible. The Winking Santa Punch Bowl Set is valued at around $250, and jolly well worth it.  

Ceramic Christmas tree

Back in the 1970s, tabletop ceramic Christmas trees were all the rage. About two-feet tall, they required no watering, had no needles to sweep up and hardly ever fell over. What’s not to love? The trees are now cool holiday kitsch and can sell for $100-$200. 

It's A Wonderful Life

Directed by Frank Capra and starring James Stewart and Donna Reed, It’s a Wonderful Life is seemingly everyone’s all-time holiday cup of good cheer. The 1946 movie about the travails of George Bailey and his guardian angel, Clarence Odbody, reminds us yearly that, despite all the challenges, it really is, well, a wonderful life. A movie poster one-sheet of the classic film can sell for as much as $20,000.

Tired Salesgirl on Christmas Eve

Norman Rockwell’s greatest gift may have been his ability to create art we can all relate to. undefinedThat certainly is the case with Tired Salesgirl on Christmas Eve, which appeared on the December 27, 1947, cover of The Saturday Evening Post. The illustration shows a bone-weary salesgirl five minutes after her store’s 5 p.m. closing. We’ve all been there one way or another during the holidays. Rockwell illustrated 323 covers of The Post. The original Rockwell painting sold for $4.3 million in 2018 at Sotheby’s.

You May Also Like:

The Sad But True Story of Rudolph

The History of Shiny Brite Ornaments

Mid-Century Modern Gift Ideas

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