COMPLIMENTARY COPY TM The Most Widely Read Collector's Newspaper In The East Published Weekly By Joel Sater Publications www.antiquesandauctionnews.net VOL. 44, NO. 52 FRIDAY DECEMBER 27, 2013 Home For The Holidays: A Baby Boomer’s Christmas “Oh, there’s no place like home for the holidays, ’Cause no matter how far away you roam, When you pine for the sunshine of a friendly gaze, For the holidays, you can’t beat home, sweet home!” “(There’s No Place Like) Home for the Holidays” Al Stillman & Robert Allen, 1954 By Donald-Brian Johnson he turkey’s in the oven. The ornament-bedecked tree is knee-deep (at least) in brightly-wrapped packages. Festive stockings, stuffed with Santa’s bounty, overflow the mantel, and cascade to the hearth. On the stereo, Bing croons a carol. Glowing candles and twinkling lights bathe the room in holiday sparkle. And, each and every table, shelf, and ledge is filled with seasonal décor items. Coy ceramic angels and jolly spaghettiware Santas jostle for elbowroom with heirloom Nativity sets and light-up plastic carolers. There are soap-stencils on the windows. Mistletoe lies in wait over every doorway. Is there any doubt about the holiday in question? Of course not: it’s Christmas! “I’ll Be Home For Christmas” Yes, it’s Christmas, as babyboomers like myself knew it in the 1950s and ‘60s, and Christmas as many still observe it today. Nostalgia never tugs more tightly than during the holiday season. It all begins just around T Thanksgivingtime, as we scrounge through basements and attics, closets and garages, in search of decorations stored oh-socarefully away last January. But memories are short, and the search seems endless. How on earth could we misplace a tree? (After all, it’s a tree!) And weren’t we going to put everything in one place last year? Or at least make a list? (Oh yes, we did make a list. But we packed it.) And there’s where we hid that last chocolate Easter egg no one could find. Hmmm. Not bad. As we unpack each box of cherished decorations, we also unpack a multitude of memories. The years melt away, as we unwrap and marvel over each “old friend.” There’s that Madonna with the broken halo. Remember when, in the excitement of opening a particularly longed-for present, a stray arm sent her flying from the coffee table? A little “Elmer’s” though, and she was “just as good as new” (or so Mom said). And, there’s the well-worn “Santa” hat. Dad always donned it when doling out presents, proclaiming the gift inscriptions with great gusto (“From Santa and the Missus”; “From Rudolph and the Elves”). The more anticipated the gift, the more drawn-out its presentation. Was that by chance? Probably not! All these memories, and many more like them, form your own, your very special and specific, holiday heritage. And Christmas is the time to celebrate that heritage. . .those uniquely-yours family traditions. Christmas is the time to remember. “The Merriest Christmas Ever!” After World War II, “decorating for the holidays” became big business. Dad took care of the “outside work,” braving the elements to string colored lights along the eaves-troughs, then hoisting an unwieldy plywood Santa up to the roof, there to be safely tethered against the chimney. Mom’s domain was indoors, and there were plenty of homemaking magazines eager to help her dazzle with “the best Christmas ever.” Most augmented their regular issues with holiday edition “specials,” trumpeted as “The Most Memorable Christmas Issue Ever Produced!” and “The Most Famous Christmas Issue Of All!” Here are just a few of the topics featured in the December 1955 American Home: “Start With What You Have at Christmas” “‘Expensive’ Decorations From the Dime Store!” “No Space Too Small for Christmas Spirit” “A Christmas Crèche Is a Beautiful Custom” “The Fireplace That Says ‘Won’t You Stay?’” “Look - A Shiny Red Tree!” “Verily, Merrily, Our Christmas Tables” “Christmas With a Country Flavor” “This Christmas Will Be Different!” After being worn to a Christmassy decorating frazzle, Mom could then move on to “A Child Is Born to Us”: the Nativity, captured in clay by Minnesota artist Jean Strange. $400-$500. American Home’s baking and doit-yourself projects. Among them: “Christmas Cookies with Your Own Hands;” “Make a Merry Mouse Doorman;” “Create a Ladyapple Wreath;” “Work Magic With Gold Paper;” and “Knit a Sock of Christmas Cheer.” Outside, up on the roof, Dad had an easier time of it. American Home only threw one decorating tip his way: “How Does Your Driveway Glow? Try Light-Reflective Lawn Decorations!” “Deck The Halls” Although the magazine hints were multitudinous, the basic Milk glass hobnail epergne, decked out with a wreath ring and plastic candy canes. 10-by-11 inches, $200$250. elements of holiday décor varied little over the years. Among the baby-boomer perennials: The Tree. According to legend, the Christmas tree was a Martin Luther brainstorm. Sparkling stars, seen through the limbs of a forest fir, prompted Luther to place candles on the branches of a tree at his own home, recapturing the starry effect. For baby-boomers, three treetypes of the 1950s and ‘60s elicit warm feelings: • Traditional Towering Green. Limbs laden with tinsel, dripping (Continued on page 2) Gurley candle carolers, 6 inches tall. $10-$15/pr. “Noel” quartet. Japan, tallest piece 4-1/4 inches high, $40-$50/set. Plastic snowman light (7-1/2 inches Ornament-bedecked glass tree, Six-piece ceramic caroler set, marked high, $15-$20), and ceramic snowwatched over by a snowman. 8-1/2 “Briggs-Holland Mold.” Tallest sec- men salt-and-peppers (Japan, 3 What might have been inside those brightly wrapped packages: a selection inches high, $50-$75. inches high, $10-$15/pr). of must-haves from the Toy Guidance Council catalog, 1950. tion, 10 inches high. $75-$100.