If you’re lucky, or maybe not, you’ve encountered somebody at a New Year’s Eve party dressed like “Baby New Year.”
Typically, you find it’s an adult male who’s donned an over-sized diaper and wearing a sash emblazoned with the year to come. This can make for lots of good fun for those who have already had a few libations (Moscow mule anybody?!). But did you ever think about why a baby is associated with the coming of a new year?
As it turns out, the association of a baby and a new calendar year goes way, way back. It can be traced to around 600 B.C. when the Greeks chose to use a baby to symbolize rebirth.
Through the years, images of Baby New Year have been used across posters, cards, invitations, books, calendars, advertising, and the like.
But one publication chose to feature Baby New Year in a very unique way.
The Saturday Evening Post, most commonly associated with covers featuring beautiful PG-rated illustrations by Norman Rockwell, placed very beautiful and yet somewhat thought-provoking images on its first cover of the year from 1907 until 1943. These covers featured the art of J.C. Leyendecker, predecessor and mentor to Rockwell, who was considered to be one of the preeminent American illustrators of the early 20th century.
The first four covers by Leyendecker were general in theme but in 1910, this changed. From then on, each cover featured Baby New Year in a way that was reflective of the mood of the United States at the time. For example, the 1912 Saturday Evening Post cover features Baby New Year holding a sign that states “Votes for Women” as a way of depicting the nation’s interest in the women’s suffrage movement.
In 1934, Baby New Year is seen looking like a business man, wearing a bowler while closely watching a stock ticker tape - hopefully to see a positive upswing as a result from the recently approved National Recovery Act which was designed to regulate industry for fair wages and control prices in an effort to stimulate economic recovery.
Most provocative though are the four covers released in the 1940s. Though the United States was at peace when the decade began, there was concern over tensions abroad and a growing concern about the possibility of U.S involvement.
Donned in military gear and surrounded by symbols of “the enemies,” Baby New Year was portrayed in a way that was not as gentle as it once was depicted. Forthright references to the Axis powers of Germany, Japan, and Italy were included and Baby New Year was used to convey deep, dark, and fearful messages.
While the artistry Leyendecker's covers is beautiful, it's amazing that Baby New Year, a character that was once simply a sweet iconic figure with a cherubic face, symbolic of hope and rebirth, would change over the years to become a messenger of something as tough and distasteful as a world war.
Original article on ThatVintageSite.com
From 1883 when the Temple Court Building and Annex was built, a 9-story building that was the third ever skyscraper in New York City, to the 2014 completion of One World Trade Center at 104 floors, elevators have been bringing people to and from high-rise offices, restaurants, apartments, and observation decks. In fact, commercial goods have been moved up and down floors of factories, warehouses, and the like in NYC for well over a century.
Most early elevators were more simple in their engineering, operation, and maintenance than those created according to today’s standards. To remain current and to ensure safety for passengers, today’s elevators may need to be replaced or require elevator modernization.
Signs that Elevator Modernization May Be Needed
Various things can occur to indicate that it’s time to consider modernizing existing elevators. These can include:
Common Modernizations to Expect
Power units, controllers, braking and traction components, signal equipment, and door equipment are all items that may need to be addressed to modernize an existing elevator. Additionally, the cab enclosure may need to be addressed as it, plus the signaling on the inside and outside, should be ADA compliant.
Who Handles Elevator Modernization?
When upgrading and modernizing an elevator, this service should not be trusted to just anyone. Elevator Consulting companies, have the full suite of services needed to do any elevator modernization project properly. A good option for an elevator owner who needs to upgrade is to look for an elevator consulting firm that can cover everything from the machine room to the pit, including the hoistway, hoistway equipment, overhead, and the elevator cab.
Elevator consultants typically work with clients who own, or manage buildings that have elevators, lifts, moving walkways, and escalators. The consultants work with the client to provide evaluation and design of these forms of vertical transportation. When existing equipment is involved, these consultants can evaluate and provide solutions for existing systems that can help the building owner utilize the latest techniques and technologies to optimize their existing structure. Elevator Consultants remain independent of elevator mechanic companies allowing clients to have confidence that the work will be done properly and on budget.
Vertical Systems Analysis (VSA)
Vertical Systems Analysis (VSA) is a consulting and engineering firm whose services include surveying, design engineering, feasibility studies, test witnessing, traffic analysis, permit expediting. VSA completes elevator modernizations in New York City, Philadelphia, Chicago, and Miami. Their elevator modernization services begin with a comprehensive visual examination. VSA then prepares specifications, meets with the client to discuss scope of work, and finalizes a list of bidders. They then manage drawing approvals, fixture/cab selections, and oversee construction through the completion of punchlists.
VSA is known as a firm that will lead and manage an elevator modernization project in-house from initial consultation through completion. This will help ensure that any elevator modernization project they are involved with is done properly to spec every time.
Currently live on VSAConsulting.com
If you were a kid in the 60s or 70s, there’s a really good chance that your mom was leaving the house at least once a week to go to a ceramics class. Ceramics was really popular back then and there were little shops set up where women went to get away from the house and kids, get creative, and bring home something decorative for the house. Maybe there was even a little wine involved.
These shops offered up plain white porcelain molded figures to pick from and then mom would spend her evenings painting it however she wanted. Based on some of the color combos and painting tactics I’ve seen on these pieces in thrift stores, I think there’s even more fuel for the argument that wine may have been involved! Once the painting was done, the item was fired and it was on its way home to a new place of honor on the dining room table, mantle, or wherever else she felt it would look good.
We had quite the assortment of hand-painted ceramic goods in our home. There was the huge cornucopia (or horn-o-plenty, the alternative name that always seemed to put my brother into fits of giggles when it was said aloud) that was on display at our Thanksgiving table every year.
A tower of fruit and some other weird stuff in a footed urn turn up in our living room.
There was a really glossy red and black speckled owl whose head could be removed (sorry - I can't seem to find a picture quite like ours). My dad stored his pennies in that thing and would pay me one penny for every two bags of garbage I took out to the trash can. I guess child labor laws were looser then. We also had the big cabbage soup tureen with a dish like a giant leaf under it.
There were tons of these things. Even a porcelain Christmas tree that had plastic lights that actually lit up when it was plugged in. I loved that thing but at some point, my mom chucked it in the trash. She went through this crazy phase in the early 80s where she wanted nothing. She used to actually say "I want to live like Ghandi. I want to have nothing and be able to dust without lifting anything up." Strange comment but good advice, I always thought.
Retro Christmas and Ceramic Trees
About ten years ago when I started picking up retro Christmas decorations, I’d see those trees all the time in thrift stores. I resisted getting any for many years though I’m not sure why. Eventually, I ended up forking over maybe all of three dollars and got quite a nice ceramic tree. Mine was green with the colored lights and had some white paint on the tips of the boughs that was meant to represent snow. Kind of the ceramic version of a flocked Christmas tree.
Popularity in ceramic figures hasn’t been there for the most part from what I can tell. However, in case you’ve missed the posts all over the place in the past few days, these things are suddenly highly sought after now. Brand new ones are being made by several manufacturers and sold in stores and online for roughly $50 or less. But the vintage ones, the ones truly dating back to being “homemade” in that they are hand-painted and often “signed” on the bottom by somebody’s mom – WOW!
I’ve seen prices in the hundreds for just one. It’s funny how for so many years my friends have turned up their noses at my love of mid-century kitsch stuff and now the world is taking notice - driving up the prices for everybody else. For those of us who got this type of design long before it was cool, well, we’re grinning from ear to ear right about now.
If the ceramic Christmas trees see a lot of success in demand, then maybe, just maybe the cornucopia will be going for big bucks by next year’s Thanksgiving. Better run out and get one now!
Posted on ThatVintageSite.com
Believe it or not, one of the hottest locations to travel is Medellin, Colombia which has many rental apartments. Much has been done to improve all aspects of life in the area and it was voted the “most innovative city of 2012” in a competition put together by the Urban Land Institute, Citi Financial Group, and Wall Street Journal Magazine.
This amazing transformation has resulted in an increase of vacationers, an influx of foreigners coming to work at newly developed orrelocated companies (tech in particular), and retirees – all seeking a locationthat is safe, affordable, and exploding with amenities of all sorts.
Finding Your New Residence
Medellin has a wide array of housing options across several neighborhoods and it’s important to get to know each as you explore your choices.
The cheapest neighborhoods in the Medellin area are Bello, Itagüí, La América, La Candelaria and La Estrella. The five most popular neighborhoods in Medellin include Belén, Envigado, El Poblado, Laureles-Estadio, and Sabaneta.
Vacationers on a short-term visit may be best suited to try out Medellin’s hostels, hotels, AirBnB options, or even some of the short-term furnished apartments that are available in any of the neighborhoods.
For people who want or need to stay longer (typically at least a month or more), it is suggested that a rental apartment may be a better option. There are many types to choose from and the amenities can range widely. Some apartments come furnished but what they provide needs to be checked out fully before committing. Locations can make a difference as to safety, transportation options, and more. Also, potential renters need to factor in security deposits, parking space fees, cleaning fees, and the like.
In some of the higher-end neighborhoods, like El Poblado, renters have the opportunity to choose a luxury rental apartment.
Luxury Living in Medellin Apartments
Sometimes the comfort of home is what you want while you’re away. Or maybe you just want the opportunity to spoil yourself for a while. Either way, luxury apartment living in Medellin is something that you should consider.
Take this luxury apartment in Medellin for example: 701 Astorga Duplex. This high-end and fully-furnished rental apartment, located in the ultra-desirable El Poblado area, provides its residents with the following amenities, not typically included in non-luxury apartments:
Premium luxury apartments, where the cost averages between $2,000 to $4,000 per month depending on location, can sometimes be a better deal for a long-term stay when the additional (and often overlooked) costs that are found in non-luxury apartments are added in. To see more luxury apartment options in the Medellin area, check out GoToMedellin.com
Published on GoToMedellin.com
When looking to travel or live in another country, considerations for a senior's destination include the safety of an area, healthcare availability, easy access to transportation, and an abundance of entertainment.
Recently, Medellin, Colombia has been a location frequently recommended to seniors and others looking for someplace different. But, with its shaky past as a high-crime drug capital, one has to ask why.
As it turns out, the past 20 years have brought about a remarkable change for Medellin and the surrounding area. Great efforts have been made to transform the area, shed the bad reputation, and stimulate growth of all types. These changes have led to an upsurge of business development plus improvements in infrastructure, technology, healthcare, social amenities and more.
Of particular interest to foreigners is El Poblado, an upscale neighborhood located at the eastern side of the Aburra Valley and in close proximity to El Centro, Medellin’s city center. This area is best described as being more developed than others, making it more appealing to boomers while staying in the region. According to Medellin Living, “It is essentially a wealthy suburb that offers Medellin’s elite a western lifestyle with all the creature comforts money can buy.”
Safety measures have been stepped up in El Poblado. The neighborhood has an increased police presence, allowing visitors and residents added comfort and security when going about their activities, both day and night.
There are several medical clinics located right in El Poblado providing services from general medical care right on up to plastic surgery and, according to International Living and the World Health Organization (WHO), Hospital Pablo Tobón Uribe in nearby Medellin is higher ranked than comparable facilities in the United States and Canada.
Getting around Medellin and El Poblado is easy for seniors with transportation options that include access to taxis, bus service, the metro, and even Uber.
As the most well-to-do neighborhood of Medellin, El Poblado’s tree-lined streets are dotted with modern high-rise buildings offering mostly luxury apartments. High-end shopping can be found in several malls and many small boutiques. Restaurants and bars are plentiful and the nearby Zona Rosa features several nightclubs with a hip and vibrant nighttime scene.
For seniors interested in adventurous activities in and around the area there is much to consider. There are numerous parks with hiking paths, streams, and even ocean views to entice those who want to explore nature. Laguna de Guatape, provided by Tours Guatape, is a day trip takes participants up 650 steep steps up a rock to provide spectacular views of the coast and its surrounds.
Not to be missed is the chance to see an Atlético Nacional football (soccer to Americans) game – considered an electrifying experience even for those who don’t like the sport of soccer.
Other more adventurous activities in the area include horseback riding, parasailing, a cable car excursion, ziplining – the list goes on and on.
The El Poblado and the city of Medellin have each made a strong comeback and travel to the area should be high on anyone’s bucket list of places that provide a safe, comfortable travel experience with an abundance of things to do for all involved.
Original article on GoToMedellin.com
When people think about the bodily harm that results from drug abuse, they most often consider things like damage to the brain, lungs, heart or stomach. What is less known is the serious harm that drugs and substances cause to a person’s teeth and gums.
While almost any drug, legal or illegal, can affect a person’s system and cause harm to their teeth and gums the greatest damage comes from the use of common street drugs: methamphetamine (meth), heroin, marijuana and cocaine.
What Drug Use Does to the Teeth and Gums
Using of drugs frequently causes dry mouth – a serious lack of saliva production. Saliva is a key protector that wards off bacteria overpopulation. Without enough saliva, dry mouth irritates the soft tissue in the mouth and the gums. Once the gums are inflamed, they can recede from the tooth wall. This then allows bacteria to enter the gaps, resulting in infections and tooth decay. For people who abuse substances, poor oral hygiene is common due to multiple factors -an inability to afford proper oral care, a lack of concern for oral health, or a lack of nutritious foods. Stimulant drugs, such as ecstasy, meth, cocaine or heroin, cause the individual to clench or grind their teeth. This can result in jaw pain and the weakening of teeth -sometimes to the point that they end up breaking off. People who smoke in addition to using drugs are also at risk for infection and tooth decay since smoking negatively affects any part of the mouth.
Harm to Teeth Based on Specific Drugs
In addition to the general harm associated with substance abuse and poor oral health, each different street drug creates additional adverse health outcomes, resulting in rotten, discolored, broken, missing teeth and gum disease.
Methamphetamine is very acidic. Use can lead to upset stomach due to the drug’s acidity -causing reflux and vomiting. Excessive vomiting coats the teeth with acid, leading to further corrosion of the enamel and allowing more decay to set in. Additionally, meth sometimes makes people crave soda and sweets, another common element in tooth decay.
Use of heroin causes damage to the teeth that are nearly the same as those seen with meth use. Also, the drug’s pain-killing property can cause an individual to ignore symptoms of damaged teeth and gums, leading to further problems.
Smoking marijuana can cause mouth cancer. Additionally, some people develop a condition called “cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome.” This condition leads to nausea and vomiting that can wear away the enamel of the teeth, leading to tooth decay.
When snorted, use of cocaine damages the tissue that separates the roof of the mouth from the nasal cavity. Over time, this can cause a hole to form, making it hard for the individual to eat or speak. Also, cocaine is acidic. If it is smoked (as with crack) or if the powder is placed in the mouth, the teeth are coated with the acid and their protective enamel breaks down. For some people, rubbing cocaine on the gums produces mouth sores.
When you are looking to find jobs that allow you to work from home but don’t have the necessary equipment, don’t despair. There are plenty of companies that will provide you with the various types of equipment that you will need to get the job done. The problem though is – who does this?
A search on the internet will give you tons of results, almost too many to sort through. Lists of work-from-home jobs have been compiled and, as you pore through these, you start to see the same sources for work being listed over and over again. This could be good, in that the compiled lists will give you an idea of the types of jobs that can be done remotely. However, the downfall is that you and every other person out there that wants to work from home and needs help outfitting their home office is looking at the same lists – meaning you have tons, and tons of competition. So, what do you do?
For starters, it’s best to know what kind of work you like and are willing to do from home. Without narrowing that down, you can spend countless hours searching, reading through various sources that list a job as a work from home opportunity that really isn’t, or not even finding the actual jobs that are listed. Instead, you should first get to know the basic categories of remote work opportunities. Stay at home jobs most often fall under some of the following types of work:
Once you’ve researched these job areas and decided which interests you, it’s time to start your search. You can do this two ways – either search on the major job posting sites or do a lookup for the top companies that have the type of job you want.
Searching on the Major Job Posting Sites
If you start by using large job posting sites such as Indeed, SimplyHired, Glassdoor, or FlexJobs, you will need to structure your search to narrow down the results. Take for example, Indeed.com. Now known as the biggest source for nearly all jobs, the site can be overwhelming if you just search for “work from home.” You’ll have to pore through listing after listing until you come up with a company that offers the equipment needed for the work. However, refine that search! Try “work from home equipment provided” and you’ll see the number of results is greatly reduced. From there, hit Ctrl-F and enter “equipment” and see which listings have that word showing up. Your search just got a whole lot easier.
By doing exactly this daily, you will find newly posted work from home positions to choose from that will provide you with what you need. The best part is that while they may be jobs for the same type of work as seen on so many of the list sites, these listings are the most current as they are updated continually.
Here’s a sampling:
Telehealth/Work from Home Registered Nurse for Wellbox
According to the listing, you would be working from home providing telephonic encounters centered around chronic care management to patients. Further, the company listing says the job operates from the worker’s home and uses standard office equipment like computers and headsets. They provide all the equipment and the employee only needs to provide a high-speed internet connection.
Virtual Travel Consultant with American Express
If you are a well-seasoned traveler or somebody who was once an agent in a brick-and-mortar travel business, then this job may be right up your alley. With the only provision being that you live in an area that falls within the west region of the United States (Pacific, Mountain or Hawaii–Aleutian time zone), everything is outfitted for you. Per this job posting, consultants will be working for the American Express call center to help premium card members with all things travel related. You provide the space, and American Express will install both business class high-speed internet and a landline phone which is to be used exclusively for business purposes. This job opens up frequently in other time zones so keep an eye on their job postings if you live outside of this specific area.
Payment Solutions Associate for Alliance Data
Alliance is looking to fill positions for collections account representatives who can work from a home-based office. As a worker with Alliance, you will be handling calls, both inbound and outbound, aimed at negotiating settlements or securing payment arrangements on past due credit card accounts. To facilitate this work, Alliance Data states that they will provide all business equipment needed for the job, the exception being that the work-at-home employee needs to self-provide internet access.
Bilingual Member Service Representative with BroadPath Healthcare Solutions
If you have the ability to speak and read both Spanish and English, this fluency can land you a remote work position with BroadPath. This job also requires current working knowledge of Medicaid and/or Medicare health plans as the employee will be dealing with accounts related to these. BroadPath’s job listing states that work-from-home talent is typically hired during seasonal “surges” but getting your foot in the door often leads to a long-term position with the company. They will provide you with all equipment needed except for an internet connection. BroadPath Healthcare Solutions has several other work at home job categories (not all are bilingual) so be sure to check out their list of current positions.
AppleCare College Program Advisor for Apple
Apple has many work-from-home opportunities with this being just one of them. As an AppleCare At Home Advisor, it would be your job to work as a customer care representative using your knowledge and love of Apple technology and products to field questions from Apple customers. What’s unique about this particular position is that it is open only to students who are currently enrolled at a state-funded university (i.e.: Arizona State, Penn State, University of Alabama) that is designated as a partner in this program. So, if you are a student, love Apple products, and are looking to make some extra money to help with your educational costs, this might be a great fit. Apple only requires that you have a high-speed internet connection, as they will provide you with an iMac and a headset for the work you will be doing.
Work-From-Home Jobs Known for Providing Equipment
There are a few work-from-home jobs known for providing a computer, headset or other equipment necessary to complete the job remotely. I’ve already mentioned Apple and American Express. Here are a few more:
ABC Financial – this company offers remote customer service positions in addition to administration, account management and more. They not only provide all equipment and hardware needed to their at-home customer service reps, benefits are also available to full-time employees.
A Place for Mom – this company hires at-home Senior Advisors. These are usually full-time positions paying a base rate plus uncapped bonuses. Per the latest job listing, “SLAs are provided with a laptop fully loaded with Microsoft Office, Outlook, access to our CRM and VOIP Phone system through VPN to enable connection to the Company.” A bachelor’s degree and three years sales experience is preferred.
Buffer – this is a company that loves their remote workforce. Not only will you be supplied with a laptop to do your work, you will also enjoy perks such as unlimited time off, learning stipend, health insurance, “working smarter” stipend that can be used to create your ideal workspace, stock options, retreats and more. (Heck yeah!)
Care.com – this is a well-known company known for being “flex-friendly.” Past openings have included everything from accounting and art to editing and member care specialist. Their recent job opening for a Backup Care Specialist stated a laptop was provided. Positions may differ.
Enterprise – this company almost always has work-at-home positions available though they are usually location-specific. These are customer service and sales positions. You provide the computer, internet and USB headset. They provide a VOIP headset and key fob.
World Travel Holdings – World Travel Holdings provides you a computer, monitor, keyboard, mouse, phone and headset upfront and then deducts the cost ($500 refundable deposit) from your first 5 paychecks. You do need a landline for this position. As you may have suspected, this is a travel-related gig. As an employee, you will also have access to benefits, paid time off and travel discounts.
Zapier – this company is 100% remote. Their workforce resides in over 17 countries. Like Buffer, this is another one that strives to make their employees happy. Not only are you provided with computer and software setup, but also unlimited vacation, healthcare, retirement, profit sharing and more. For those of you looking for employee positions, these are definitely two companies to try to get into if you have the experience and skills.
Original blog post on TheWorkAtHomeWife.com
So maybe like me, you don’t intend to move or you can’t afford one of those great homes you see for sale all as you scroll through one of your Facebook groups dedicated to all things mid-century. I long to be able to revamp and outfit a whole home with lots of kitschy things that I see, but unfortunately, I don’t expect that to happen anytime soon. Well, there is an alternative. “What is it,” you say?
Get a dollhouse. That’s right – a doll house. In more recent years, the trend of interest in dollhouses has grown as well as a change of design – towards traditional mid-century styles.
Once dominated by Victorian designs, new dollhouses reflect the minimalistic and clean lines that define many homes of the mid 20th century. For people interested in this style who may never actually work as an architect or interior designer, crafting a home and the entirety of its contents in miniature can often fulfill a long-standing dream.
One thing to know though is that furnishing a dollhouse can be as expensive as a real home, or maybe even more so in some cases. According to an article published in SFGate, “PRD Miniatures, for example, can cost anywhere from $35 (a tiny cowhide rug) to $350 (a kitchen unit with color-changing LED backsplash).” Also noted was “a classic Barcelona chair, shrunk to 1:6 scale, is $430.”
There are tons of sites to let you gawk at and admire the creative works of others. For example, take Modern Mini Houses, a site with some truly remarkable miniature houses, all designed and outfitted precisely according to what appears to be strict mid-century guidelines by Megan Hornbecker, a self-proclaimed “minimalist” who has been chronicling her work with miniatures since 2007.
For a more kitsch and less expensive way of furnishing a mid-century dollhouse, I’m happy to say there is an alternative. Remember Barbie? Well, she had a “Dream House” and, while any version of that can in no way compare to those coveted by dollhouse enthusiasts, they can provide a suitable and fun alternative.
Ebay is the place to start looking. There are often listings for the Dream House which was basically a room or two made from cardboard with furnishings made from cardboard as well.
I particularly like this one:
Even though the furniture and everything else is made from cardboard, like the description says, this thing is “Swell!”
I even got a kick out of the perma-image on the TV set.
So, yes, this is not really as fulfilling as working on the more expensive, scaled to size dollhouses. But I did remember something as I was writing this.
When I was a kid, I had a couple of Barbie dolls and I never played with them like most girls. I was interested in their home design, not the clothes.
My parents didn’t buy us many toys so I had to make things for myself. I used to take boxes and paint the insides with house paint, then I would cut out windows and doorways, then attached the boxes to each other to make my own house.
I then crafted all of the items that I needed to outfit any particular room that I was making. I used shoe boxes for beds that I cut down to size and then re-taped. I sewed my own bedspreads and curtains. I took yarn that I had and knitted or crocheted rugs. I made appliances out of things like Band-aid tins and I remember using a small, clear tackle case as shelving in the kitchen.
Back then we used to shop at Grants and would buy these plastic sleeves that held really small trinkets – like the prizes in the round plastic cases that you got out of a gumball machine. Enclosed in those were things like tiny plastic irons, cups, plates, utensils, dogs, shoes, mock food products, and more – all placed in the house I built.
Needless to say, while I’d love to be able to do a full-scale, money-is-no-object mid-century dollhouse, as I recollect, I had tons of fun creating my version when I was a kid on a budget.
Original blog post on ThatVintageSite.com
I had the goods. Lots and lots of them. I started collecting retro Christmas decorations years before the recent trend towards mid-century decor was a trend. I'm weird like that. I get on a kick about a good ten years before everybody else. So, starting sometime back in the last decade, I started hounding thrift stores, yard sales, and EBay, looking for weird and cute vintage goods to put out at Christmas time. This is one of the first things that got my attention - a really kitschy plastic and flock fireplace of sorts with the word Noel emblazoned above Santa's head, The materials, textures, and odd-sizing of the Santa, deer, lightpost, and the rest just made me delighted for some weird reason!
Fortunately for me the prices were beyond reasonable since nobody else really had an interest in this stuff. It seemed like lots of stuff dating from the 40s through the 70s was showing up en masse. Likely a bunch of people a generation or two older than me were dying off and their kids who were cleaning out their homes just saw these items as pure crap - excuse my French.
I was able to add to my collection quickly during the first couple of years. Things like glass ornaments, figurines, toys, and even old Christmas cards were up for grabs and came home with me.
In particular though, I sought old light strands and the old bulbs that went with those. To me, nothing is more soothing than the warm, fuzzy glow those lights cast off. Especially when you crawled under the tree and looked straight up into it - one of my favorite things to do each year.
Finding those lights was tough. They weren't being reproduced yet and getting originals that still worked or weren't jammed into a light socket was a challenge. But I pursued. Sometimes I'd find just a couple scattered in with a bunch of other things. Sometimes I'd find several boxes. But most times, they were attached to strings that wouldn't light up when plugged in. Even so, I'd buy the whole thing for a buck or two on the off chance that the bulbs still worked.
One of the interesting things I noticed was that there were differences in the colors of the bulbs based on the years they were made. Older bulbs are easy to identify - they have a rounder or squared tip and the colors are more gentle in nature. These are also better coated so they produce a different kind of glow than newer ones.
In this photo you can see differences in the blue bulbs. Those that are lighter have the more rounded end as well as being lighter in color to begin with. Those are the older bulbs. Also, the yellow ones are old, so much so that original vintage Christmas bulbs of this color are really hard to come by. Even white ones are different. Again, the coating is partly to play as it creates a much warmer light than today's mini-bulbs.
In the end, I acquired plenty of working bulbs and used the original strings until brand new versions started showing up in stores. I figured these were safer.
I also set out to find things like wire brush wreaths, old tree-toppers angels, plastic flower or bells woven into garland, and handmade decorations. I really loved those since I recall making some of the same things when I was a kid and I know and appreciate the effort put into their creation.
By the year 2014 I had amassed a huge collection. Box after box of items were jammed into a section of my basement. That year I put these items on display around the house, but the best part was in the old Billy bookcases from Ikea that I had.
These were 6.5 feet tall and had glass doors running the entire height. In essence, each shelf became its own shadowbox. I strung lights through each shelf then added items from the collection. It was amazing! I had friend and neighbors come over just to check out the display.
Here are some shots of each shelf - not well photographed, but you can get the idea of how they looked well enough.
Jump ahead to the very next year - one that I had very much looked forward to with new ways to showcase my vintage Christmas collection. In October, I split with my spouse (that was actually a good thing) and in doing so, it meant I was going to need to move out of my home - one that had 20+ years of accumulated stuff, including my extensive Christmas retro goods.
Timing being as it was, I realized that I could sell it, but I had to move quickly since as they say "the season is upon us." Ideally, I wish I had time to list the items on Ebay so I could get a better price on them (values had skyrocketed on many things by then) but that wasn't realistic. So, out went the ads on Facebook and in came the replies - like buzzards on fresh roadkill.
I managed to liquidate nearly the entire collection in just three days. It was crazy, and gut wrenching to see the items I'd worked too hard to gather getting dispersed like that. But, as much as I wish I still had these things, I know somebody else is enjoying them, and that in some small way I've helped to keep the spirit of kooky old Christmas decorations alive.
I'm April Bailey, a freelance writer and editor for hire who has been writing about various topics for many years. Most of my early print work was destroyed in a major house fire. Luckily, I was able to pull some copies from an old PC and have posted them here. Other items on this blog reflect my current articles and blog posts written for online publications and copied here so I never lose my work again!