Happy New Year! I’m starting to take down some of my Christmas décor today. I put up a new calendar, hanged some pictures in place of poinsettia plates, and put away the Christmas card tree.
One group of holiday items I won’t be packing right away are my vintage wax candle figures. These are the candles that your grandmother never lit. After being carefully unwrapped, they were set on hall tables and under trees on tabletops. Sometimes they were used as centerpieces or were grouped on shelves.
These wax holiday decorations were purchased at dime and variety stores for decades. I remember seeing them in the 1960s at our local Ben Franklin. They were lined up on metal shelves–bright red and green trees with glitter on their branches, tiny choir boys with rosebud mouths, small spotted fawns, snowmen (and women), and Santas of all sizes.
I have been picking up Christmas wax for a number of years now, a few pieces here and there. As the Greatest Generation simplify their households for one reason or another, these paraffin Christmas decorations pop up more frequently. Late baby boomers, like myself are drawn to these items because they remind us of good times in our childhood–holiday trips to Grandma and pa’s house, new toys, and the smell of turkey roasting.
My collection of Gurley candles tripled this year when I picked up an entire tin containing 36 wax pieces for $20 at the last garage sale of the year. They range from the late 1930s to the 1960s. Maybe I shouldn’t have spent the money on something so frivolous–then again, maybe I should just give up enjoying life! (Not a chance of THAT anytime soon!) For less than a buck a piece, I couldn’t pass them up.
Some of those 36 wax figures were in bad shape, and others weren’t to my taste. I ended up giving some away to people who remembered having particular pieces from their childhood, and others I donated to St. Vincent de Paul so they could profit from them.
I’m not much of a Santa fan, but I couldn’t resist these two. My Mom used to warn us kids when we were bickering during the lead up to Christmas that we’d better be good because she’d just seen Santa! She would point to the ceiling in the
corner of the room or around behind a door and say, “I just saw him! He was watching you! You’d better behave!” Years later, my brother made a painted paper mache Santa as a gift for my mother. She would hide it around the house–in the cabinet of the Regulator wall clock or on top of the corner china cabinet, his small face peeking from some odd corner where you least expected him!
When I do store these little treasures away until next year, I am going to be sure to store them in a plastic container in a cool dark part of my basement storage area. I’ll be watching for more of these little jems next garage sale season! Begonia