Tuesday, December 22, 2009

For the love of...boxes

I've mentioned my affection for vintage Christmas packaging boxes a few times on this blog, but am finally ready to share some photos with you! One of my favorite items is Christmas "Snow" or, Mica Flakes.  The box graphics are wonderful and often you can find the vintage boxes still full of the "snow" which is non-toxic and a wonderful addition to Christmas crafts!  (Note: Mica is a natural silica mineral which is non-toxic.  Take extra care if collecting boxes that may have contained "snow" made from other materials - such as asbestos - which are NOT non-toxic and should be handled with great care!)  Please also note that the box shown in the middle of the bottom row is vintage, but, reproductions from Bethany Lowe are also available.  If purchasing for a collection, be sure you are aware if you are purchasing an original or reproduction box.

"Angel Hair" of spun glass fibers and tree "icicles" were other items that were traditionally packaged in terrifically designed boxes.  Please note that while these items are wonderful for display, they are also items that are not longer manufactured from the same materials for safety reasons.  They should be handled by adults and are safer not used as originally shown!  (i.e. draped from the tree where small hands and pets can reach them...)

Doubl-Glo is one of my favorite brands for packaging.   The designs, often limited to only two or three colors, are typically excellent and wonderful examples of mid-century aesthetics.

Electric lights were always packaged with fantastic graphics from when they were a brand new novelty in the 1920's to the mainstay of the Christmas decoration in the 1950's.  Often the box tops had die-cut sections that allowed for a fold-back display feature; the logic of which is unsure to me.  Perhaps it was part of the store display?  It certainly does make them wonderful for display in your home at the holidays!  While I did not plan to address safety so much in this blog post, I must mention that I rarely plug in any vintage lighting outfits.  First of all, for the first 40 years or so, if one light in the line blew out, you would have to find and replace that one bulb to get them all working again.  This alone, combined with the rarity of finding the correct functioning replacement lights, makes it difficult.  Second, the bulbs - unlike today's lights - generate a LOT of heat and should be watched very carefully.  Finally, many of the vintage cords are brittle and are no longer safe for use.  While it is possible to use some vintage lights, they should only be used indoors, after the cords and plug are all inspected, in an area where the hot bulbs cannot touch or be too close to anything flammable and only when under constant supervision.  Sort of takes the fun out of it, I know, which is why I usually just display the box!

Sometimes some of the best things come in the smallest packages, as shown by these great little vintage boxes of ornament hangers.

And if you are curious to see what I do with these boxes, I just set them out alongside everything else!


  1. The die-cuts were used for store displays. I believe many of the early icicles were made of lead that's why they are dangerous. The aluminum and vinyl are probably safe as I remember Snuggles would eat one and then walk around with tinsle trailing out of her butt. She seemed to suffer no ill effects.


  2. I am so glad I found your blog because I too have this attraction to vintage christmas boxes but have been ignoring it because I thought how crazy it would be to keep an empty box. I can't bring myself to think about the christmas's past when I purchased a vintage item and threw the wonderful box away...but no more! deb
    p.s. I had to pick myself up off the floor when I read post #1 about tinsel and snuggles. That was certainly a common sight at my house at Christmas along with shiny piles in the yard!

  3. Nice! I don't know how I found you...but I did and very happy I did. It's nice to know that other people have the same interest as me and collect vintage boxes and ribbon and mirrors and I could go on and on but you get it...I will def visit again..Have a wonderful Christmas and an even better New Year...



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