Thursday, December 24, 2009

Vintage Celluloid Nativity Ornaments

It truly is amazing to see the great variety of depictions of the Christmas story of Jesus’s birth. I recently acquired eight old nativity figure ornaments that seem to be made of celluloid. Each figure is encircled by an ornate brown cathedral style celluloid "frame". Incised on the back edge of five of the ornaments is "Made in Italy." Each of the figures are in 3-D relief and vary in size from about 2-1/2" high to 4" high; each ornament has a depth of about 1/2". The ornaments are exquisitely detailed right down to the fingers and faces on each figure -- though my photos do not do them justice.
The top of each ornament has its original fixed small brass style metal loop for hanging.

The first three ornaments are in a short arch:
Virgin Mary - approx. 2-1/2" across x 2-7/8" high
Baby Jesus - 2-3/4" high x 2-3/4" across.
Joseph - 3" across x 3" high.
Three Wise Men are in a pointed arch – each 4" high x 1" across. One is bare-headed, another wears a turban, and the third, a crown.

The two musicians are also in a pointed arch – each 4" high x 1" across. Many Italian nativities feature musicians. This set has two:
Musician with long horn
Musician with bagpipes

Note the cross above the heads of the figures in the narrow frames:

Since Christmas has now become more and more secular, most of the ornaments available cover non-religious themes. However, each year more and more artists and manufacturers focus on the theme of Jesus’ nativity. This helps us to focus on the Christ of Christmas.

May You Each Enjoy a Blessed Christmas!

This post is linked to Vintage Thingies Thursday. See more Vintage Thingies Thursday posts listed by Suzanne at Coloradolady.


  1. Those are lovely. I've never seen that kind before.

  2. I have never seen ornaments like these. They are great. Thanks for sharing these interesting and lovely ornaments. Have a happy holiday and be safe.

  3. Those are lovely, beautiful ornament with story.

    Thanks for sharing.

    Merry Christmas!

    You Got a Posty
    My Bangkok Through My Eyes!

  4. I haven't seen them either, very attractive.

  5. Those are so unusual! You are lucky to have them. You have a fabulous nativity collection!

  6. Wow these are so lovely and very unusual. Thanks for sharing about them. Wishing you a Merry Christmas!


  7. Very unusual! Thank you for reminding us of the true meaning of XMas

  8. I have the same set .Do you know what year they are ?

  9. Do you this they have any value to them?