December 13th is the Day of Santa Lucia - The Bearer of Light

Posted on December 13, 2014 | 0 Comments

This year we were pleased to discover the official Swedish Government internet page which explores everything Swedish, including Swedish traditions and a fun and informative page on Santa Lucia - the bearer of light - a celebration that occurs each year on the 13th of December. The Swedish website

includes an extensive history of how the Santa Lucia tradition came to be, and how Santa Lucia's Day is celebrated in modern Sweden: "Alongside Midsummer, the Lucia celebrations represent one of the foremost cultural traditions in Sweden, with their clear reference to life in the peasant communities of old: darkness and light, cold and warmth.

Lucia is an ancient mythical figure with an abiding role as a bearer of light in the dark Swedish winters.  The many Lucia songs all have the same theme:

The night treads heavily
around yards and dwellings
In places unreached by sun,
the shadows brood
Into our dark house she comes,
bearing lighted candles,
Saint Lucia, Saint Lucia
All Swedes know the standard Lucia song by heart, and everyone can sing it, in or out of tune. On the morning of Lucia Day, the radio plays some rather more expert renderings, by school choirs or the like.
The Lucia celebrations also include ginger snaps and sweet, saffron-flavoured buns (lussekatter) shaped like curled-up cats and with raisin eyes. You eat them with glögg or coffee."

Santa Lucia's Day is celebrated throughout Europe, but, of course especially in the Scandinavia countries.  Inge-Glas of Germany memorializes her in their lovely mouth-blown Christmas ornament

Continuing the Scandinavian theme, this year we once again carry Swedish Angel Chimes and for the first time offer Nils Olsson's Dala Horses.

                                                                             You may also enjoy our Pinterest board on Scandinavia.

Posted in Christmas Candles, Christmas Legends, Christmas Traditions, Dala Horses, Inge-Glas, Scandinavia

Christmas Tree-Toppers - Finials... a Tradition

Posted on December 06, 2014 | 0 Comments

The tippy-top position (or "crown"), on our Christmas trees invites a very special treatment. Decorative Christmas ornament tree-toppers (treetoppers or finials) have their origin in the Victorian era, when Christmas trees became popular in England. Wikipedia notes that in 1848 The Illustrated London News published a picture of Queen Victoria, Prince Albert, and their family around a Christmas tree topped with an Angel. Thus the Christmas Angel became the most common tree-topper. Christmas stars are very popular, as are elegant Christmas reflectors. Santas, and Snowmen are also commonly used. My Growing Traditions offers some of each from Inge-Glas of Germany (the oldest Christmas ornament company in the world).


Left to right: Spirit of Christmas Dreams, Twinkling Star Tree Top, Vintage Poinsettia


Left to right: St. Nikolaus' Tannenbaum and King of the Hill

These glass finials and the elegant, simple, wooden Spanbaum (also known as span trees, wood shaved trees, chip or chipped trees, twilled trees, and curled trees) tree topper from the Erzgebirge (Germany's Christmas Center) that we happily carry this year for the first time, all require some special care when it comes to decorating your tree. - provides some useful "Tips for Topping the Tree"

  • "When using glass finials, extra care must be used when attaching them to the tree. It can be difficult to attach and/or slide the finial onto the top branch of the tree, although it's a bit easier with an artificial tree. When using a finial on a live tree, one suggestion is to wire or attach a wooden dowel to the top of the tree and slide the finial onto the dowel.
  • Be careful when adding the finial to the dowel or top of tree, make sure it is securely attached and is straight. (... a small amount of cotton batting around the wooden dowel will cushion the glass).
  • If the finial has a reflector in the mold, they can be easily damaged by the dowel or even the tree top branch.... Make sure the dowel/tree branch doesn't reach the spot where the reflector is in the glass.
  • Although the perfect scenario is having a beautifully decorated tree, with the top put on at the very end, in reality it's much easier to put the finial or tree-topper on first!" 

Posted in Angels, Christmas Traditions, German Christmas, German Folk Art, Inge-Glas, Trees

Saint Nicholas and the Christkind

Posted on November 28, 2014 | 0 Comments

This charming vintage German postcard of Saint Nicholas walking hand-in-hand with the Christkind celebrates Christmas as experienced by children in many parts of the world (especially the Netherlands, Germany, and the Ukraine).

The Christkind brings presents on Christmas Eve. As we noted in an earlier blog entry the Christkind is the Symbol of the Nuremberg Christkindlmarkt. Especially in Bavaria the German Christmas Markets are known as Christkindlmarkts (after the Christ Kind - or Christ Child). "The Christkind is a sprite-like child, usually depicted with blond hair and angelic wings. Martin Luther intended it to be a reference to the incarnation of Jesus as an infant. Sometimes the Christ Child is, instead of the infant Jesus, interpreted as a specific angel bringing the presents, as it appears in some processions together with an image of little Jesus Christ. It seems also to be rooted in the Alsatian-born myth of a child bringing gifts to the baby Jesus. Children never see the Christkind in person, and parents tell them that Christkind will not come and bring presents if they are curious and try to spot it. The family enters the living room, where the Christmas tree has been put up, for the opening of presents (the Bescherung) when the parents say that they think that the Christkind who has brought the presents has now left again. In some traditions, the departure is announced by the ringing of a small bell, which the parents pretend to have heard or which is secretly done by one of the adults in the family." - Wikipedia

St. Nicholas symbolizes generosity and brings presents on December 6th (St. Nicholas Day). We remember telling our children when they asked if Santa Claus was real, that he was the spirit of giving. This year Inge-Glas offers for the first time this ornament of St. Nikolaus

Saint Nicholas Day is celebrated with unique variations in many different European countries"The tradition of Saint Nicholas' Day, on 6 December (19 December in most Orthodox countries), is a festival for children in many countries in Europe related to surviving legends of Saint Nicholas,.... The American Santa Claus, as well as the British Father Christmas, derive from these legends. "Santa Claus" is itself derived in part from the Dutch Sinterklaas." - Wikipedia

He may arrive by horse, donkey, or boat, and, in areas of the world where Saint Nicholas is prominent, his day, not Christmas, is the primary day of presents. Shoes or stockings may be left out for him the night before, to be found the next morning filled with small gifts, cookies, and sweets. Thus, in Germany, both Saint Nicholas and the Christkind bring small gifts - one in honor of the Christ Child and one in honor of a venerated Saint. In America, many of us enjoy spreading out our traditional Christmas, enjoying Saint Nicholas Day, during the early part of Advent, as a special time to share the importance of generosity and giving.




Posted in Christmas Legends, Christmas Traditions, German Christmas, Inge-Glas

The Glückspilz (Lucky Mushroom) Tradition

Posted on November 19, 2014 | 0 Comments

My Growing Traditions offers a selection of German Christmas ornaments depicting the Amanita muscaria Mushroom with its white-spotted bright red cap. Amanita muscaria (common name fly mushroom, or fly agaric), a toadstool, is toxic - dangerously poisonous - and should NEVER be tasted.

But, it should be enjoyed on your Christmas tree.

In the German and other European cultures, the mushroom is seen as a good-luck symbol - Glückpilz (Lucky Mushroom - colloquial "Lucky Duck, Dog, Devil, etc.") - and is "The Mushroom" of Christmas and the New Year, especially as a symbol of a blessing at the turn of the New Year. It honors a reverence of nature and the beauty of the forest - if you find one it is believed to bring you good fortune. It is acknowledged to be the most recognized mushroom on earth. This famous mushroom abounds in Christmas decorations, children's story books, and fairy tales.

As a good-luck symbol and a symbol respecting the beauty of nature the Amanita muscaria mushroom is a traditional ornament on German Christmas trees.

The Christian Ulbricht Workshop from the Erzgebirge, Germany - since 1928 - brings us this dear wooden ornament with an Amanita muscaria:


 Christmas Wreath

And, Inge-Glas of Germany brings us several Amanita muscaria glass Christmas ornaments   


Flat-top Mushroom           

Mini Tall Hat

Add a little Glückpilz - Lucky Mushroom to your Christmas!

Posted in Christian Ulbricht, Christmas Legends, Christmas Traditions, Erzgebirge, Inge-Glas

Inge-Glas Santas Nestled in a Christmas Wreath - a DIY Project

Posted on November 12, 2014 | 0 Comments

When we found this photograph of a Christmas Wreath covered in Inge-Glas Santas we were charmed. We might not own the mirror/picture frame that it adorns, nor begin to ever conceive of placing it outside on a front door, but we could definitely envision our own creation in a special spot, on the mantel, in the entryway, or even in the kitchen.

Clipped neatly, front and center, is Vintage Nicholas

Tucked in around the wreath is Famous Journey

We could envision these Inge-Glas ornaments as being especially delightful for a wreath...


left to right above: Whoo's Ready for Christmas, Marching Toys, Mini-Me Santa


left to right above: Toy Nikolaus, Christmas Candies, and the sweetest little Christmas Mouse

Create your own: perhaps a Santa Wreath, a Holiday Wreath, a Bird Wreath, a Forest Wreath, an Angel Wreath, or just add one memorable ornament to a special wreath you plan for inside your home. 

Posted in Inge-Glas

Inge-Glas Hedgehogs - New for 2014

Posted on November 01, 2014 | 0 Comments

This year, Inge-Glas of Germany has come full circle in the world of hedgehogs. In 2011 they introduced Mama Hedgehog

Hedgehogs are native to Europe, Asia, and Africa. They may be kept as pets in most of the United States. They are called hedgehogs because they make a pig-like grunt while searching for food. They are nocturnal, eat insects, and have a spiny protection that makes us think of porcupines, but they are not related. 

European Folklore, as Wikipedia reports, has them commonly shown as carrying apples on their back: "As animals native to Europe, hedgehogs hold a place in European folklore. In most European countries, hedgehogs are believed to be a hard-working no-nonsense animal. This partially results from the folk belief that hedgehogs collect apples and mushrooms and carry them to their secret storage. It is unclear exactly how old this belief is, though the Roman author Pliny the Elder mentions hedgehogs gathering grapes by this method in his Naturalis Historia. In medieval bestiaries and other illuminated manuscripts dating from at least the 13th century onwards, hedgehogs are shown rolling on and impaling fruit to carry back to their dens. In fact, however, hedgehogs do not gather food to store for later consumption, relying on their deposited fat to survive hibernation. Nor is apple included in their usual diet (it has been suggested, however, that the hedgehogs may use juice of wild apples in order to get rid of parasites).... The image remains an irresistible one to modern illustrators. Therefore, hedgehogs are often portrayed carrying apples - partially, to make them look cuter." You may, indeed, enjoy perusing the many images of hedgehogs with apples on their back.  

Indeed, Inge-Glas in 2014 has wonderfully completed the hedgehog family adding Papa Hedgehog with the fabled apple on his back

and Baby Hedgehog, too.

Papa Hedgehog and Baby Hedgehog are even more special because they are ornaments in the Inge-Glas Swarovski Collection: An exclusive collection, the Swarovski Collection ornaments "shine with multi-faceted crystals on the Christmas tree. Each ornament is decorated with sparkling Swarovski Elements, which intensify in the twinkling Christmas lights. 

All of our Inge-Glas ornaments come complete with an Inge-Glas Gift Box and Archival Tissue.

Posted in German Folk Art, Inge-Glas

Classic Indented Reflectors - Inge-Glas Collections

Posted on October 22, 2014 | 0 Comments

Reflectors are one of the most traditional and oldest Christmas ornaments. They represent the essence of light on the Christmas tree. They capture the beauty of the surrounding ornaments and Christmas lights. The finely molded walls of their indents create a prism of glittering color. 

Reflectors, like other mouth-blown glass ornaments, begin with the glass blower heating a glass tube to a molten state. The glass-blower then blows into the tube until the hot, soft glass takes the shape of a sphere. To make an indented reflector, a "plug" (wood or plaster are commonly used) embossed with a unique design is then pressed into the hot glass.

This year we have enjoyed adding a wonderful selection of Inge-Glas classic Reflectors to our offerings. There are so many to choose from:



Click on the images above to find more in each of these Reflector collections: Reflections of the Past (on the left), Holiday Reflections (center), and Christmas Reflections (on the right)

Click on the images below to find: Vintage Reflection (left), Silver Reflections (center), and Botanical Reflections (right)



Add them to your Christmas tree and let the light shine!



Posted in German Christmas, Inge-Glas