Cute was as much a trait of the early Fifties as it was in mid-Victorian times.
Perhaps it was this excess of cuteness that led to the stark simplicity of aluminum trees.
[ Side note: even these indentations had their origins in legend.
It was said that if you placed a reflective ornament on your tree any evil spirits trying to enter your home would see their reflections and withdraw, terrified of what they saw!
Today, Christopher Radko, the entrepreneur who discovered and recreated many of the historic glass ornament molds from Germany and Czechoslovakia, has recreated much of the Shiny Brite ornament collection.
For those in the Baby Boomer generation, childhood memories of Christmas often revolve around the tree and its ornaments and other decorations as much as they do of a specific present (unless it was a pony – everyone wanted a pony; fortunately, few of us got one.) And the main source of those ornaments and decorations was still F. Woolworth and its competing five-and-dime stores Kresge and Neisner’s and whatever other regional chain was in your particular locale.
The resumption of manufacture, and purchase, of German glass ornaments began in earnest not long after the War.
As events in the Nineteen Thirties began to demonstrate, however, perhaps another war would not be far off. Woolworth, the largest seller of Christmas ornaments in the country, got together to see if they could persuade the Corning Company of Corning, New York to determine a way to make American glass ornaments.
] Injection molding also allowed for a variety of shapes previously unavailable to traditional glass blowers.
Intricate figures and even whole scenes could be created in plastic and then encased within a pastel-tinted outer shell.
And let us not forget Department 56, Franklin Mint and similar organizations with their planned obsolescence designed to enhance the value of their brand of ornaments and decorations.
Characters from television and the movies, cartoon advertising spokespeople and spokesanimals and other commercial ornaments, were OK, perhaps, as emblematic of pop cultures and the faddish nature of our society, but somehow just not the same as a marshmallow with a lifesaver affixed to it with a piece of yarn and then a birthday candle inserted in the top, or a carefully jig-sawn, sanded and shellacked 1/4-inch thick plywood bell with“To Mom, love, Christmas 1952” on it.
The familiar shapes of movie stars, real or animated, were sold by the thousands.