The Great Christmas Tree Mystery…

Ceramic Tree...where did you come from?

Ceramic Tree...where did you come from?

The Ceramic Tree Mystery:

My Aunt made this Ceramic Christmas Tree over 30 years ago. This Christmas I inherited this tree (my Nanny passed this October and this is one of the things I inherited, see Elmira, NY ).

I was so excited, that is until my sister quite sarcastically stated that this COULD NOT have been hand made! We all thought it was beautiful and one of a kind, until my sister pointed out no one (NOT even our very cool aunt) could make something that looked this good…and played music. My Aunt laughed and said she made it in a Ceramics Class. I completely forgot about all of this, until my sister brought it up again. We also have seen it on my friend’s blog and we  are thinking maybe this item is not as “original” as I had  thought or maybe this is a traditional item that you can make in any ceramics class.

So, as usual, Sar thinks SHE is right, while I still maintain, that even IF other people have it, our Aunt did make it……with her very own hands for our Nanny, so it SHOULD still have some sentimental value, right…well those are MY thoughts on the matter!

Can anyone solve our great ceramic tree mystery? Does anyone know where this comes from? Is it a mold? Is it something sold in the stores? Is it the great Christmas Mystery of 2008? (I just liked the ring of that) 🙂

What do YOU think? Don’t worry, you won’t hurt my feelings because I will still love that little old Ceramic Christmas Tree, no matter what!

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16 Comments

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16 responses to “The Great Christmas Tree Mystery…

  1. Lori

    We had one of these trees while I was growing up and my grandmother or aunt painted it in a ceramics painting class. Your tree is likely cast from a mold, but painstakingly handpainted by your aunt.

    My grandmother and aunts painted TONS of different ceramic holiday ornaments/statues. I have a ceramic jack-o-lantern that I treasure from my childhood that I am pretty sure my husband hates.

  2. I’ve seen those trees before… but they’re all painted differently!! While your aunt may not have “made” it from scratch, she probably most definitely painted it!!
    (probably most definitely? Did I just say that?)

  3. hehe i think everyone has one of those trees. i know we do and i have no idea where it came from!

  4. My mother took a ceramics class many maaaany years ago and has a smaller verison of this tree. I think that mold was mass produced but that this tree was ‘decorated’ by your aunt.
    It’s cute (the tree that is)…. I like it!

  5. Gina

    I love this tree and can sort of solve part of the mystery!! (Fun)
    I live in Memphis and many people have these but they ARE made in ceramic class and handpainted by the individual. I understand from someone who has one that they are not easy to make and take some skill. My mother wanted one and I have searched high and low MANY years and can never find this original style. They are always smaller and ugly.
    I love yours!!! Congrats on your heirloom!

  6. Hey everyone! Thanks so much for the insight….I appreciate it…and it is cool to get the history on this! 🙂

  7. My great grandmother made a bunch of these in class, too! They are a cast, but then painted and the lights are plugged in after it has been fired in the kiln. I LOVE mine b/c it reminds me of my childhood

  8. silentorchestra

    I received that exact same tree from my grandmother when I was super young. It makes an appearance every Christmas. She said she made it in ceramics class as well…
    I say, stick with your story, it’s a good one 🙂

  9. Sarah

    Again…I rest my case…this was not an intricate hand molded item. By Aunt Lizzie saying she made it she meant she painted it! Makes a lot more sense!

  10. i say never solve the mystery, so it can always be discussed at Christmas forever. it’s like the game of telephone–just tell your own kids the story, add details, and when you’re SUPER OLD, laugh when you hear what’s become of the legend of the ceramic tree 🙂

  11. Well, let’s just get into philosophy about it then – you decide reality by how you perceive it and believe it. So you can DECIDE what the truth is, and it will be so!

    It’s a pretty tree by the way ^_^.

  12. Align me with those whose relatives made such a tree in ceramics class. We still treasure ours.

    In talking with my wife today, she said we received it as a present from her mom Christmas 1973. Her folks had just retired and had taken some ceramic classes. The following year we recieved a full nativity set with around 20 pieces. She also made the set. I cobbled together a stable to go with it. We still set it out each Christmas.

    My wife and I have four adult kids. We may have to take a ceramic class so there will be enough trees and nativity sets to go around when we die.

  13. I have one like this, too. My great-aunt made it 1974 in a ceramic class. Her initials and date are on the bottom. I have no idea if it was a mold (I tend to think it may have been a mold as the tree is perfect). Each of the little colored lights are individual and can come out…there is a small bulb in the center of the Christmas tree that is inserted from underneath…which makes the lights appear to be individually lite. The one I have is painted green…like the one you have in the photo.

    However, I found one (at an antique mall) made similar, although, painted white. The one I have from my great-aunt is a bit larger than the white one. The lights on the white one are a sapphire blue in color. This one also has someone’s initials on the bottom is dated Oct. 1976.

    Personally, I think these trees are lovely! I always get compliments on them…and would never part with either one of them.

    Michelle

  14. Jennie

    My grandma has one too and I can GUARANTEE that she did not make it — she bought it. She’s not the crafting type.

  15. 1 of trifecta

    i think we have one of these…so does my grandma

  16. dar

    TREASURE YOUR TREE. THE MOLD WAS MADE BY NOWELL CERAMICS. THE CERAMIC TEACHER POURED THE TREE. BUT YOUR AUNT HAD TO REMOVE THE SEAMS, CLEAN THE HOLES FOR THE LIGHTS,ETC. IT WAS THEN FIRED IN A KILN. WHEN IT COOLED, SHE HAD TO PUT 3 COATS OF PAINT. THE TREE WAS FIRED AGAIN WHICH GAVE IT THE GLAZED LOOK. WHEN IT COOLED, SHE HAD TO PUT IN THE WIRING FOR THE LIGHT , ADD XMAS BULBS AND THE MUSIC BOX. I MAKE THESE, SO I KNOW HOW MUCH WORK YOUR AUNT DID. IT IS NOT SOLD IN STORES. IT IS HAND MADE IN THE USA.

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