Now that Thanksgiving has been celebrated, homeowners are turning their attention to festive interior decorations for the December holiday season. There are plenty of cookie-cutter shiny objects available at local department stores, but if you really want something different to impress family and friends, especially young children, then The Vermont Country Store website, www.VermontCountryStore.com, would definitely be worth a look.
Founded in 1946 by Vrest and Ellen Orton, this throwback to country stores of long ago is run by Lyman Orton and his sons Gardner, Cabot and Eliot. Those 65 years and older will fondly remember some of the nostalgic holiday items available at this country store, while younger generations may find what they discover to be heartwarming traditions to pass down to their families.
From the 1940s to the early 1970s, the Gurley Novelty Co. of Buffalo, New York, made small figurines in the shape of candles for Christmas, Halloween and Thanksgiving. The company has since gone out of business, but The Vermont Country Store brought them back as exclusive holiday items. Their most popular items are 3½-inch-tall Christmas carolers and 5½-inch angel candles.
“These were sold at five-and-dime stores everywhere,” said Amy Carter, senior product developer at The Vermont County Store. “People wouldn’t burn them. They saved them and put them out for Christmas. They were very popular.”
Other nostalgic items featured at the country store are silver aluminum Christmas trees that are lit by a four-color rotating floor wheel positioned strategically at the base of the tree; electric window candelabras of one, three or five candles; ceramic noel angel candleholders that burn real small candles; ceramic elves and reindeers; real balsam Christmas wreaths to hang on front doors; and balsam tabletop planters decorated with pine cones and ribbons.
“In the past three years we hae been building our ceramic division,” Carter said. “In the 1940s, ’50s and ’60s people would pull out ceramics for Christmas, and now no one makes them anymore.”
A popular ceramic item was a festively decorated Christmas tree with little multicolored lights. These were usually made by mothers and grandmothers in ceramic classes and passed down to family members, both for nostalgia and as an alternative to sticking up a traditional Christmas tree, either real or artificial.
“Every year we have doubled our selection of products,” Carter said. “We now have 30 ceramic designs and are always looking for more. … As we move into the digital age, we are acquiring more and more customers. And they are giving us new items to search for. People love these items. They bring them back to their childhood.”