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Old World Collectible Handmade Glass Christmas Ornaments

Updated on December 21, 2015
Old World Christmas ornaments on display
Old World Christmas ornaments on display | Source

Merck's Old World Christmas Glass Ornaments Look Like Real Animals

My oldest sister works for a florist. She see a whole lot of collectibles, let me tell you! This is how I became familiar with Merck Family's Old World Christmas Ornaments.

A few years ago, she started giving me an ornament on Christmas Eve. One year, she gave me an animal ornament from this collection. Now, I get a new animal every year.

I have about eight in my collection now. Though made of glass, they are very life like in appearance. Each is a work of art in and of itself. They make great gifts for friends, family, or for yourself!

Take a peek at my favorites and see why I love my Old World Christmas ornaments! Collectible ornaments make great gifts for friends, family, or special people like teachers! Animal themed ornaments are the perfect gift for the animal lover on your list.

My Four Favorites

From the Old World Christmas Collection

The Armadillo


I wouldn't think of an armadillo as beautiful, but this one sure is. Make him seem like a downright friendly guy. I got this one two years ago and he is one of my favorites. There is a tremendous amount of detail on the armadillo. It's decorated with poinsettia flowers and has glitter embellishments.

Old World Christmas Armadillo Glass Blown Ornament
Old World Christmas Armadillo Glass Blown Ornament

Out of the ornaments in this collection, the armadllio is my favorite. They found a way to make it cute. This one measures 4 inches x 2 1/2 inches.


The Emperor Penguin and Chick

This 3 inch tall ornament shows an Emperor Penguin keeping its chick warm. It reminds me of the documentary March of the Penguins. How do they keep their babies safe and warm in that harsh climate? You can't find more dedicated parents than the Emperor Penguins.

It is black and white and shows exquisite detail. Makes you feel warm inside, doesn't it?


The Panda Bear

I have loved pandas since I was a child. They are one of my favorite animals. I can only think the term "gentle giant" when I see them in videos lumbering around around a little bit clumsily oblivious to the world outside their habitat.

It's well noted their struggles to reproduce and to survive. Sometimes human interference is necessary to keep a species going. I am glad that humans have decided to save this animal from the brink of extinction.

This shows a panda eating it's food stampe--bamboo. It is 3-3/4 inches tall.


The Fawn

Whenever I see this ornament I think of Bambi. Well, the happy scenes in Bambi, at any rate. This fawn seems like it is resting after a day practicing walking and exploring it's world. Perhaps it was playing with it's friend, Thumper.

The fawn is painted simply. Nothing extra is added which makes this even more precious. You can see the white spots against the brown fur. It is 2 inches by 2-3/4 inches in size.

Which one is your favorite?

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Which Animal Would I Like to Add to My Collection?

I have several Christmas ornaments from this collection. I hope to add to an animal to it each year.

There are so many cute ornaments in the Merck Family's Old World Christmas Ornament Collection that it's difficult to choose. There are some that would make great scenery. Some that are novelties. And, of course, there are the wild animals.

Though it would be nice to expand in different direction, I think I'll stick to the animals. This little green sea turtle would make a fine addition to my collection. You don't see many holiday turtles, now do you?

How are Mouth Blown Glass Ornaments Made?

I've always been intrigued by this process. You must have a lot of patience, a deft hand, and healthy lungs. This short demonstration gives you an idea of how mouth blown ornaments are made. It is an intricate process that creates beautiful ornaments.

The Merck Collection

A family tradition

Who are the Merck's?

What Makes Their Collectibles So Special?

The Merck's Family Old World Christmas Ornaments was founded by Tim and Beth Merck in 1979. They brought the craft of mouth blown glass ornaments to the United States.

Mouth blown glass was a process that was somewhat lost in the United States before the 1970s. These ornaments have a vintage feel to them. The animal ornaments are realistic looking. The ornaments are made of a high quality. Some would look good on display throughout the year, not just at Christmas.

Although my collection consists solely of the animal ornaments, they have a wide variety of themes to choose from. Their old world Santas have a feel of Europe to them. There are cute fire trucks, beautiful angels, and more! They have religious and holiday ornaments. They even have some for Halloween!

Visit the Merck Family Old World Christmas Website at: to learn more about these fine ornaments.

Tips For Display and Storage

Tips for Display and Storage


Put them on display!

I have a lo--and I mean a lot! I could fill two trees easily. Each year I leave some ornaments in their boxes simply because there aren't enough branches for them all.

I have some delicate ornaments like these that I am afraid will get broken if I put them on the tree. Instead, I chose to display them on a shelf or table. I like to put all the animals together and arrange them in a scene. I use my advent calendars as backdrops.

In some ways, it's fun to have them out on display. I can see them better and they really do make nice decorations.

Let's face it. There's no point in having a collection if you are afraid to touch them. Who wants a bunch of ornaments that are always kept in the box?

What's My Latest Addition?

Every year my sister gives me an ornament for my collection. Of all the animals on the earth, what would guess that I got? I bet you didn't guess snail! Isn't it cute?

The snail comes in gold and brown hues with glittery spots. I like it's expression. Though, I think it shows signs of fatigue. It must be exhausting being a snail. It takes so long to get everywhere.


Keeping Everything Nice

I don't plan to sell these. But, I have almost all the original boxes. By keeping the boxes, I know that they will be protected when they get packed away at the beginning of January. I can't guarantee their safety once they're put on the tree.

If you don't have the original boxes, there are a variety of different storage containers specifically made to handle delicate items. There are storage bins designed with dividers that are specifically made to hold ornaments. If you are the type that likes to make things yourself, you can save those cardboard slatted dividers that are used as packaging material and make your own storage bin. Though between you and me, this is one time I prefer plastic over paper.

If you can't get a box that will keep them from banging into each other, be sure to wrap them before storing them. I save bubble wrap from deliveries for this purpose. You can also use newspaper or tissue paper.

The important thing is to make sure they don't knock into each other. You'd be surprised how often you move boxes around in the garage throughout the year. It can take only a small bump for a crack to appear.

Special or boxed?

Do you collect Christmas ornaments?

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I Started Collecting Ornaments in High School

When I was about 14, Hallmark ornaments became very popular. I got my first Hallmark collectible ornament in 1979. It was one of those satin ball ornaments that were on all the shelves in the 1970s. It had birds stringing popcorn for the tree as the design. I still have that ornament today.

Since then, I have received at least one ornament every year. Most of the early ornaments were satin balls. But, then came animated ornaments and character ornaments. They come from a variety of companies and a couple are handmade. My collection is varied!

I have received many ornaments over the years as gifts. It can take time and care to find the right ornament for someone, don't you think? I always think of these ornaments as special since someone took the time to select a special one for me.

Most of the ornaments in my collection are dated. If I set them all out, I could make a chronological history of ornaments. It's fun to pull them out each year and fondly remember the stories behind the ornaments. It's not so much fun trying to put them back after Christmas. I have almost all of the original boxes and matching them up is no fun at all!

Squirrels Are Cute, Too

Old World Christmas Hungry Squirrel Glass Blown Ornament
Old World Christmas Hungry Squirrel Glass Blown Ornament

I admit an affinity to squirrels. I love watching they play as they run along the neighborhood. This little guy was created in a pose with his tail wrapped around him. They've added a leaf to give it an autumn motif.


Tell us about your ornament collection! Do you collect a certain type or chose what strikes your eye each holiday shopping season? Do any of your ornaments have special meaning?

© 2012 Melody Lassalle

Thanks for stopping by!

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    • MelRootsNWrites profile image

      Melody Lassalle 3 years ago from California

      Joyfulcrown, aren't they beautiful? They have different collections, but I think the animals are the best. I have about 8 in my collection now. I am amazed at how they are made, too. Such talent! Thank you for your comments!

    • Joyfulcrown profile image

      Joyfulcrown 3 years ago

      These are so amazing. I never knew about how they were made. I currently have 3 handblown Coca - Cola ornaments. Maybe I will add a Merck ornament to my collection.

    • MelRootsNWrites profile image

      Melody Lassalle 3 years ago from California

      I think they are special, too. It takes considerable skill, patience, and time to create such a beautiful item! I would think your lamps would taken even more skill. They must be beautiful. Thanks for your comments!

    • Brite-Ideas profile image

      Barbara Tremblay Cipak 3 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      Handblown glass ornaments are gorgeous. There's something about the process that makes you really respect the effort put in. We have two incredible custom handblown lamps (they're large), had them since the 1980s and they've survived every move..knock on wood. They're my personal favorite piece in our home.

    • profile image

      Marsha Cooper 3 years ago

      I used to collect ornaments but over the years I don't know what's happened to them.

    • MelRootsNWrites profile image

      Melody Lassalle 5 years ago from California

      @aesta1: I am glad you enjoyed the lens! They really are beautiful ornaments.

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      You got me engaged in this lens. They are just beautiful.