When historians describe the ancient tradition of the Nativity, ‘angels’ have always had prominent places in the scenes recreated to visualize the gospel accounts of the events that led to the birth of Christ. The angel Gabriel, with hand outstretched, announced God’s plan for Mary. The ‘herald angel’ along with the multitude of ‘heavenly hosts’ (angels) appeared to the shepherds in the field with glad tidings. An angel appeared in a dream to Joseph warning him of Herod and to take the child and flee. Our Christmas traditions are filled with images of angels.
Christmas enthusiasts have always collected angels, not only for their nativity scenes, but also as: ornaments, tree toppers, candy containers, Christmas cards, candles, candle holders, planters, angel bands, snow babies, jewelry, dishes, cookie cutters, C6 & C7 figural lights, lighted wall plaques, music, books and so on. Virtually any area of Christmas collecting will have an ‘angel’ in some form associated with it.
Over the millennia, from antique to modern, angels have been crafted using a variety of techniques including: hand carved from wood, poured wax, wax-over-composition, papier-mache, clay, pressed cardboard, paper, fabric, bisque, porcelain, glass, molded salt, gum tragacanth, corn husks, plastic, tin, lead, and almost any other readily available material. Interestingly, angels made from celluloid are virtually unknown.