‘Chromos’ is a shortened form of Chromolithography, the nineteenth century technique of color printing. Unlike contemporary four-color offset printing, with chromolithography, each color of an image is printed with a separate lithographic stone. The beauty of the chromolithographed image is the result of the skill and artistry of the printmaker’s interpretation of the image to be printed. ‘Scraps’ refers to the wildly popular Victorian fad of sheets of lithographed, embossed, and die-cut images that were sold to be cut, composed and pasted into books, hence the term ‘scrapbook’.
The scope of subject matter depicted on scraps was limited only by the Victorian imagination, and for the Christmas collector, the attraction to scraps lies in the beautiful renderings of innumerable Christmas motifs. Scraps were not only pasted into books. Those that were printed on heavier paper were popularly turned into Christmas tree ornaments. With a bit of tinsel and some blown-glass beads, a scrap ornament lends a Christmas tree not just sparkle, but also rich color and intricate detail. Scraps were a useful addition to any homemade ornament that could use decorative enrichment – Santa scraps were even applied to Christmas cookies!