At Christmas time families often have their own traditions and stories for the holiday period, unique to their own personal histories and communities. In many cases, these stories are represented by handmade Christmas decorations which have been carefully preserved year on year, wrapped in tissue and stored in boxes.
Both the run-up to Christmas and the day itself sees activities such as playing songs on vinyl records, opening advent calendars, and collecting coupons for Co-op Christmas Hampers. It’s been known on the day itself for people to get up unfashionably early, keen to see what Santa has brought them!
Often families will donate their past Christmas presents to the museum, to preserve and treasure those memories, but they also represent part of Warwickshire’s history. It’s interesting how particular toys are a mainstay in popular culture or have had a resurgence. When looking at today’s high street there is a trend to create vintage Christmas toys to tap into a feeling of nostalgia. Transformers were first manufactured in 1984 and Optimus Prime, the chief of the ‘Autobots,’ was the must have toy for that Christmas. Star Wars action figures, first manufactured in 1977, have become collectors’ items as well as being mainstream toys for children.
Warwickshire Museum’s collections
Warwickshire Museum’s collections include a range of teddy bears and our earliest dates from 1906. We also have dolls from 1750, some of which would have been Christmas presents to young children. Christmas cards have been exchanged for many years and the museum holds cards from 1850 to the present day. However there are very few Christmas decorations in the museum’s collections and these seem to be treasured and passed on within the family, as they hold more personal memories.