By Karen Parr-Moody
As Santa gets ready to look his spiffiest and gingerbread men fasten their buttons, you know it’s time to up your Christmas game. That’s why GasLamp currently features an array of holiday-themed décor, from kitschy Santas from the 1950s to ruby red lustres from the Victorian era. With rare and beautiful Christmas finds in every booth, the decorating possibilities are endless.
Certain English design motifs — including the Union flag and Queen Elizabeth’s coronation silhouette against Wedgwood’s Jasperware — have traveled far across the pond. But perhaps none is more beloved than the ceramic Staffordshire spaniel. Inspired by Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, a breed beloved by royalty, ceramic Staffordshire spaniels emerged from the pottery kilns of Staffordshire County, England, in the mid-1800s and were produced there until the early 1900s. This pair of English Staffordshire dogs from Beswick Pottery charm with the iconic sameness of their kind: They are seated, wear a gold chain and locket and have a creamy white base coat ($245; Booth B-106). They were originally produced in pairs, but no two dogs are ever the same due to their distinctive hand-painted fur.
This 1950s Santa bank is as kitschy as can be ($46; B-106). It is a chalkware figure that was mold-casted with calcined gypsum. Chalkware figures were given out as carnival game prizes during the Great Depression through the 1950s. These prizes included such characters as Donald Duck from the 1930s. Chalkware animals and figures were eventually replaced by stuffed animals. This charming Santa is not only a fabulous item of décor, he’s a conversation piece.
Women of a certain age will remember decorating with plastic Santa figures lit from within, like this vintage Santa holding a red-and-white candy cane ($89; Booth B-106). At 30 inches tall, this plastic molded Santa packs a punch with his shiny black belt and boots. The figure features a light fixture inside with a cord and plug to keep him bright throughout the night.
A pair of ruby-red lustres (also known as a “lusters”) is a glamorous way to bring sparkle to the Christmas décor ($275; Booth B-106).. These lustres, encircled by dangling crystal prisms, were found more than 100 years ago in the more prominent homes of the Victorian era; they were expensive, even back then. Pre-dating electricity, they were used to hold candles and were set in pairs on a mantle or sideboard. Whoever owned this pair kept them together for decades, which was not always the case, as a pair of lustres would often get split up between daughters as part of an inheritance.
A Christmas table should be colorful and full of cheer, which is exactly why these 15 luncheon-sized napkins are the perfect touch ($20; Booth S-509). In solid red and green, these napkins feature cross-stitched emblems in Christmas themes: There’s a wreath, candy cane, rocking horse, snowman, Santa and the word “Cheers” in script. You can welcome guests to the table with these napkins wrapped to keep their emblems in view, then tuck in some cut paperwhite flowers. How sweet would that be?
If you love cheer and cheery colors, then GasLamp at Christmas will be an aesthetic feast in which you can indulge. Whether your décor is kitschy or glam, you’ll be rewarded with many finds in the halls of GasLamp.