Byers Choice Carolers

Caroler Chronicle Edition II - 2004



Blue Velvet Santa

As Protestantism grew in Germany, Saint Nicholas was replaced by the "Christmas Man" or Weihnachtsman as the bearer of gifts. He was depicted as an old man with a long white beard. He wore a long robe with a hood, which was frequently trimmed in fur. The colors of his robe varied. Red, brown, mustard and blue were used by German illustrators in the late part of the 19th century. The Weihnachtsman was laden with sacks of toys and baskets of dried fruits and sweets for good girls and boys. He often carried a bundle of switch for those children who had not been good.

This figure was less common in America where political cartoonist and illustrator Thomas Nast set the tone for what would become our Santa Claus. Nonetheless, many postcards, books and magazines published in Germany were enjoyed here as well, so this blue Santa would have been a very recognizable figure in Victorian America.

Cries of London
Woman Selling Candy & Crackers

Candy and sweets have long been a special Christmas treat. The 2004 Cry is loaded down with candy cones, barley candy and crackers. Candy cones were one of the most popular ways to decorate a Christmas tree in the 19th century. Containers in the shape of cones and boxes were decorated with colored paper, tinsel fringes, paper lace, scraps and foils. Originally they were Home Pagemade from instructions found in many magazines and newspapers. They were as important a part of the gift as the present inside. By the end of the 1800's, various candy containers were produced, primarily in Germany, and sold in many countries.

Barley candy was made in the late 19th century and also became a Christmas tradition. Barley sugar was melted, brightly colored and poured into pewter molds to cool. The shapes were taken from folk tales, animals and toys. These clear toy candies were tied to the tree with ribbon and saved to eat on Epiphany.

Adults with Christmas Crackers

Crackers began as French candy wrappings. In 1847 Tom Smith, a London confectioner, thought it would be fun to add a little excitement to his candy. He inserted into his packaging a little strip of chemically impregnated paper which when pulled created a sound similar to the crack of a whip. He added a motto and a paper hat and the cracker was born.

For over 150 years, crackers have been an essential part of every British family's Christmas dinner. Today most do not contain candy, however, the paper hat and motto remain with a small gift which may be anything from a plastic toy to an expensive piece of jewelry. Each year custom crackers are made for the Royal Family. Wouldn't it be fun to see what those gifts are?

This year Colonial Williamsburg requested that we design a group of tavern musicians. During the eighteenth century, taverns provided meals and lodging. Entertainment was provided by the patrons using their own instruments or a fiddle or guitar borrowed or rented from the tavern keeper. Today, professional musicians in colorful attire perform tunes from the eighteenth century for guests in Colonial Williamsburg's historic taverns.


Harvest Girl

In the summer issue of the 2003 newsletter, the Pumpkin Harvest Boy was offered exclusively through the Caroler Chronicle. This year, Joyce has designed a Harvest Girl holding a basket of colorful orange and yellow leaves to celebrate the fall season. To order this piece, simply fill out the form below and take it to your favorite authorized Byers' Choice retailer by July 20, 2004. The Harvest Girl will then be sent from Byers' Choice to your local retailer where you can pick her up in time for your fall decorating. This piece costs $55.00 and is available for a limited time only through our newsletter. Click here to print form.

Victorian Candy Containers


Sweet treats were the order of the day for Christmas gifts in the Victorian era. Candies, nuts and Home Pagemade goodies were given in ornate cones, boxes and wrappers decorated with colorful cut-outs depicting Christmas scenes. As a final touch, containers were adorned with bright fabric trims and tassels. On Christmas morning, children eagerly opened the finely crafted presents to discover the hidden surprises inside.

Traditions by Byers' Choice Ltd. brings this colorful custom to the 21st century with a line of Victorian Christmas Candy Containers in a variety of shapes and sizes. These containers are not only ideal for candies and sweets but also perfect for jewelry and other precious gifts. Larger Victorian-themed boxes can accommodate special gifts of various sizes.

In addition to adding a special touch to gift presentation, the Traditions' Victorian Christmas Candy Containers provide a unique touch as Christmas tree ornaments and decorations for wreaths and hearths. Look for these Traditions at your favorite retailer this holiday season.

Glass Ornament Vendor
Kids Holding Glass Ornaments

The small town of Lauscha, Germany is considered by many to be the birthplace of the glass blown Christmas tree ornament. For several hundred years, this community of glassblowers was very prosperous creating toys, jewelry and ornaments out of brightly colored glass. Some of the earliest decorative glass balls were called "Kugels" and were hung from either ceilings or windows as decorations. As the art form developed through time, the ornament designs became more elaborate as the shapes of pine cones, fruit and nuts were introduced.

In 1880, F.W. Woolworth imported some of the first German blown glass ornaments into the United States for resale. Americans quickly fell in love with these decorations and sales skyrocketed. In the early 20th century, millions of blown ornaments in increasing varieties of shape and color were exported from Germany. Byers' Choice has designed a Glass Ornament Vendor to capture the festive spirit of this beautiful European tradition.

To accompany our Glass Ornament Vendor, Byers' Choice will be introducing Kids Holding Glass Ornaments. These excited young shoppers have been given the difficult task of picking their family's annual tree ornament from the vendor's vast collection of blown glass. The children will be dressed as matching pairs and will come in a variety of different colorful outfits and hair colors.

Some of the children will be holding a blown glass ornament in the shape of a German nutcracker. Others will hold a glass ornament that has been shaped and colored to resemble a pickle. The custom of hanging a glass pickle ornament on the tree dates back to 19th century Germany. On Christmas Eve, parents would hide the green ornament deep inside the tree as part of a family game for the children of the household. On Christmas morning, the children would race down to the tree to see who could spot the pickle first. Oftentimes, the winner would receive a special gift for being the most observant. If you would like to include this game as part of your holiday festivities, ask your favorite Caroler retailer about pickle ornaments offered by Traditions by Byers' Choice Ltd.

Retailers Plan Red Hat Events

The Red Hat craze continues to grow across the country as more and more people look for new ways to spend quality time with close friends enjoying the simpler things in life. In response to this phenomenon, Byers' Choice has designed two additional ladies to join the party that will be making their appearances known during retailer events in 2004. One of these women is dressed in her finest purples and reds, sipping her afternoon tea. Mrs. Claus herself inspired the second figure for her love of fun, friends and a little mischief. Certainly, if given the opportunity, Mrs. Claus would be a "Queen Mother," leading the charge for a day of shopping and laughing with her closest friends.

If you are interested in learning about a Byers' Choice Red Hat Event near you, simply click on the following link to learn more about "Local Happenings" in your area. Many stores will be planning events through the upcoming months, so be on the lookout for an upcoming party near you.

Milk Man
New for 2004

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