When I choose new items for the Gingerbread World Christmas Collections I look for a few things:
So if you are buying something from Gingerbread World as a gift there should be an intriguing story of where it came from or who made it or what it symbolizes to share with the person you are giving it to (or just showing it to!).
- they should be made in Europe (or in some cases they should at least look like they're European!)
- they should be made by companies that are the best in their category and ideally have an interesting company story
- they should be products that are premium quality, beautiful and have a story of their own - a story that my customers might share with their friends and family.
Sometimes I do this very strategically and sometimes I do this by accident. The "Best of Belznickles" Christmas Ornament by Inge-Glas is both - strategic and accidental!
Strategically this company has an amazing story - Inge-Glas has been a family owned and managed company for 400 years (yes - four hundred years!). They are incredibly good at what they do and make gorgeous,detailed glass Christmas ornaments.
Accidentally: When I chose this particular Ornament for the Gingerbread World Collection I thought I was choosing a vintage, European-style Santa (maybe a Saint Nik). But then I read the name of the Ornament and it lead me to some interesting reading!
Inge-Glas's German title for this ornament is "6. Dezember" (which is the day of Nikolaustag - the day German kids get treats in their shoes!) but the English name is "Best of Belznickles" and Belznickle is not the cheery, friendly Santa we know in North America.
So although this ornament looks like a sage, old world Santa with embroidered cloak and long white beard. Belznickle is actually a crotchety, fur-clad, Christmas gift-bringer figure in the folklore of southwestern Germany.
Typically shown wearing tattered clothing, Belznickle carries a switch in his hand with which to beat naughty children but also pockets full of cakes, candies and nuts for good children. In other words...your classic German fairy tale character!!
But the artists at Inge-Glas have cleaned up his act and present a Belznickle everyone will love. This glass mold was resurrected in 2008 from their vast archives, re-imagined with new colours and today I am thrilled to present one of my favorite items in the Collection - one that meets all my criteria!
If you need a gift for that person on your list you don't know well and your conversation could benefit from a good story: this is the gift for you!
Inge-Glas Ornaments will be in stock at Gingerbread World in September. Our shop re-opens for the Holiday Season on August 23, 2018