The 7 Best Christmas Characters to Put in Your Home This Holiday Season
Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without the stories. Decorations, gifts, and holiday cheer are wonderful things, but we wouldn’t even have them if not for the story. The stories give us the carols, the TV specials, the books to read by a crackling fire with chestnuts roasting, and—of course—unforgettable characters.
There’s the original story, of course, from the Bible, but also the post-Biblical stories that grew up around Christmas throughout the centuries, adding color and flavor to the Christmas season while underscoring themes and lessons that date back to the first Christmas.
Lights, holly, and icicles are fine, but nothing brightens up a home for the Christmas holiday like decorations that bring to life the indelible cast of characters that populate the great Christmas stories. Here are our picks for the seven best Christmas characters, and the best way to use them to add a little Yuletide spirit to your holiday decor.
1- The Grinch
Introduced by Dr. Seuss in a classic 1957 picture book, the 1966 animated special How the Grinch Stole Christmas! improbably made this grumpy, Christmas-hating green goblin one of the all-time favorite Christmas cartoon characters ever. For adults and children alike, it never gets old to see the Grinch dress up like Santa in a slapstick attempt to steal his neighbors’ Yuletide trappings, only to have his heart grow three sizes when he discovers the true meaning of Christmas.
Department 56 Snowpinions Grinch SnowThrow Holiday Fleece Blanket
Department 56 makes an adorable version of their popular fleece throw blankets with the devilish smile and puke-green coloration of this popular Christmas movie character. When rolled up and tied off, it looks like the head of the Grinch with earmuffs that double as a carrying handle.
Vandor Dr. Seuss Grinch Sculpted Ceramic Cookie Jar
Nothing puts people in the holiday spirit like fresh-baked Christmas cookies. No time to bake? Grocery store Christmas cookies are great too. What better way to store and serve those cookies than in a ceramic cookie jar shaped like the head of the Grinch in his Santa hat? This 9”x10”x11” decorative jar comes in a colorful gift box with a silicone gasket on the lid to create a freshness seal.
Amscan The Grinch Centerpiece
This cardboard centerpiece features the Christmas movie character sneakily hanging decorations on an array of three signs modeled after Whoville city planning, directing guests to “Annoyance Boulevard,” “Naughtiness Avenue,” and “Grinchiness Road.”
2- Frosty the Snowman
Conceived in 1950 by songwriters Steve Nelson and Walter “Jack” Rollins, this jaunty popular Christmas carol became another classic Christmas cartoon character thanks to a 1969 animated TV special. Frosty personifies the magic of Christmas giving, his departure at the end of the song with the changing of the seasons a poignant lesson in letting go.
Frosty The Snowman Solar Bobble Head
This fun figurine version of the Christmas cartoon character is the one snowman you actually want to expose to sunlight. When the solar cells on the base are placed in the glow of the sun or electric light, Frosty’s head starts to bobble and wobble cheerfully. A delightful treat for small children.
FROSTY THE SNOWMAN Blue Winter Wonderland 13″ Classic Plush
This huggable 13-inch plush toy version of Frosty looks great sitting on a shelf, mantle, or table. It also makes a great comfort toy for a baby boy at holiday time.
Enesco Frosty the Snowman Candy Cane Figurine
Beautifully crafted with rich detail, this stone-resin figurine depicts not only the Christmas cartoon character holding a candy cane, but also Santa Clause, who figures into the Frosty animated special.
3- Santa Claus
What child doesn’t tingle with anticipation over the gifts Santa Claus might bring them if they are good? Inspired by the generous 4th-century Greek Saint Nicholas and depicted as Father Christmas, Kris Kringle, or Sinterklaas throughout the centuries, Santa’s red snowsuit, team of flying reindeer, and habit of delivering gifts on Christmas Eve night by chimney makes him every child’s favorite Christmas character.
Bearington Kringle Christmas Plush Stuffed Santa Claus
As minimalist as it is adorable, the Bearington Kringle plush stuffed Santa Claus is oriented in sitting mode, making it the perfect free-standing decoration to use as a centerpiece, place on a mantle, or arrange on shelves and countertops.
Windy Hill Collection 16″ Inch Standing Naughty or Nice Name List Santa Claus Christmas Figurine
This 16-inch figurine by Windy Hill is one of a whole collection of Santa Claus figurines that depict the Christmas character in loving detail, with extra accents like gold trim on the robe, spectacles, and hat. This depiction of Santa wears a huge smile and carries wrapped gifts, the bough of a Christmas tree, and a sprawling “Naughty or Nice” list on a paper scroll.
Buy the Windy Hill Collection 16″ Inch Standing Naughty or Nice Name List Santa Claus Christmas Figurine on Amazon Here.
Department 56 Possible Dreams Santa’s One Horse Open Sleigh
While Santa is known for piloting a sleigh of flying reindeer, in this lovely figurine by Department 56 a romantic Santa seems to be on a date night with Mrs. Claus in a different Christmas carol—”Jingle Bells,” with its one-horse open sleigh.
4- The Three Wise Men
The Bible refers to an unknown number of “Magi,” foreign kings who visited Bethlehem to worship the newborn savior at risk of King Herod’s wrath. Tradition (and Nativity scenes) assign these Christmas characters as “three wise men,” while the gifts they presented to the child (gold, frankincense, and myrrh) suggest they followed a western star all the way from India and the Arabian peninsula, where those rich substances can be found.
Willow Tree “Three Wise Men” Sculpted Hand-Painted Nativity Figures
Perfect for minimalist decor, this beautiful representation of the Three Wise Men by Willow Tree depicts the Christmas characters in different poses hand-carved from wood and painted in soothing neutral tones.
Precious Moments “We Three Kings” Wise Men Figurine
These figurines by Precious Moments depict the Three Wise Men as small children with big, adorable, worshipful eyes. A perfect decoration for homes with children to depict the lesson that the values of Christmas apply to people of all ages.
Nativity Three Kings Wise Men Figurines
Molded from polymer resin, this lushly-painted set of three figurines depicts the three wise men mounted on animals—a horse, an elephant, and a camel. Each hand-painted figurine is five inches tall and depicts a Wise Man bearing one of the traditional gifts for the Christ child.
5- Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
Introduced in a 1939 coloring book by Robert L. May, Rudolph exploded in popularity thanks to a 1949 hit song by Johnny Marks and became a beloved Christmas movie character thanks to the 1964 stop-motion animated special. Many important lessons in tolerance and self-confidence can be gleaned from the story of the runty reindeer in Santa’s stable, teased for being different, only to step up and save the day.
KIDS PREFERRED Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer Stuffed Animal Plush Toy with Music & Lights
This plush toy, featuring Rudolph seated in a jaunty pose, sits easily on a table, shelf, or mantle. The inside of the ears are quilted with red fabric in white polka-dots, and Rudolph wears an adorable green-and-white scarf. When squeezed, it lights up and plays Rudoph’s signature song.
Buy the KIDS PREFERRED Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer Stuffed Animal Plush Toy with Music & Lights on Amazon Here.
Rudolph & Friends 32″ Pre-Lit LED Lighted Hermey The Elf Dentist Riding Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer Christmas Decoration Yard Art
Rudoph is a popular character to depict in lawn art. This figure depicts not only the popular Christmas cartoon character but one of his companions from the stop-motion special, Hermey the Elf. Both Christmas characters are illuminated by 70 LED Christmas lights.
Buy the Rudolph & Friends 32″ Pre-Lit LED Lighted Hermey The Elf Dentist Riding Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer Christmas Decoration Yard Art on Amazon Here.
Rashti & Rashti Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer Collectible 9″ Plush
This minimalist plush toy depicts the Christmas movie character in standing position, stable enough to be posed standing on a mantle or countertop. The seven-inch plush toy also makes a great stuffed animal for small children to snuggle with.
6- Little Drummer Boy
The Little Drummer Boy was conceived in “Carol of the Drum,” a 1941 song written by Katherine Kenicott Davis. Unlike the Magi, the little drummer boy does not have rich gifts to present to the Christ child, but Baby Jesus’ delight over his drum serenade imparts the message that even small gifts and small people can make a big impact. A stop-motion animated Rankin/Bass TV special produced in 1968 made the Little Drummer Boy a popular Christmas movie character.
Lori Mitchell Me and My Drum Figurine
Whimsical and stylized, artist Lori Mitchell depicts the Christmas character in an adorable 9-inch figurine, wearing an oversized marching-band hat that his skinny legs would seem barely able to hold up. Painted in rich holiday colors, this figurine is not exactly chronologically accurate, but cute nonetheless.
Roman Cherished Teddies, Little Drummer Boy Figure
Roman adds to their collection of teddy bear figurines with this depiction of the Little Drummer Boy in the outfit you would expect from the Christmas song—the clothing of a poor boy in Bethlehem. Crafted from resin, it is poignant and adorable.
Clever Creations Drummer Nutcracker
The Nutcracker is a classic Christmas character in its own right. This version of the traditional toy is beardless, with the face of a smiling boy carrying a drum, while retaining the martial trappings of the classic Nutcracker.
7- Ebenezer Scrooge
Few Christmas characters have the staying power of Mr. Scrooge, the dour and stingy millionaire at the center of Charles Dickens’ 1843 novel A Christmas Carol. Allergic to generosity, Mr. Scrooge hates Christmas with a passion until three ghosts visit him on Christmas Eve and open his eyes to the wounds of his past, his impact on the present, and the dire future awaiting a life devoid of love and kindness.
GALLERIE II Ebenezer Scrooge Joe Spencer Christmas Gathered Traditions Hand Painted Art Doll Collectable Figurine
This sumptuous hand-crafted cotton figurine makes the perfect seated mantle decoration, depicting Mr. Scrooge in red-and-white striped pajamas and a sleeping cap, ready if perhaps not willing for his Christmas-eve comeuppance.
Buy the GALLERIE II Ebenezer Scrooge Joe Spencer Christmas Gathered Traditions Hand Painted Art Doll Collectable Figurine on Amazon Here.
Lemax Caddington Village Scrooge Figurine
Affordable and elegant, the Lemax Caddington Village Scrooge figurine depicts a miserly Scrooge as we find him at the beginning of the Dickens story—dressed for work, clutching the keys to his money safe, unaware of the change of heart coming to him in only a few hours.
Byers’ Choice Scrooge Caroler Figurine
The Buyer’s Choice Scrooge Caroler figurine depicts Scrooge as we would like to imagine him after his midnight revelation of the meaning of life—happily singing Christmas carols in his nightgown and cap, having leapt out of bed unable to contain his newfound Christmas spirit.
Tips On Collecting Christmas Characters
The best collections are thoughtful collections. There are no “rules” to building a collection, but the unofficial rules of collection-building apply to collecting Christmas decorations. Here are some guidelines to go by when considering how to build your collection:
Pick a Theme
Sure, the theme is “Christmas Characters,” but narrow it down a bit. Will you pick one Christmas character (the Grinch, for example) and collect baubles and memorabilia featuring that character? Will you collect pieces featuring different characters but in a similar aesthetic? (Hand-carved, glass, metal, etc.) Will you collect figurines of Christmas cartoon characters from the classic 1960s Christmas specials? Whichever motif appeals to you will provide a lot of direction in how to build your collection.
Consider Curated Collections
Want a way to quick-start your collection? Many curated collections are perfect to start decorating your surfaces with a variety of Christmas characters that nevertheless follow a theme. Good options include Willow Tree wood-carved nativity figures, the Windy Hill collection of Santa figures, or the Buyer’s Choice collection of Dickensian carolers.
Go for Quality When You Can
It may be tempting to mimic Scrooge and pinch pennies as you start collecting. There’s nothing wrong with choosing cheap widgets to experiment with themes, but once you fall in love with a theme, try to buy the highest quality characters you can afford.
One of the best things about Christmas decorations is that they can become heirlooms, priceless keepsakes passed down from parent to child. Low-quality decorations may not make it to the next generation, breaking after a few uses. A high-quality Christmas character decoration, however, can evoke treasured Christmas memories down the ages.
Think About your Display Options
Consider where each piece of your collection will go. If you have the mantle covered, consider what might fit on a nearby side table or act as a centerpiece on the dining room table. Remember that a dining table centerpiece may have to stand up to wine spills.
Consider the space you have—if your coffee table is small, a gigantic Rudoph figurine may not be appropriate, nor will a plush toy pop on a shelf of glass baubles. Also, consider texture. A plush or cotton toy may be better suited to the bedroom than the kitchen.
Don’t Be Afraid to Impulse-Buy
Another great thing about Christmas decorations is that they are useless. That’s part of the fun. Sure, they may hold cookies or open wine bottles, but non-Christmas character gadgets can do the same work … and attract fewer weird looks than a Grinch cookie jar might attract.
The point is, building a collection of Christmas character decorations is not about saying “Do I really need this right now?” It’s about enjoying the rush of a frivolous purchase with no use other than to put a smile on yours and your families’ faces. Manage your emotions; don’t spend the mortgage money, but don’t be afraid to go a little crazy! That’s what collections are all about.
How to Store and Care for your Christmas Characters
Many of us still remember every detail of the Christmas decorations we grew up with because our families took great pains to preserve our best-loved Christmas decorations. If you care for and preserve your Christmas character decorations, they could fill that space in the lives of the children in your life and even become a generational keepsake.
By making a plan for the care, storage, and repair of your Christmas character decorations, you can prolong the joy they bring to your home across many holiday seasons.
The funny thing about Christmas decorations is that they live most of their lives in storage, tucked away in closets and garages 10 months out of the year and then jostled into place, sometimes roughly.
One of the biggest threats to your decorations, while they hibernate, is that they will collect dust, notoriously plentiful in storage sheds, basements, garages. Consider storing your Christmas character decorations in sealed containers to keep them from becoming grimey in the interim. The more you protect them in storage, the less cleaning and maintenance you have to perform when you pull them out.
Possible receptacles include cardboard boxes with form-fitting lids, canvas totes with zipper seals, or plastic totes with snapping seals. Plastic take-out trays or ziplock bags can protect small individual decorations in a pinch.
Wrap delicate items in acid-free tissue paper to avoid the wrappings staining or damaging the decoration.
Be extra cognizant of fragile decorations made from materials like glass, easily deformed plastic, or easy-to-break stone resin. These trinkets may look secure in their box, but once you stack dozens of boxes on top of the container you had better be certain that the distributed weight won’t crush your keepsakes. Consider sturdy plastic totes and individual containers for each fragile decoration.
Make sure you understand the best practices for cleaning the decoration in question.
Some plush or stuffed decorations may be machine-washable; others may require some sort of topical stain lifter.
Clean wooden decorations with a dry cloth. Other decorations should be dusted off with a dry cloth, paintbrush, or makeup brush. If a decoration has become grimey, consider cleaning it with vinegar and baking soda or alcohol so you do not strip away any paint or disfigure the decoration
Repairing a Christmas character decoration that has become damaged is a delicate proposition. In fact, minor scuffs and chips may add a little character to the decoration, unique imperfections that evoke the strongest memories. Don’t try to touch up a scratched or damaged paint job. It is nearly impossible to match paints, and you could end up making the disfiguration worse.
If pieces break off, consider repairing the decoration with school glue, which is easy to wipe away and dries clear. For more severe breaks or heavier components, consider hot glue or a strong adhesive like Magna-Tac.
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