The Truth About Santa

North Pole Express

North Pole Santa

We at really love St Nicholas, we have created many ornaments in his image. We have all grown up to learn about St. Nicholas, better known as Santa Claus a mythical figure with legendary, historical and folkloric origins who, in many Western cultures, is said to bring gifts to the homes of the good children on December 24, the night before Christmas. St. Nicholas is a jolly old man, rotund with a white beard, wearing
Rotund Santa

Rotund Santa

red coat and pants, trimmed with fur, that comes from the North Pole bearing gifts on his Reindeers drawn sleigh.

We have often time wondered how one man, going on a Reindeer powered sleigh can in such a short window of time, a mere few hours, manage to visit every house, overcome all the electronic security, slide through the narrow chimney, wherever there is one, with his big bag of presents, and get out through it, must be a good rock climber, and still get all the presents under every tree before dawn. So sorry, kids and adults but, the truth is a little different. There are many Santa Clauses, and they all live in New York in a project called St. Nicholas Houses. This is the sign in front of the St. Nicholas Houses.

Sign saying: Welcome to Saint Nicholas Houses a Wonderful Community

Sign saying: Welcome to Saint Nicholas Houses a Wonderful Community

The St. Nicholas Houses, were completed in 1954. The St. Nicholas Houses have 13 buildings, each 14 story high, containing 1523 a
St. nicholas Houses

Saint Nicholas Houses

partments. Yes Virginia, there is more than one Santa Claus. While we are not the census people, so we do not know exactly how many people live in each of these 1523 apartments, but assuming an average of 4 people per unit there are over 6000, of them. And it makes a lot of sense. Even if there are 6000 Santa Cluses, it’s still a very big job to deliver presents to 60 million homes and apartments , all within a few hours, and this only in the USA? And what about the good kids in Europe, Canada, Mexico, Central and South America, The whole of Australia, and New Zealand, most of Africa, the Philippine, and other places in Asia where good Christian kids do live? a very big, and widespread job indeed, a multinational task of major proportions. We have visited St. Nicholas House today, and discovered a very nice complex, with playgroun
Playground at St. Nicholas Houses

Playground at St. Nicholas Houses

d, for the young Santa Clauses, and a Senior Citizen club for the really old Santa Cluases. 

Senior Citizen Club @St. Nicholas Houses

Senior Citizen Club at Saint Nicholas Houses

We think that maybe Santa was not just one person, but a clan, like these Scots with all of their clans and each clan with a different tartan skirt. Maybe there was also a St. Nicholas Clan that adopted a red coat trimmed with white fur, and red pants, black boots, and red hood. They may have moved first to the North Pole, but being cold and lonely, and looking for an exciting place to live changed their mind, and moved to Manhattan in 1954, where they have been living happily ever after. One thing we do not yet know for sure, but promise you we will investigate and report ASAP we have some results, if this St. Nicholas Houses serves the whole wide world, or there is such a complex in every country, facing this big challenge of delivering so many presents with a Reindeer drawn sleigh to every house where there is a well behaved kid. We are also sorry to report, that though there was plenty of snow, and some grass, we do not know where these Santas park their Reindeer. We will try to investigate this and report to you in the future.

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America America

God bless America over USA map

God bless America over USA map

 Just in time for Memorial Day and  Independence Day, I added a new subcategory to the Site called Americana. For all of you proud American, some of you who put up Patriotic trees to celebrate the holidays, 5 unbashdly patriotic ornament have been added to the site. Couple of them sport the American Flag, two show the map of the USA one in grye glitter, the second made up of the the American Flag, and last but not leastshouts lod and clear USA.




Hail the Flag

Hail the Flag

From Sea to Shining Sea

From Sea to Shining Sea

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The Little Prince

It is with a great pleasure that we are adding the Little Prince series of ornaments to our site.

The Little Prince Set

The Little Prince book written in the midst of the Second World War in New York, by Antoine de Saint-Exupery. The French aristocratic author, and pioneering aviator. The book has become an instant classic. It has been translated into more than 250 languages, and more than 70 years after it was first published it still sell over a million copies a year. The story of the Little Prince  who wondered away from his tiny volcanic planet, and landed in the Sahara desert, where he meet the book author whose plane was forced to land there due to a mechanical problem.  They spend a few days together, and the Little Prince tells the unnamed aviator about his planet, world, aspirations, struggles and difficulties. Presumably, this was a children book, but just like Hans Christian Anderson stories, it has lesson and touches the hearts of children and adults alike. Antoine de Saint-Exupery wrote the short novella and also illustrated it with charming drawings of the Little Prince, his planet, the neighboring planets, it flora and fauna. is offering 6 glass Christmas ornaments created after the charming drawings of Antoine de Saint-Exupery.

The ornaments are the Little Prince,The Little Prince the iconic image that the adult think is a hat but the children see that it is a Boa digesting for 6 month the elephant it has swallowed whole. The adult see a hat but the children see an elephant in the belly of the snakeThe Boa swallowing a wild beast, The boa swallowing the wild beastThe Little Prince tending to his garden and roseThe Little Prince tending his garden and his beloved rose. The malicious Baobabs that are threatening to overrun the Little Prince small planet,The Baoabab threatening to overrun the Little Prince's planet and the Little Prince neighbor, The great king of everything and nothingHis Majesty the King of the whole world who has got no subject, nor room on his planet for one, whose throne and long ermine coat cover the whole of his planet.

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Labyrinths have fascinated  people since ancient times.  Herodotus  describes a labyrinth in ancient Egypt that was uncovered in the nineteenth century, larger than most Pyramids. It was also found in the Galicia area of modern day Spain.  Labyrinth images were found on Cretan coins, as well as in Crete itself, and is mentioned in the Greek mythology.  In the middle ages, labyrinth became even more popular, and have been incorporated into the Gothic Cathedrals floor design. The most famous among them are the labyrinths in Chartres, Amiens, and Reims. The design of labyrinth has spread throughout Europe, and there are many labyrinths in the UK and the Scandinavian countries.  There are many interpretations to the symbolism of the labyrinth,  some of them religious other spirituals. One is that walking a labyrinth is a substitute for the pilgrimage to Holy City called the Chemin de Jeruzalem, there are other that say that following the labyrinth one will reach God & peace. Many American churches have incorporated labyrinth into their design. The labyrinth at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco CA is based on the Chartres labyrinth, there are two labyrinths in the cathedral one inside the cathedral and another outside. In the spiritual mystical world, a labyrinth came to symbolize wholeness. It combines the imagery of the circle with the rambling path that leads us to our center and inner self. It is a path of one way only, though round about. The large labyrinths in the churches are places where people come to meditate and pray. They bring peace and tranquility on one’s soul.

Labyrinth wooden box after the Chartres Cathedral Labyrinth


 DaPolonia labyrinth box was originally done for Grace Cathedral in San Francisco CA. It is a miniature replica of the Grace Cathedral Labyrinth which is in turn done after the famous Chartres Labyrinth that dates to the 13th century. The Labyrinth box is 100% accurate and as the Yellow Pages advertising used to say “let your fingers do the walking”, here on the box, you can trace with your fingers the path from the entryway all the way to the  to the flower shaped petal center. It is a very elegant wooden box and will make a wonderful present for anyone. 

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Renoir’s Dance in Bougival

Renoir's Dance in Bougival

I'm really excited to add to the collection of a jewel of an ornament. Renoir's famous Dance in Bougival, from the collection of the MFA Boston. Dance in Bougival will add to our  lineup of art inspired ornaments As they say Nobody doesn't love Renoir. His red cheeked people, and especially children and woman are dear to one and all. His brilliant colors, that so complement the images delight any art lover. I can never have enough of the Barnes Foundation collection of Renoir painting, though some of the most amazing and cherished images escaped the hands of Alfred C. Barnes, and are in some other museums, he was very prodigious and left a legacy of thousands of paintings.  Nonetheless some stand out, and became almost iconic. Dance in Bougival is one of these.  Dance in Bougival, that is actually part of a series of 3 painting of dancing couples:.  Dance in Bougval, Dance in the City, and Dance in the Country dapolonia offers two of them: Dance in the City and Dance in Bougival  . We do hope at some time in the future, to create an ornament of Dance in the Country.Dance in Bougival depict a couple dancing in a cafe. Bougival was a suburb of Paris, by the river Sein, that attracted a lot of Parisian in the summer months. Renoir drew a couple dancing in the middle of the cafe. The couple is in their own world  far from the cafe. The man is wearing a straw hat, and a dark suit, the woman wears a white flowing dress swirling in the dance movement, with fuchsia trim and pinkish highlights. She has a beautiful read bonnet. She is not sure that she is ready for the intensity of the man interest in her. As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words, and Renoir sure knew how to relay them.

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Snowmen menagerie

For those of you who have been following us at  for a while, you know that Holly Berry snowmanwhen it came to snowmen, the picking was small & slim. For a long time we only boated one snowman, a free blown snowman, tall & slim, all glittered and very popular,and even he? it? was sold so fast,  and would disappear for long time before we could make it again. This year, a little while ago, our poor solitary Snowman got a companion, Zig Zag Snowman, a glorious  figural snowman, with a hat zigzaging in the wind, boasting snowflakes design and Swarovski crystals. They say three is company, so nine will be a crowd. Our menagerie of Snowman is now nine member strong. And what amazing snowmen this group is. One of our Snowman is so much into Facebook, his hands have frozen in the liking position. Our stripped hat snowman is skying down the slopes on free blown silver skies.

Snowman skying downhill with a striped hat

Our Bullseye Snowman would give a run for the money to Target's Bullsyes dog any

Snowman with red bullseye  all over the coat

day.Most of our snowmen are free blown, with pulled noses, each one different, and quite a few boasting outstretched hands. A great collection of some of the most loved Christmas ornaments.Blue pants snowmanFully glittered snowman with pulled nose & red hears design
Snowman with free blown branch arms


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Why is America called America

In my last previous I  wrote about   world map wooden box that is based on the map gores of Martin Waldseemuller and his 1507 map, that was the first to name the newly discovered lands. in 1507 we have not yet been granted the honor of being a continent. Martin Waldseemuller decided to honor Amerigo Vespucci, the explorer World map with map gores from 1507who came here on the heal of Cristopher Columbus. This raises the question why Amerigo Vespucci, and not Christopher Columbus, actually Christobal Columbo, and in Spain Christobal Colon. It also raises another question, and this is a question of what if. How would the new world be called had Waldseemuller decided to honor Amerigo Vespucci last name instead of his first name? Would we all be going by the name Vespuccia? And following that route what would be the name of our continent if he gave honor to the first explorer and discovered, Christopher Columbus, what would we be called then Christopheria? Chritobalia his Italian name, or maybe Columbia instead of being a country would have been a continent? And then what would it be, Columbia, or maybe Colonia the Spanish version of Christopher Columbus name, Antique world mapthe version he adopted when he acquired Spanish citizenship before undertaking on his voyages here. I guess it wouldn’t be Columbusia because  Waldseemuller gave us our name America, but  not the  Anglocized version of Christobal Colombu, which did not come to be widely known for a long time after Martin Waldseemullerhas passed away. And so, Martin Waldseemuller did not leave a written record  why he chose the name? Did he discuss it with the group of map makers he was working with? Part of the answer is known. Christophe Columbus was the first man to come to America, attempting to shorten the way to the spice lands of Asia. After Columbus, few other explorers came. One of  them was  Amerigo Vespucci, who was sent over Round box with a world mapby the Spanish King also, and can take the credit for realizing that South America is a large continent, bigger than previously described by the first explorers. He published accounts of the trips, that became widely read and circulated in Europe. Thus, Amerigo  Vespucci who actually only came to the Amricas 7 years after Christopher Colombus was better known as America’s explorer than Columbus. This explains why Waldseemuller chose to honor Amerigo Vespucci and not Columbus. As to why he has chosen Amerigo and not Vespucci, he took this  secret to his grave.

Handcarve Amercian continent wooden boxesMaps and world discovery have been an eternally fascinating topics. The popularity of travel books and accounts of travels to new places have held a spell over people.  Marco Polo who traveled to the Far East in the 13th century has been immortalized. Wooden boxes with maps of them are gifts that are as much educational as useful and ornamental.  World map wooden boxes always carry stories with them, of wondering and discovery. We at have a large selection of  world map wooden boxes. We have the famous Map Gores of Martin Waldseemuller, two version of world map box on an antique scroll,  in two sizes, two chests ,map boxes of the American Continent, of South & North America. Each in the shape of a square chest box,on four little feet. A latitude and longitude world map box, a cartographer delight and a wonderful man wooden box. One of our world map boxes is very popular with kids, made on a round wooden box the map lays on the top of the box and the round sides, like a glob on a round box base.



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America’s Birth Certificate A history lesson in a wooden world map box

World map box with the Americas fromm 1507daPolonia has quite a few map boxes in it’s collection.It is well known that inanimate object often time tell stories. Our box bearing the image of Walseemuller’s map gore can be described as a history lesson in a box. The highly ornate wooden box shows Martin Waldseemuller’s map gores to the right and the assembled globe to the left. The gores have the image of the Old World, and the assembled globe of the New World. The gores and the globe are overlaid on an intricately branded dark base. Above and below the globe image are small images of gores, as if to show the pieces that make the whole. This map and it’s sister huge wall map both dating to 1507, are called America’s Birth Certificate. And this is the story behind the bos:

As everybody knows, Cristobal Colon, better known as Christopher Columbus, discovered America by accident. Attempting to shorten the route to the Far East, he sailed west, and came upon an unknown land. The discovery of the New World, have brought with it the winds of change. One of the affected fields was Cartography – the science of drawing maps. Up until 1492, most world maps were based on maps drawn by the 1st c. Alexandrian geographer, mathematician, & astronomer, Ptolemy. The maps he drew, have been copied continuously, with some minor modifications, pursuant to Marco Polo’s travels in the 13th C. But now, Columbus discovery and Amerigo Vespucci’s travels to these new territories, mandated a revision of the map, the world has changed. One of the people who answered the call was a German cartographer – Martin Waldseemuller who has created a world map in 1507. Walseemuller’s map had a very long title, as was the custom at that time:

The Universal Cosmography according to the Tradition ofPtolemy and the Discoveries of Amerigo Vespucci and others.


Actually Waldseemuller published a wall map, a globe map cut in pieces called map gores, and an accompanying book, written in collaboration with Mathias Ringman . The book had a very long title

Introduction to Cosmography With Certain Necessary Principles of Geometry and Astronomy To which are added The Four Voyages of Amerigo Vespucci A Representation of the Entire World, both in the Solid and Projected on the Plane, Including also lands which were Unknown to Ptolemy, and have been Recently Discovered.

The book purpose was to explain the basis for changes instituted in the map based on the recent discovery of the New World. 1000 copies of the wall map were originally published, but today only one copy survives intact. This copy was originally in the library of Prince von Waldburg-Wolfegg-Waldsee in the Castle of Wolfegg in Wurttemberg Germany. It was purchased in 2001 by the Library of Congress in Washington D.C. for 10 million dollars. The map now has a place of honor in the Treasures Gallery of the Library of Congress.


What make the map so unique is that it was the first time, the newly discovered land was named America, after Amerigo Vespucci. History forever will debate why Waldseemuller chose to honor Amerigo Vespucci and not Christopher Columbus. It will also wonder why he chose his first name and not his last name. But this was his choice, and the new continent was so named and as they say the rest is history..The map has been dubbed: America’s Birth Certificate.

Simultaneously, Waldseemuller also created a new kind of map, the precursor of the folding map. It is called map gores.What Waldseemuller did is, cut the map that was the same one as the wall map, into elliptical pieces ending with a point, when put together on a sphere they will create a globe. They can be carried in pieces, and then assembled. These pieces are termed gores: meaning a three dimensional space created from a two dimensional material. The gores Waldseemuller created also bear the name America on the newly discovered continent, and also share the honor of being America’s Birth Certificate. Maybe because they can be put together in a smaller amount of space than the wall map that measures 54 x 96”. more copies survived.

Today five copies of Waldseemuller’s map gores are known to exist, and for strange reason they all seem to have survived in the vicinity or in Munich Germany. The first to be rediscovered in 1871, is housed in the James Ford Bell Library at the University of Minnesota, in Minneapolis MN. A second copy was found inside a Ptolemy atlas in the Bavarian State Library in Munich, someone must have thought they belong together, and it makes sense. A third copy was found in a public library in Offenburg Germany, bound into an edition of Aristotle . A forth copy was in private hands, and was sold to  Charles Fordsham & Co., an English company specializing in antique timepieces, prints, and maps . This month, a fifth copy came to light unexpectedly, making the news all over the world. It was found at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich . The newly discovered map gores, probably a later edition of the map were folded and inserted between the pages of two geometry books that have been bound together in the 19th c.

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Wyspianski, Tetmajer and Young Poland , Art Nouveau in Poland

The Art Nouveau movement sweeping Europe at the turn of the 19th Rose hand made glass Christmas ornamentcentury penetrated every corner of the intellectual world. Poland with its Western orientation, but Austro-Hungarian Empire and Russian subjugation (Poland was under Russian & Austro Hungarian Empire rule until 1914 when it regained its independence after 123 years) the artistic ferment of Klimt & his Secessionist group in Vienna, and Mucha and his contemporary in France had major impact on Polish intellecMadonna and Child glass Christmas ornamenttuals. The Fin de Siècle element of the movement, the rebellion in old way here sometimes meant foreign domination of Poland, had very wide appeal. It affected philosophy, literature, and art. One of the major players in this movement in Poland was Stanislaw Wyspiaski. Wyspianski was a playwright, painter, and poet, as well as interior and furniture designer. His plays and poetry marry national themes and symbols to the ideals of the Young Poland movement. He was one of the most outstanding and multifaceted artist in Europe at his time and one of Poland's greatest ever. While his life was cut short his oeuvre is immense. To me his greatest achievement is the murals at the St. Francis Church in Krakow. Unlike other churches full of painting carving and images from the Old and the New Testament, painting, sculptures and murals of saint and angels, these church walls are all covered with vibrant flowers murals. The stained windows are full of natural elements mostly flowers. His most amazing window there God Almighty vibrates with elements of Sunflower  & flower ornamentsthe natural world. His Blessed Mother is so human and approachable, Irises painting by Stanislaw Wyspiaski from the St. Francis church Krakow surrounded by flowers and curving lines, the hallmarks of Art Nouveau and Young Poland. We at daPolonia have adapted some of these amazing images into glass Christmas ornaments: his Nasturtiums mural, Irises, Roses and Sunflowers. We have also rendered his amazing Virgin and Child that was painted in 1904 and caused a furor because the mother and the baby were so realistic, and the baby back was showing a little, an accessible, humane and realistic image instead of the frozen immobile stylized images common in icon paintings. Nasturtium glass Christmas ornamentWe are also proud to carry some ornaments of Wyspianski's  contemporaries and Young Polish member Tetmajer, who was commissioned to paint the Zofia Chapel in the Royal Castle – Wavel. His images of The Madonna of Berdicozow is surrounded by magical golden autumn leaves, His Gold Almighty, is so benevolent and Fatherly, to my eyes he God Almighty glass Chrsitmas ornamentcould easily qualify for a Santa Claus job at any mall in the USA. His Heavenly Angel has brown hair, not the traditional blond or gold, and is surrounded by stylized soft elements.  

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Tiffany & Art nouveau who came first?



Tiffany's wysteria grapes goass ornament

Tiffany is the most famous Art Nouveau practitioner in the USA, and one of it's most revered artists. His stained windows, lamps and glass work are part of America cultural heritage. There is no other artist whose work adorn more USA churches, carried by more museums,Tiffany country landscape & waterfall glass Christmas ornament including a couple dedicated mostly to his work, and who permeated deeper into America's esthetic sensibilities than Tiffany. His work is fully what we call the Art Nouveau school. But what is less known is that some attribute to his French dealer the launch of the Art noveau movement. There are two versions of how the Art Nouveau movement started One that we have mentioned at our first post in this series on Art Nouveau, is that it started after Alphonse Mucha created his poster for SarahTiffany's wterlilies window rendered as Christmas ornament Bernhart's theater show. A second version claims that it originated from a Paris gallery name that was importing Japanese & Tiffany art to France. It was called : L'Art Nouveau, La Maison Bing (and no it's not related or created by Microsoft's Bing, nor is it named after Bing Crosby). Well, the choice is yours, However it started, it's influence has been deep and wide. Tiffany impact on America's art & it esthetics is major.

daPolonia has in it's collection quite a few Tiffany images, after some of his famous stained windows and lamps. The Waterfall, Grapes at Tiffany, his Water lilies, and his glorious angle from a Triptych at St. Paul Church in PA. And we have created custom ornaments of his Stained windows for the Corning Museum of Glass.  

Custom ornament created for the Corning Art Museum from a stained window in the collection

We would like to quote Bing's description of Tiffany images,:

Here what he wanted is the discreet calm of semi-opaque tones in An angel by Tiffany glass ornamentwhich, embedded within the glass itself, he simulated fine veins, filaments, and trails of color similar to the delicate nuances in the skin of fruit, the petal of a flower, the veins of an autumn leaf….Thus he created certain types of opaque and matt vases, whose excellence—the result of long effort—lay in their incomparable smoothness of surface, giving the sensation of a silky, delicate “.      Bing said it earlier, and he said it better.

















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