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Snowbabies History

About Department 56 ...

Snowbabies are collectible figurines produced by Department 56. Like many other types of collectible figurines, Snowbabies are released each year and retired after a specific amount of time. Retired Snowbabies with the original box they came in can be very valuable after a few years. Some Snowbabies that are part of special collections can be worth even more. Snowbabies were first released in 1986 by Department 56, a collectibles company headquartered in Minnesota. The idea for the collection came from the executive director of product design at Department 56, Kristi Jensen Pierro. Her idea was to depict the scenes of young children playing in the snow.

Snowbabies have been collected since day one, making retirement of specific designs and collections important to the serious collector. Each Snowbaby comes in a box with its own title and story to accompany the design.

The classic Snowbabies collection features many of the yearly releases by Department 56. The collection is made up of Snowbabies that are not part of any other special collections. The classic Snowbabies include standard figurines, music boxes and water globes.

The classic collection ranges in dates from 1986 to the current releases. Some of the figurines in the collections, such as the "Christmas Caravan" sold in 2006, were produced in limited numbers.

Some of the smallest Snowbabies produced are the miniature ornaments. The ornament series began in 1998 and ended in 2004. The miniature ornaments were released around the holiday season each year.

The miniature ornaments feature an ivory ribbon with the word "Snowbabies" embroidered on it in gold or silver thread. The ribbon is used to hang the ornament on the tree.

Snowbabies guest collections feature classic children's characters from a number of movies, books and television shows. The way these figures are designed retains the ivory design of the Snowbabies while featuring the guest character in full color.

Some of the most popular Snowbabies guest collections include The Wizard of Oz, Barbie, Dr. Seuss and Disney characters. One of the biggest guest collections is the Rudolph collection. This collection features Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer from the classic television Christmas specials.

Snowbunnies are a variation on the classic Snowbabies collection. The Snowbunnies figurines are the original Snowbabies characters, but they have bunny ears. These Snowbabies are depicted in spring and Easter scenes with baby birds, Easter eggs and spring flowers.

The Snowbunnies collection began in 1994 and continues to release new pieces on a regular basis.

[information provided through eHow website]