Boughs of holly may still deck the halls, but when it comes to the Christmas tree, this year's discriminating decorator favors pricey designer ornaments such as those made of lead crystal by Baccarat and Waterford.
"They're selling like hot cakes," said Jean Ross, who sells crystal Christmas tree ornaments at Bullock's in Sherman Oaks.
Designer ornaments start at about $20 for silver-plated and etched Christmas bells, and prices soar to $100 for 6-inch crystal angels by Baccarat. Lladro's bas-relief, matte-finish porcelain Noel bell sells for $29.50, and Waterford's legendary Irish crystal "Four Calling Birds" ornament goes for $29.
At Robinson's in Woodland Hills, a clerk in the crystal department said many shoppers are snapping up crystal ornaments as collector's items to be handed down over the years. "They're real popular," she said. "Sometimes, people will come in and buy six."
Ray Toal of Glendale, who began collecting the lead crystal mementos last Christmas, said he finds them more romantic than glass or plastic ornaments.
"They're real authentic, not modern, plain and boring," he said. Besides, hung on a fragrant green fir, "they sparkle just like icicles."