Christopher Radko: How Imagination Becomes Reality

Updated June 17, 2021
The Christopher Radko ornament The Trolley Jolly Christmas

Christopher Radko is a household name in the ornament game. Explore the creative process behind some of Christopher Radko's themes straight from the artisan creators. Take a look at some of the fun and unique designs of Christopher Radko ornaments.

What Is Christopher Radko?

Christopher Radko is a brand of specialty Christmas ornaments and gifts. While Christopher Radko started with a person and a dream, it has become a company filled with magical Christmas heirlooms created by artisans and sculptors. These artists uncover inspiration in the most unexpected places, letting imagination become reality through magical decorations and collectibles.

Christopher Radko Ornament Themes

Christopher Radko has a vast selection of fine European glass ornaments with several themes like the Brilliant Treasures and Story Time. Additionally, each year, the artisans create new designs featured that year. For example, in the 2021 collection, you can find the Chimney Top Celebration and Teetering Tower of Treasures. Select designers handcraft each ornament, and they use their own experiences and those of their customers to create the next design.

The Christopher Radko ornament Sno-Fun Snowman

Finding Inspiration for Ornaments

Inspiration for these themes and designs can come from anywhere, according to design director Joseph Walden. "You never know where inspiration may come from. Sometimes it's a pattern that you see in a fine painting, a line in a classic Christmas story, or a conversation that we may be having in the studio. Or maybe it's when you're simply sketching, and then something just clicks-and your design takes a new, unexpected path! I often know I'm on to a good design when it begins to make me smile-then I know I have a winner!" Additionally, designer Micheal Sneed notes, it can be important to "seek out new ideas in my day-to-day travels, or talk to the reps that sell the products to our gracious buyers and special customers."

Creating Collectible Designs

In addition to their Christmas themes, Christopher Radko ornaments are known for their soft lines, pleasing features, and similar color palettes. This can be important to pleasing collectors with new ornament lines. According to Walden, "We can try to anticipate what the collectors may enjoy, but it's only when you actually have an opportunity to talk with them do you get that valuable insight to what attracts them to a particular design. When a collector speaks about your design with so much excitement, it also inspires us to find that next special concept when we get back to our drawing tables. Hearing how collectors respond to specific textures or colors encourages us to find new ways of applying those characteristics again."

enormous Christopher Radko ornament collection

Bringing Imagination to Life

While finding inspiration is paramount to creating Christmas heirlooms, it's a hard process, according to designer Michael Sneed. "I must admit-[developing new ornaments] is the hardest part of the job for me. Yet, at the same time, it's the most rewarding. It's such a treat to come up with an idea and take it all the way through the production process and then meet a customer that purchases an ornament at a gift or department store." Additionally, Sneed stated that "Sometimes the 'simple' turns out to be the most challenging. Even a 'quick' sketch or a basic piece always needs the attention our premier team gives it. Sometimes, however, there's an ornament or a spreader or a cookie jar that can leave you thinking, 'Oh well, back to the drawing board!'"

Overview of Christopher Radko Designs

Due to the hard work and diligence of their artisans, Christopher Radko has several unique designs. Explore a few special designs that the artisans themselves find magical.

Chappy O'Snow

"I love the vintage feel of "Chappy O'Snow." He has such a cute face and a unique texture with the all-over glitter," stated Walden. This ornament was part of the 2007 collection and is typically only available through collectors.

Chappy O'Snow

Peppermint Parade

"A rich-looking nutcracker, the peppermint accents next to the elegant red jacket really make this piece wonderful," according to Walden. This nutcracker is definitely ready for a Christmas parade.

Majesty's Kiss

Walden states, "I also love the playful "Majesty's Kiss." I often enjoy taking fairy tales, such as the frog prince, and turning them into something new and fun. I think people really get a kick out of this dandy-looking frog-he's over the top!"

Majesty's Kiss

A Beary Good Boy Sleigh

Built on the whimsy of little boy's dreams, this bear of an ornament features a glittery bear on a sleigh. He nearly gets lost in a mound of presents.

Quite a Lively Tree Gem

Combining a love of snowmen with Christmas trees, Christopher Radko's designers created the snowman tree ornament. This lively little snowman is holding ornaments on his hands.

Inspiration Behind the Christopher Radko Brand

The inspiration for the Christopher Radko brand started in 1983. Christopher Radko and his family were enjoying holiday festivities when from the other room, there arose quite a clatter. Was it Santa? Oh, no. His Christmas tree, decorated with more than 2,000 glass heirloom ornaments, had crashed to the floor. After that, Christopher travel to Poland, and the rest is history.

Chimney Dance

A Christmas Tradition

With artistry and love, Christopher Radko's ornaments have graced Christmas trees all over the world. This is due to the tender love and care that the artisans put into their creations. Do you need a new ornament for your Christmas tree?

Christopher Radko: How Imagination Becomes Reality