The Holiday Child(ren) by Cybis

In addition to their nativity sets and ornaments Cybis produced some child figurals known as the Holiday Children. Although made from only two basic molds they have been offered as various issues at different times. They were all non-limited editions, 5.25” high.

The first was the 1980 Holiday Child who is looking down into a green Christmas stocking decorated with holly and berries and the word “Noel” across the top. A panda bear leans against the child’s left leg. This piece was priced at $235 at introduction. For the sake of clarity, because there ended up being so many variations of these children, I’m going to expand its title to 1980 Holiday Child with Green Noel Stocking and Panda Bear. This sculpture was available for purchase only during 1980.

 

The second was the 1981 Holiday Child who has a teddy bear and a white-background stocking decorated with a red bow and multi-color holiday candies.  My expanded name for this is 1981 Holiday Child with White Bow Stocking and Teddy Bear. Notice that the child’s nightgown collar now has blue trim. The retail price was $265.

There may not have been a new Holiday Child version in 1982. Cybis published a catalog in 1982 that contained a photo captioned Holiday Child (1981 version), which may or may not indicate that there was to be a new one coming out later that year. My copy of their Summer 1982 price list includes a Holiday Child at $275, but I do not have the Fall 1982 list for comparison. However, I do have their Fall 1982 and Winter 1982 brochures; neither of them show a Holiday Child, which suggests to me that there was not a 1982 version.

The third version was thus the 1983 Holiday Child which was the debut of the second mold style. The head sculpt is new, the arms are positioned differently, and the child is looking up instead of down. In this issue the stocking has a white background and is decorated with a candy cane. Just below the candy cane is the year 1983 in blue. (The 1980 and 1981 stockings do not have a year on them.) A clown doll leans against the child’s right leg. I believe this piece was $245 at introduction. My expanded name for this one is 1983 Holiday Child with white Candy-cane Stocking and Clown Doll.

 

1980 and 1983 Holiday Children by CybisThis photo shows the 1980 and 1983 Holiday Children together, showing the differences in the two body molds.

No Holiday Children appear on the 1988 Cybis price list, further confirming that the 1980, 1981 and 1983 versions had all been retired.

There were no further Holiday Children until the 1990s, which was when the studio began opening the studio to the public for retail sales. I do not currently have a copy of the 1990, 1991 or 1992 price lists, but these new versions appear on the November 1993 list. The circa-1990s versions were described by gender (boy or girl) rather than as a generic “child.” Based on the face/hair sculpts, as well as the color of the trim on their nightgowns, it appears that the looking-down model is the boy and the looking-up model is the girl.

The November 1993 list includes Holiday Boy with Noel Stocking and Clown Doll which, according to the “boy” description, should be the looking-down model and have blue nightgown trim. It was priced at $495 and was retired before November 1995. I have not found a photo of this version.

That list also contains Holiday Girl with Bow Stocking and Panda at the same price point and production timeframe (retired before 1995.) This version should be looking up and have a collar tie that is not blue. The “bow stocking” is the one they had used for the 1981 Holiday Child, decorated with painted individual pieces of candy, and the bow is part of the mold rather than being just painted on as in the candy-cane stocking decoration. I have not found a photo of this version.

Moving forward to the Fall 1995 price list from Cybis, we find two new arrivals, indicating that they were introduced in either 1994 (spring or fall) or in Spring 1995. Because this is a holiday piece, logic suggests that they were Fall 1994 new items. For now, I am citing these as 1994/95 pieces.

This is the Holiday Boy with Noel Stocking and Panda, priced at $495. This is identical to the retired 1980 Holiday Child in every respect except that the background of the stocking is white instead of green, and that this version has blue trim (the 1980 version’s nightgown is entirely white.)

The other piece on that 1995 list is the Holiday Girl with Bow Stocking and Clown Doll; same price of $495. I do not have a photo of this one but assume that she is looking up and is holding the bow-decorated 1981 stocking with an unknown-color background and/or bow color. However, read on…

This piece appeared in the same auction sale as the 1994/95 Holiday Boy shown just above. It is clearly a Holiday Girl with (white) Noel Stocking and Clown Doll. This is the only photo I have of this version, which shows that the trim color of the 1990s Holiday Girl was not blue. What we do not know is whether the 1993 Holiday Girl’s trim was also lilac, or whether it was, perhaps, pink. Until/unless I can find a photo of the 1993 version, it will be impossible to say. There is, however, another possibility: The title in the 1995 and subsequent lists may be a typo, i.e., it should have said “Noel Stocking” instead of “Bow Stocking.” The 1990s price lists from Cybis were so rife with misspellings and other errors (there were 22 of them on the 1993 list alone!) that this is definitely possible. The mold impression beneath the piece shown above says 1983, which makes perfect sense because that was the year that Cybis began using this looking-up version of the Holiday Child.

 

These are the known Holiday Child stocking versions. The caveat about the ca-1990s Bow Stocking is that I don’t know if the colors were identical to the 1981 version. It’s possible that they may have changed up the bow and/or the cuff/heel/toe colors, or perhaps painted the decorations differently. The one thing that would not change is that the bow itself is part of the mold.

A quick chronology of the Holiday Children from Cybis thus becomes:

  • 1980 Holiday Child (looking down, with green-background Noel Stocking and Panda Bear; nightgown is all white)
  • 1981 Holiday Child (looking down, with white-background Bow Stocking and Teddy Bear; blue nightgown collar tie
  • 1983 Holiday Child (looking up, with white-background Candy Cane Stocking and Clown Doll; blue collar tie)
  • 1993 Holiday Boy  (looking down, with unknown-background Noel Stocking and Clown Doll; blue collar tie)
  • 1993 Holiday Girl  (looking up, with unknown-background Bow Stocking and Panda Bear; her collar tie is not blue, could be lilac or pink, etc.)
  • 1994/95 Holiday Boy (looking down, with white-background Noel Stocking and Panda Bear; blue collar tie; identical to 1980 except for stocking and nightgown trim)
  • 1994/95 Holiday Girl (looking up, with white-background Noel Stocking and Clown doll; lilac/lavender collar tie

and also an

  • unknown/possible Holiday Girl (looking up, with unknown-background Bow Stocking and Clown Doll; collar tie color unknown but is not blue)

If anyone happens to have either of the 1993 versions, or a Holiday Girl with a Bow Stocking + a Clown Doll, I would love to see a picture and include it here. There is a contact form link below.

Other Christmas/holiday themed Cybis pieces included the first and second nativity sets, the 12 Days of Christmas ornament series, the holiday versions of the child heads Funny Face and Valentine, various other ornaments and bells, and a plethora of “…with holly”-decorated rabbits and bears.

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