A Story of Standing Grandfather Frost Dolls

Standing Grandfather Frost Dolls

Most Christmas ornaments and decorations were designed to hang on the tree.

However, there is a type of “standing” figures or Christmas dolls, which are collectibles too. 

This is a story about the standing Russian Ded Moroz “Grandfather Frost” doll.

The Soviet New Year’s market, December 1947.

The Soviet New Year’s market, December 1947

Celebrations of Christmas and the New Year are different in every country.

It is a happy time when people present gifts to each other.

Almost every country has a traditional mythical personage who brings presents to children. A few examples: 

It is La Befana in Italy, Pere Noel is a French Christmas figure, Joulupukki means “Christmas goat” or “Yule Goat” in Finland.

And of course, there is Santa Claus in most English speaking countries.

Ded Moroz “Grandfather Frost” with his granddaughter Sneguroska “Snowgirl” or “Snow Maiden” are traditional personages In Russia and some post-Soviet countries.

Being without a Ded Moroz in a New Year’s party is very difficult to imagine now.

To be honest, Grandfather Frost was not always a kind folklore personage.

Before the middle of the 19th century, he was an evil, bony, ancient man with an empty huge bag and a magic pikestaff.

On New Year’s Eve, he visited houses and collected debts from folks for a whole year, (hmm, sounds like a revenue officer).

Manufacturing of the Ded Moroz and Sneguroska dolls began in Soviet Russia in the end of the 1930s.

These ornaments became an inherent part of a Soviet Christmas tree (correctly to say a Soviet New Year tree or simple “Yelka”).

They stayed near a New Year tree in almost every Soviet family.

Manufacturing of the standing Ded Moroz figures, December 1951.

Manufacturing of the standing Ded Moroz figures, December 1951.

All of them have a wooden frame. The frame was covered with a few levels of pressed cotton.

The faces were made of papier-mache or used pressed sawdust wood.

Then the figures painted by hand. Usually, the first pre-WWII Ded Moroz dolls had a red long lap fur coat and a red fur cap.

After WWII at a white and some other colored Grandfather Frost dolls started being produced as well as red ones.

Most of these dolls hold a pikestaff in one hand and a bag with presents in the other hand. 

Also, there were figures which hold an evergreen tree. The height of these ornaments varies from 7ins (over 17cm) to 20ins (over 50cm).

Another type of these standing dolls was made of papier-mache. They were painted by hand also.

The first plastic Ded Moroz and Sneguroska dolls appeared in the market by the end of the 1960s.

Cotton standing figures continued manufacturing during the 1970s and even at the beginning of the 1980s.

In our days, the good Soviet tradition to stand figures of Ded Moroz and Sneguroska is almost forgotten.

Anyway, vintage Grandfather Frost and Snowgirl dolls are subjects for collecting.

There some interesting photos below. 

There some interesting photos below. 

1. Cotton, papier mache face – Grandfather Frost. Height 230mm. 1951.

Cotton, papier mache face - Grandfather Frost. Height 230mm. (1951 year)

2. Cotton, papier mache face – Grandfather Frost. Height 230mm. 1951.

Cotton, papier mache face - Grandfather Frost. Height 230mm. (1951 year)

3. Grandfather Frost, Papier mache doll. Height 180mm. The 1950s.

Grandfather Frost, Papier mache doll. Height 180mm. (of the 1950s)

4. Cotton, papier mache face. Height 330mm. 1961.

Cotton, papier mache face. Height 330mm. (1961 year)

5. Cotton, papier mache face. Height 330mm. 1962.

Cotton, papier mache face. Height 330mm. (1962 year)

6. Cotton, papier mache face. Height 330mm. 1962.

Cotton, papier mache face. Height 330mm. (1962 year)

7. Cotton, papier mache face. Height 520mm. 1965.

Cotton, papier mache face. Height 520mm. (1965 year)

8. Cotton, papier mache face. Height 300mm. 1966.

Cotton, papier mache face. Height 300mm. (1966 year)

9. Cotton, papier mache face. Height 300mm. The1960s.

Cotton, papier mache face. Height 300mm. (from the1960s)

10. Cotton, papier mache face. Height 330mm. 1962.

Cotton, papier mache face. Height 330mm. (1962 year)

11. Grandfather Frost, Papier mache doll. Height 20mm. The 1960s.

Grandfather Frost, Papier mache doll. Height 20mm. (from the 1960s)

12. Cotton, papier mache face. Height 450mm. 1972.

Cotton, papier mache face. Height 450mm. (1972 year)

13. Cotton, papier mache face. Height 450mm. The 1970-80s.

Cotton, papier mache face. Height 450mm. (the end of the 1970s)

14. Cotton, papier mache face. Height 21mm. 1982.

Cotton, papier mache face. Height 21mm. (1982 year)

Of course, that is not a full list for all the standing Ded Moroz dolls that were produced in the former Soviet Union. This post will be updated with new photos from time to time.