Vintage Holiday Decorations

Charlotte Gerber
A vintage glass Christmas ornament.

Vintage holiday decorations are a great way to spruce up your home at Christmas, or any time of the year. From bears to mice or feather trees to bottle brush wreaths, there are great decorations to suit everyone's taste and budget.

Vintage Holiday Collectibles

There are many different and unique vintage holiday decorations that you may choose to begin collecting. Basically, vintage decorations are ones that are several decades old, such as the ones you had in your home when you were a child.

Collectible Ornaments

Ornaments are perhaps the easiest holiday decoration to begin collecting. They can be found just about anywhere, from yard and garage sales to auctions on eBay. Odds are pretty good there are some in your parent's garage or grandparent's attic. As with any collection, choose the items you like the most. If you collect ornaments you don't really enjoy, they'll just collect dust and take up storage space. The following artisans and merchants sell vintage holiday ornaments that tend to grow in value each year:

  • Christopher Radko - features beautiful hand blown glass ornaments
  • Fitz and Floyd - popular for their Charming Tales mouse decorations
  • Hallmark - creates a unique collection of ornaments each year
  • Department 56 - best known for their Snowbabies ornaments that grow in popularity each year
  • Victorian Trading Company - sells a collection of beautiful new and reproduction Christmas ornaments made in the Victorian tradition

Other Decorations

Vintage indoor, as well as outdoor, decorations are always popular with collectors. Vintage outdoor decorations include Nativity sets, Santa, reindeer, snowmen and candy canes. These cute items can usually be found at garage sales during the summer, or church and school sales near the holidays. They can also easily be found in many antique stores. These decorations are usually inexpensive and when collected en masse, they can help you make an impressive scene in your front yard.

Newly popular items found on large porches or big front lawns are vintage horse carriages and sleighs. Expect to pay several hundred dollars for these, and you'll need a large storage area to keep it in. If you love Victorian era collectibles, these could be the ultimate decorations for your home.Indoor decorations run the gamut from mantle decorations to large room decorations, such as a life size Santa Claus.

There are numerous types of indoor decorations to choose from, and your display area space will largely determine the extent of your collection. Avid collectors of holiday decorations have been known to add on to their homes in order to create Christmas rooms to hold their dozens of decorated holiday trees.

There are many merchants on the Internet that sell vintage deocrations. Great places to shop include:

  • Holliday Way - carries a large selection of gently used vintage Christmas decorations from the 1940's to the 1990's.
  • Christmas Decorations Gifts Store - offers a wide variety of Christmas lights, including vintage 1940's bubble lights.
  • Home Traditions - features vintage and reproduction holiday decorations, including feather trees that were popular during the 1930's.
  • Christmas4Ever - a wide selection of vintage holiday decorations including Santas, candy dishes, ornaments and more.

Artificial Christmas Trees

Christmas trees can be collectibles too. Once artificial trees became popular, manufacturers made them in a variety of ways, beginning in the 1920's and to the present. Feather trees were popular in the 1920's to the 1950's. These trees feature sparse limbs and feather-like pine needles. If you can find one in good shape, use it to display your vintage ornaments from the 1920's and 1930's.

In the 1960's another type of artificial tree was all the rage. Aluminum trees could be found in many homes and some were even colored. Silver, pink and blue are the most common shades in aluminum trees still on the market. If you find one for sale, grab it and display it with ornaments that are all the same size, such as flecked glass ornaments or other aluminum ornaments. The shinier, the better!

Artificial trees during the past several decades have progressively begun to look more realistic. They may be pre-lit, or they may be green or white. Fiber optic trees are still popular, and they may well be the next highly collectible vintage trees.

Caring for Your Decorations

How you care for your decorations may have a big impact on your future holiday displays. The older the ornament or tree, the more careful you need to be with the storage container and storage area. For example, flocked glass ornaments may become discolored and spotty if stored in a cold space or a very humid one. Older artificial trees may easily become moldy if stored in a humid basement.

The best way to store most Christmas ornaments is in a cool, not cold, dry place. Attics with good ventilation usually fit the bill. Basements that are cool and have a dehumidifier are also good choices to store decorations. Re-introduce cold ornaments into a warm house by first allowing them to come to room temperature in their boxes. Older ornaments, especially glass ones, may crack or become spotty if exposed to a drastic temperature change too quickly.

A Year Round Hobby

Holiday decorations will bring you years of joy if stored correctly, and you can easily add to your collections by shopping on the Internet any time of year. You may enjoy your growing collection so much that you may simply decide to leave your decorations up year round!

Vintage Holiday Decorations