The hunt is on! If you’re looking for that special something this holiday season,that no one else will have, look no farther than incorporating vintage Christmas decorations into your home. And where better to start the hunt for these beauties than your local consignment or thrift store. Tis’ the season, as they say, but these decorations can show up at these shops in the middle of July, so you’ll want to always be on the lookout. Keep your eyes peeled for the following and your home will look fabulous with these vintage Christmas decorations.
Vintage Christmas Decorations: Santas
One of my prized possessions is the chalk-ware Santa Claus bank that sat under my great grandmother’s tree. She passed it to her daughter, my Grammy, and she to my Mom and Mom to me. It is sitting proudly on my mantle as I type this. My vintage Santa collection is diverse. I buy what appeals to me and display different ones each year, save the heirloom, which comes out annually.
Most of these Santa’s I have found for a few dollars each, at thrift stores, consignment shops and yard sales. I have everything from a McCoy cookie jar bank that was $2 and books for about $275 to vintage planters with Santa and the chimney, that would bring about $16 in my store. There are cups and pitchers, candy holders and rollie pollies. The forms are endless. So you’ll have a lot to choose from if you decide to collect them. The value isn’t why I collect them, it’s the joy. The hunt for them is exhilarating. But the smiles they bring every time I bring them out and how cool they make my home look is really what it’s all about.
Vintage Christmas Decorations: Nativity Sets
When I was a kid, my English Grandma had a massive nativity scene. She set it up over a set of nesting tables and there had to be more than 40 figures in all. If you were good (and lucky) she let you help her set up the kings, and the shepherds and the angels and all the lovely animals. She even had not one, but TWO camels for the magi. I loved that set.
When my Grandma passed the nativity went to one of my older cousins, never to be seen again. I miss it. I look for something similar when I’m out on the hunt, but have never seen one quite like it. But, if you’re looking for something in this area, consignment and thrift can often be a pleasant surprise. You might not find a whole 40 piece set like Grandma Eva’s, but a piece, here and there, for a few dollars, can yield quite the treasure trove over a short period of time. If you stick to the same general scale, odd pieces will work well together. And in the end you will have a nativity, like no other. Just remember, there were absolutely no first, or second lobsters in Bethlehem that evening, even if they said so in Love Actually. LOL
Vintage Ornaments Are A Great Score at Thrift
They say that the ornament designer, Christopher Radko, was inspired to start his company making beautiful (and expensive) glass ornaments when his family tree went over and all but a few became shards of glass. And now he’s a gazillionaire. This is just one example of how much people love these old ornaments. If you’re lucky enough to find some at thrift or consignment, grab them. This is another item that has been copied by many companies recently so use caution. But if the price is right, and you’re just going for the look, no harm.
Trees, Glorious Trees: Some of The Best Vintage Christmas Decorations
When I was a kid, my Uncle Joe and Aunt Lorraine got a silver Christmas tree one year. Us kids thought it was the bomb. My mother pronounced it gauche and that ended the possibility of us ever having one. Just a few years later, these trees went out of fashion and were forgotten. And then… the resurgence. Companies copied them, and lucky people pulled them out of their parents’ attics. Collecting these beauties requires really knowing vintage from retro (see my previous blog: Is This An Antique? ), especially if you’re paying a large amount for one. But they can be so much fun to hunt for and even more fun to own.
The other trees to definitely look for at consignment and thrift stores are bottle brush trees (small, table-top trees resembling a bottle used to clean a baby bottle). These are all the rage right now and have been copied by every retailer under the sun. So make sure, once again, if you’re paying for vintage that it’s what you’re getting.
The other tree that has come back into fashion is the ceramic, kiln-fired, lighted Christmas tree. First made popular in the 1940’s, this tree was in almost everyone’s home in the 1960’s and 70’s. Then the fad died. For years after I first opened I couldn’t give these vintage Christmas decorations away… but then. These trees became hugely popular a few years ago. Some of the early vintage ones now bring hundreds of dollars. Again, they’ve been knocked off, so buyer beware. If you shop with a reputable dealer, like Consignments Ltd., however, you will definitely know what you are buying and pay a fair price.
Vintage Christmas Decorations: Tree Stands and Lights
My friend Holly scored the most lovely vintage (and lighted) tree stand I’ve EVER seen (above). It’s a stunner for sure and you may get very lucky and find something like it at your local thrift or consignment shop. But, and it’s a big but, do not plan to plug these beauties in without a thorough look see by a trained electrician. These stands, and vintage Christmas lights, as well, can cause a fire if you’re not careful. So you may want to stick to non-electrified, vintage tree stands and vintage Christmas light reproductions to be on the safe side.
If you are on the hunt for vintage Christmas decorations, I surely hope you enjoy it. And, as always, I’d love to hear about your treasures, so shoot me an email, if you like?