Vintage Decorating for Christmas is hotter than ever. Christmas is a time for nostalgia, and many of us have family ornaments and keepsakes that have achieved heirloom status, at least in our own homes. Others enjoy the hunt for vintage items to add to their Christmas repertoire, or collect vintage Christmas like the members of the Facebook Group, The Golden Glow of Christmas. Below are some ideas to get the Christmas spark burning and your home truly ready for the holidays. We have so many ideas that this blog is just part one – look out for part two next week!
Miniature tea sets as ornaments are great decorations for Christmas teas or dining room tables. Individual pieces cost anywhere from a few dollars to more costly premium hand painted pieces. Small Blue Willow or Japanese luster dishes are very cute. Slip an old ribbon through the cup handle or creamer and teapot and tie it to the tree branches. Superglue hooks to saucers and make sure lids are glued on sugar bowls and coffee pots. Espresso or demitasse cups or children’s tin or china tea sets look wonderful on trees. You can also thread them on long scarves to create unusual tree garlands.
Victorian Inspired Décor: Prince Albert is credited with introducing the Christmas tree as we know it into Anglo-American culture, and Charles Dickens 1843 A Christmas Carol has become the iconic set of instructions for celebrating Christmas. Victorian ornaments are the most sought after of all glass blown and Dresden ornaments, but there are many examples dating from around 1850 to 1925 that are still available at reasonable prices. So influential was Victorian Christmas style that ornaments continued to be made in the Victorian tradition into the 1920s or later. Dresden ornaments are gilded paper or embossed cardboard, often representing angels or even animals and insects. Cotton batting figures with faces made from Victorian scraps are popular and the originals are a must-have.
Shiny Brites and glass balls in brandy snifters, apothecary jars, and wreaths. Woolworth’s was THE place for getting glass ornaments like Shiny Brites. They came in various sizes, from very small ones in boxes around four by six inches long, to very large balls in blues, purples, red, green, silver, and gold. Some were very large and round, while a few were teardrop shaped. Most were made in the USA, but a few were made in Japan. Older examples are German.
They are great on a Christmas tree, but also look terrific displayed in apothecary jars or large brandy snifters. They can be carefully glued into grapevine wreathes to make colorful decorations for doors or windows. Some examples are embellished with snow scenes, or glitter. A few are of two toned glass. They can be hung from antique ribbons or scarves in windows; hang them at varying lengths for best effect.It would be fun to arrange them in jars and glass vases of different sizes on a window ledge or mantel. They would look great arranged by color or size.
Blow mold figures of Santa, Raggedy Ann and Andy, Crèche figures, snowmen, carolers, and other icons of the holiday are very popular collectors. Arranging a group on the porch to light up the night create a warm tableau full of good memories. Many collectors prefer the smaller models that are around 18 inches in height. We used to put ours on the window sill of our picture window; others line them up on mantels, end tables or dressers. They look best when grouped together.
Sixties toys as ornaments create charming trees for collectors, kids’ rooms, or family rooms. As the Baby Boomers age, they become more and more nostalgic, and want to collect the things they loved as children. Sixties ornaments of chenille, soft plastic, and papier mache are becoming more and more popular. Small dolls from the fifties, sixties, and seventies including PeeWees, Dawn, Dolly Darlings, Heidi, Peepful Pals, Liddle Kiddles, Wendykins, Cameo Kewpies, Skipper, Scooter, Storybook Dolls and others look great on a traditional green tree. Accent them with Shiny Brites and tinsel garlands, preferably vintage. Glass bead garlands from this era are also fun and cost around $10.00 or less. Mardis Gras beads give a similar effect.
These are a few ideas for using vintage items to decorate. There is no end to the ideas or combinations for using antique and vintage items as Christmas decorations. It is the ultimate recycling and repurposing, but also preserves memories and inspires artistic endeavors.
Watch out for ‘part two’ of vintage Holiday decorating ideas next week!
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