Halfway into January, I’ve finally made the time to photograph and now share vintage Christmas ornaments that decorate our tree.
The temperature swung from snow and arctic temperatures at the beginning of the week to nearly 60 degrees by week’s end. Crazy,right?! That melted the snow and allowed us to take down and pack away the outdoor strings of lights, animated deer and both sets of decorated urns.
Gosh I hate putting everything away! It’s a messy job, so time-consuming and always a challenge to find space to store everything! Of course, if I didn’t have so much stuff, it wouldn’t be such a big deal…
However, I’ve disciplined myself this year to take the time to do some cleaning, repairs, a little purging of damaged or no longer used decorations, catalog what I have, and reorganize storage a bit. Later this week, I’m even going to refresh a several wreaths and garlands. If I don’t do it now, it certainly won’t happen in time for next Christmas!
For the past several years I’ve been photographing and documenting my decorations for future reference. I just finished that project with vintage Christmas tree ornaments that my parents gave me after they downsized.
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A Gift of Christmas Past
Last year, I received the most lovely surprise gift from my parents — a small box of their old Christmas ornaments.
I thought Sistah B had already taken procession of any vintage family ornaments long ago. In fairness, Sister B was the one who showed interest way back when. Or rather, it was her husband, who already had a deep appreciation for vintage ornaments when she married him.
Today, I’m sharing some of my vintage ornaments, both those passed down from my mother and a few I’ve purchased. It’s not a big collections. But, what I do have are very special to me.
Not Just for Peacock Ornaments
Vintage ornaments go on the artificial tree in the living room, where they are safer than the drooping branches of the live tree in the family room.
It’s the same tree that holds my peacock ornament collection featured in the post, Peacock Ornaments Decorate Christmas Tree. That’s why you may notice peacock feathers and garland in the background of the pictures.
This first vintage Christmas ornament belonged to my parents.
I’m no expert vintage ornament collector. I just like what has meaning to me. If any of you know anything specific about any of the ornaments pictured in this post, please share!
My understanding is that the ones above and below are called an ‘indent.’ I love both the front and back of this teardrop-shaped ornament.The striped ornament below shows its age, but that’s part of what I like about it. I think they call that process, ‘oxidation‘ – when the paint color fades. To me it adds character. You know it’s adorned many a Christmas tree.
This next one I discovered at Trax Farms antique loft, where I also found several Santa and snowmen blow molds.
I love the color, oxidation, shape and indentation. Again, not an expert. There’s probably a term for this style? It looked like it needed a home on someone’s Christmas tree.
Next, is one of my favorite vintage Christmas ornament balls. The indent looks like it has a flower inside of it, and I especially like the color combination.
Here’s another teardrop that’s condition is worn, but what a pop of raspberry color and dazzling indentation!
My parents gave me these seashell-shape ornaments. Boy, I don’t remember these at all! Surprised my sister didn’t grab these, since she has lived on the water in Virginia and now South Carolina. Want to do a trade sistah?
Actually, I’ll have to get her to photograph the vintage Christmas ornaments she has from our parents. That way, we can all share and enjoy them, regardless of who’s tree they adorn.
I purchased this pair of white and red little felt angels from a local vintage shop. Not sure if they are actually ornaments or package decorations? They appealed to me because they are reminiscent of Christmas when I was a kid (a long, long time ago!).
Unfortunately, the store where I bought these is closing. I’ll miss stopping by and making little discoveries there.
A plastic choirboy holding a candle is one of my favorites. Hubby was a choirboy in elementary school. Unfortunately, we don’t have any vintage Christmas ornaments from his family’s tree.
This last ornament isn’t as old as the others.
I purchased the Santa ball the first year or two that my husband and I were married from a department store called, Kaufmanns. So, it’s older than my adult sons anyway!
The oldest vintage items that decorate the Christmas tree aren’t actually ornaments at all. Originally, the two cherished figures accessorized the Lionel train platform my dad made when my sisters and I were little.
Recently I discovered the skiers are older than I thought. They actually date to about 1940 when my grandfather put them under dad’s tree as a kid. How neat is that?
Find out more and see how I incorporated them into the centerpiece of Downhill Dinner at Ski Cabin Winter Table.
Vintage Christmas Angel Sits Atop Tree
The vintage Christmas tree decoration that I treasure the most is this golden angel tree-topper. My understanding is that my parents bought it for my first Christmas.
When I was young, I failed to see her beauty. I think we sometimes fail to appreciate items from our past until we age — and nostalgia kicks in. However, since I was newly married, the angel has always held a place of honor on our tree.
Someday, I hope she continues to grace a tree or decorate the home of a family member. After all, she’s been adorning one of our trees for over half a century now.
Do you have a vintage Christmas heirloom or two?
Preserving the Past
If you have a parent or grandparent who is downsizing, do make sure either you, a sibling, cousin, niece, or child take ownership and care of Christmas family treasures. Or, if vintage ornaments are just not your thing, there are many, many people who collect and value them.
Don’t have any vintage Christmas decorations passed down in your family? In addition to searching online at Etsy and eBay, January is suppose to be one of the best months to find old holiday items at resale stores like Goodwill. That’s because, rather than pack them away, people donate them.
If you are interested in seeing more vintage Christmas ornaments and decorations, check out Pinterest and the boards, Christmas: Vintage and Christmas Vintage Kitschmas.
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I can remember my mother and even my grandmother having a few ornaments that looked like these.. pretty sure most of them broke over the years with all us kids “helping” to decorate the tree.
With five kids and a live tree, breakage is probably why we don’t any ornaments from my husband’s family. I’d love to have even one! Some of those you see I purchased from a resale shop because they remind me of Christmas when I was growing up.
I love your vintage ornaments, Debbee. What a treasure to have from your parents.
To think when I was young I thought they were so ‘old fashioned’ LOL! The older I get, the more precious they are to me.
The dimpled ones are the most nostalgic for me. xx
Me too Andi! I like how they reflect the light too.
Oh my gosh, I have some of both my parents and my husband’s parents’ ornaments and some look exactly like yours! I love them all too and have supplemented them with many boxes of Shiny Brites picked up at thrift stores! xo Kathleen
Kathleen, you are so lucky to have ornaments from both parents and to find so many vintage ornaments — I’m envious! Thrift stores around here don’t seem to ever have them. Vintage, antique stores what a pricey sum. But, it’s the ones passed down my family I treasure most, especially the angel topper.
Enjoyed seeing your vintage ornaments. I, too, like the indents and especially like the pinks. When my kids got their own homes, most of “their” ornaments on the tree went with them so I could upgrade my tree with more glass bulbs–one of my favorite choices! I have thrifted or clearance shopped most of them! Added my favorite color, purple bulbs, too! Your tree is gorgeous! I would stand there for 15-20 min. just to look at all of them!
You’re on a Debbee’s Buzz holiday tour today Kathy! My sons both put up trees in their urban condo’s, but have no room to store all the ornaments I have of theirs at home. We put up both a live tree in the family room, and the artificial one in the living room. Someday, when they get married and have a house, I’ll box all their ornaments up for them. And, I’ll probably go to just one tree. Never seen the purple, they must be more rare?
I absolutely LOVE vintage ornaments and am lucky enough to have about a dozen that were passed down from my grandmother. They are just so beautiful and nostalgic! I’d love for you to come share your post over at You’re the Star. It’s a month long linky party, with new featured posts every week. Hope to see you soon!
Oooh, lucky you Cindy — vintage and family heirlooms both! Thanks for the invite, I’ll check it out!
Beautiful ornaments. When my parents moved I inherited all my Mom’s ornaments which included her Mom’s ornaments so many of these look familiar. They are so pretty.
What a treasure it must be to have some of your grandmother’s passed down in the family! I inherited some of mine when my parents downsized too. A few of the wooden, fabric and handmade ornaments hadn’t made their appearance on the tree for decades (but they hang on the live tree in the family room).
The skiers are too cute! I have a vintage Santa tree topper. Last year a nearby Macy’s was closing (boo) and I got some reproduction vintage glass ornaments . Your collection is so pretty!
I love vintage decorations (especially when passed down in the family), but also appreciate the reproductions you found Marie. So many stores closing breaks my heart! Purchasing items online lacks all the holiday atmosphere and joy of seeing and touching objects in person.