Vintage Christmas Décor That Deserves a Comeback This Year—And Where To Find It
In a world that’s allowed both red Solo cup wreaths and cactus Christmas trees to exist, we’re just wishing for an old-fashioned Christmas. We’re talking holiday décor so nostalgic that Norman Rockwell himself would get misty-eyed. Some things, like Nana’s homemade quilted tree skirt, can’t be replaced. But others, like those adorable knee-hugger elves and quirky bubble lights, can (and should) be brought back faster than you can say “jingle bells.” For a vintage Christmas tree, may we suggest aluminum or flocked? Or, even smaller, ceramic or bottle brush? For your mantel, a little Christmas village feels quite cozy, and those snowbabies sure are cute. These vintage Christmas decorations bring us right back to Mama’s house. Read on for the vintage Christmas décor you should buy before it’s gone. (Don’t worry, we’re showing you just where to shop it!)
Aluminum Trees with Color Wheels
In the 1950s, aluminum trees became the first non-green faux Christmas trees that found a place in many a holiday home. As an unspoken rule, they were always illuminated by a rotating color wheel. Though one of these may resemble a festive tinsel tree you can find at your local Target, a real aluminum tree is actually quite rare to find.
BUY IT: $27.49; target.com
As kids, we couldn't get enough of these bubbling lights on the Christmas tree. Believe it or not, the space age-esque bulbs were patented in the 1930s. Mainly popular from the 1940s through the 1970s, bubble lights eventually took a backseat to miniature "fairy" lights.
Byers Caroling Dolls
BUY IT: from $19.95; etsy.com
Beginning in the 1960’s, designer Joyce Byers hand-crafted these caroling dolls first for her mantle, then as gifts for friends and family, then—as they become a national phenomenon—for every shopper during the holiday season. Just looking at those bellowing faces makes us want to sing "Silent Night."
Putz-Style Christmas Villages
BUY IT: $58 for set of 4; etsy.com
One of our favorite vintage items, Putz villages are just the eclectic Christmas touch that deserves a spot on the mantle. Originally, the villages were humble, made with either cardboard or thin wood. But once glitter got involved, these things really soared.
Ceramic Light-Up Trees
These ceramic trees are coming back with a cheery vengeance. Perfectly sized for a tabletop, these light-up trees give a festive touch to any room—so much so that some bought a smaller, matching night light for their childhood bedrooms. (Okay, it was us.)
Shiny Brite Ornaments
BUY IT: from $6.95; etsy.com
Few people know that these snow-white porcelain figurines were originally intended to be reusable Christmas cake toppers, originating in the late 1800s in Germany. Snowbabies depicted traditional Christmas scenes or activities and were covered in crushed porcelain to look like fallen snowflakes.
Bottle Brush Trees
BUY IT: from $21; etsy.com
Let's be honest. We never really stopped loving these adorably mini trees that come in all shapes, sizes, and colors. They'd make quite the addition to any Christmas village display.
BUY IT: $16.95; etsy.com
These were always too cute to actually light up on a dark winter's night, and we're fine with that. Seeing Santa's hat or Rudolph's antler ablaze might have scarred our young selves.
BUY IT: $34; etsy.com
Before your grandkids were begging for a similar, but modernized, Elf on the Shelf, these little knee-huggers were sitting quite cozily on mantles everywhere.
Traditional Christmas Pyramids
Rooted in German tradition, a Christmas pyramid is made up of an outer frame lined with candle holders, a central carousel section, and a rotor at the top. When the candles are lit, the warm air propels the rotor around and starts the carousel, which typically features traditional nativity scenes. Or maybe it's just (Christmas) magic.
BUY IT: $27.98 for set of 9; walmart.com
We're not surprised that people wished to replicate the insanely regal, incredibly stunning Fabergé eggs created in Russia back in the late 1800s and early 1900s. More often than not, the colorful ornaments would be made of light paper-mache and decorated with pretty designs.
Flocked Christmas Trees
BUY IT: $91.99; wayfair.com
Sometimes, the only way you'd get a white Christmas was by spraying down your Christmas tree with a delightful mix of adhesive and cellulose fibers. Popular at the same time as those aluminum trees, one could get the not-so-natural snowy look by using Sno-Flok home kits, which would be applied using a gun that attached to a vacuum cleaner. That definitely never made a mess, right?
Holly Jolly Rock Santa
BUY IT: from $55; amazon.com
Though this certainly wasn't the first singing Santa, it definitely was (and still is) the best. Singing along to Alan Jackson's "Have a Holly Jolly Christmas," this vintage Santa blew up in the 90s. We can still see our little cousin pushing the button over and over again until one of the adults finally lost it. Ah, the memories.
Christmas Nesting Dolls
BUY IT: $4; etsy.com
These classic tree accessories will never melt away. Akin to the flocked tree trend, glass icicle ornaments helped create a winter wonderland, right in your home.