15 Enchanting Vintage Christmas Ornaments
Christmas evokes so many emotions, traditions, and a sense of nostalgia. That’s why finding a rare vintage or heirloom ornament is like being transported back to happier times spent decorating during the holidays. The problem, today, is that most modern decorations are the same and stocked in most stores, leaving very little room for originality when it comes to trimming the tree. Long gone are the golden days of dangling tinsel, covering the tree in faux snow, and hanging delicate glass and family baubles carefully on each branch. Luckily, though, flea markets, antique malls, online auctions, and Etsy have those same elaborate treasures up for grabs that we all grew up admiring. Here are 15 retro ornaments that make it easier to reminisce on old traditions, while embracing new ones this holiday season. Happy decorating!
These elaborate indented ornaments were originally crafted to reflect the candlelight on Christmas trees during the Victorian era.
For a similar look, shop these vintage-inspired ornaments: Shiny Brite Reflector Rounds, $35; target.com.
And we can't forget about the final touch. In the '60s, people didn't always crown their trees with angels and stars. No, bright and colorful finials were the popular toppers of choice. Add an eye-catching topper like this one to the top of your tree this holiday season.
Buy it: Shiny Brite Tree Topper, $29; westelm.com
Vintage Santa Ornament
Nothing says Christmas quite like a happy jolly Santa, and this vintage-inspired ornament would make a great collector's item.
Buy it: Old World Christmas Santa Glass Blown Ornament, $21; amazon.com
Around the 20th century, many would decorate the tree with figurals. These German glass ornaments were typically in the form of grapes, cars, birds, fish, and frogs to suit the family's fancy.
Wooden Rocking Horse
Wooden, hand-painted, Victorian-style rocking horses were also commonly used in the past.
BUY IT: $12.95; etsy.com
"Kugel" is German for sphere. Kugel ornaments are part of the figural family, and were first designed by German glass blowers. You can still find these vibrant ornaments today, many in the form of balls, grapes, eggs, teardrops, and berries.
Taking its name from a German town, you may remember hanging these paper, cardboard-like ornaments. Very few of them remain today, which makes them extremely valuable and pricey. Search vintage marketplaces like Etsy to score nostalgic dresden ornaments for your tree, like these sparkly reindeer.
Buy it: Vintage German Dresden Reindeer Snowflake Ornament, $32; etsy.com
What we now hang as individual ornaments was once strung together as a garland to wrap around the tree.
Teardrop Glass Bauble
Glass ornaments didn't always come in the shape of the classic balls we trim our trees with today. Teardrop styles in pastel colors were often used as a contrast to aluminum Christmas trees of the Victorian age.
For a similar look, shop these vintage-inspired ornaments: Brilliant Glass Ornaments, $48; sundancecatalog.com.
Wood and Cotton Ornament
Santa's little helpers were created from wood in the past and clothed in traditional elf's garb and colors made of cotton. You can even personalize this hand-crafted girl or boy elf.
Buy it: from $13; etsy.com
Goose Egg Baby
These goose egg ornaments were often used as delicate decorations for a baby's first Christmas. Available for baby boys and girls, this old eggshell tradition is made even more special with the addition of lights to really add some sparkle to the tree. Search Etsy or eBay for these hard-to-find collectibles.
Bottle Brush Trees
Melding different styles of Asian and European influences, these hollowed-out ornaments were created to highlight the very best of the season, including nativity scenes, snow, and other festive moments. Vintage dioramas, like the angel playing the horn and the Three Wise Men pictured above, can be purchased here.
Victorian Beaded Egg
Victorian beaded egg ornaments evoke a nostalgic sense of holiday cheer. Search Etsy or eBay for these vintage, one-of-a-kind, glamorous ornaments. Or find new takes on the old-fashioned style, like this beaded bauble from Terrain.
Buy it: Beaded Velvet Ornament, $24; shopterrain.com