16 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 16 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.
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.
"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. But finding interesting shapes like this colorful vulture may be worth it.
What we now hang as individual ornaments was once strung together as a garland to wrap around the tree.
More of those precious Victorian-era reflectors.
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.
Victorian Beaded Egg
Crafted in the 1970s, you can find this intricate set of three vintage ornaments on Etsy.
BUY IT: $38; etsy.com
Vintage Santa Ornament
Nothing says Christmas quite like a happy jolly Santa, and this 1940s vintage ornament would make a great collector's item.
BUY IT: $28; etsy.com
These soft, fruity, impossible-to-break ornaments were originally created from cotton batting. You can purchase a variety of styles and shapes from online antique retailer, Betty Bell Antiques.
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: $10.50; 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.
BUY IT: $39.99-$45.99; etsy.com
Bottle Brush Trees
Bottle brush trees were commonly used and group together as fireplace mantel decorations. But you can also turn these frosted trees into ornaments that resemble miniature snow globes, thanks to this step-by-step tutorial.
Wooden Rocking Horse
Wooden, hand-painted, Victorian-style rocking horses were also commonly used in the past.
BUY IT: $8.70; etsy.com
Melding different styles of Asian and European influences, these hollowed-out ornament were created to highlight the very best of the season, including nativity scenes, snow, and other festive moments. Vintage diaramas, like the angel playing the horn and the Three Wise Men pictured above, can be purchased here.
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.
BUY IT: $28.95; etsy.com