gift guides & roundups holiday

Roundup: Vintage Christmas Ornaments

Roundup: Vintage Christmas Ornaments - roomfortuesday.com Good day, design friends! Peggi here. I’m back to share hearty December greetings and a renewed obsession with vintage Christmas ornaments. Before we begin, a confession. I am decorating a tree for the first time in… over 25 years (it’s a $2 thrifted, tabletop number, but still). Even though I currently own zero ornaments, I find their glittery gloriousness wildly irresistible. I found SO many exceptional pieces while preparing this post. The longer I searched, the more covetable examples I discovered. I have yet to decide how I will deck my own diminutive evergreen, but I’ve got ideas aplenty! Click through for more holiday inspiration, my relevant ruminations, and a spectacularly shimmery roundup!

While stunning and unique new ornaments can certainly be found, my heart simply adores vintage. Buying used items, of course, assists my attempts to avoid consumerism and waste. (Especially challenging in this season) I also appreciate the often high-quality materials and gorgeous patina. Mercury glass, crystal, porcelain, silver plate and brass add lasting beauty.

Although they might be more expensive, these well-loved pieces could grace trees for generations. And who can resist an item with history? Blast my darn romantic sensibilities, but I can’t help imagining scenes of Christmas trees past. I welcome the energy of these cherished decorations. 

Click right on the images to be redirected to the source, or use the numbered links below to shop my finds.

01: waterford crystal snowflake // 02: crystal bell // 03: large mercury glass pinecone // 04: three gorham silver plate snowflakes  // 05: danbury mint bell // 06: pewter peacock // 07: geometric danbury mint star // 08: pair of reed and barton bird ornaments // 09: mikasa crystal snowflake // 10: large mercury glass cone // 11: big glass acorn // 12: two golden glass // 13: large glass and mica pine cone // 14: six stamped metal stars // 15: mod danbury mint snowflake // 16: long mikasa crystal bell // 17: two gorham silver doves // 18: set of eight mercury glass birds // 19: pair of silver plate doves // 20: annual mma snowflake // 21: waterford crystal snowstar // 22: snowcapped acorn // 23: lenox annual bell // 24: gold-rimmed mikasa bell // 25: large pair of acrylic swans // 26: set of 6 filigree bells // 27: fantastical danbury mint snowflake //

Now to the roundup! For this collection, I limited my choices to a broader winter theme: snowflakes, bells, birds, and cones or acorns. This girl requires twinkle to get through winter darkness, so I don’t want Santas in case my decorations linger into late January (no shade if you do)! I also narrowed materials to metallics and crystal. Because sparkly. As for my top picks, this time I truly can’t decide. If funds and space were no object, I might go from zero trees to one in every room. Ha. Why don’t you tell me your favorites instead? Would any of these lovelies suit your current scheme?

FYI. Pay close attention to the numbered links. Although I’ve mostly pictured single ornaments, several listings are for multiples!

Since I’m asking questions, here’s another. How do you feel about themed trees? I treasure a theme. Naturally, I value the cohesiveness parameters provide. Look at the luscious silver extravaganza from Martha Stewart above. A sterling statement! As an indecisive magpie, I also relish the role of rules. Since you make them yourself, the edicts can be as broad or narrow as you wish. My first tree was clad in bells, gold and iridescence. I had a blast hunting for fitting ornaments! My recent finds have me seriously contemplating a snowflake tree. Wouldn’t all those crystal, silver and gold stunners be magical? How about a birds-only tree? The avian examples in the collage represent a fraction of those available. So many choices! Since my enthusiasm clearly benefits from guardrails, I think of a theme as an intentionality tool, as well. Something to ponder before I purchase. Team theme.

With their timeless aesthetic and nostalgic appeal, vintage ornaments beg to be collected! One advantage to acquiring pieces slowly? It takes the sting out of sometimes shocking price tags. At $50-$200 per crystal snowflake, the forecast at my house does not call for a blizzard. I can, however, justify the occasional splurge. Another benefit to collections? Simplified gifting! After all, not everyone possesses Sarah’s knack in this department. Once folks know that you’re a connoisseur though, they’ll be thrilled to bestow a perfect little extravagance. Win, win! The greatest facet of accumulating a trove of treasures…the hunt! Every thrift stop and FB Marketplace search becomes a quest. Numerous manufacturers understand this and create annual ornament series. In fact, 2022 marks the 50th year of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s star ornament like those featured in #20. Why not begin your own tradition?

That’s a wrap, friends. I’d love to know how you decorate for the holidays! Minimal? Woodsy? Traditional? Glam? Gimme all the details! Whether your tree is bedazzled with vintage silver, bestrewn with handmade reindeer, or you enjoy another custom entirely, I wish you all the loving warmth and sweet nostalgia of the season. Until next time.

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  • Reply
    Lauren
    December 2, 2022 at 7:24 am

    Good morning and Christmas salutations to you Peggi! I love the topic this morning. I’m still slightly in shock that you’ve not had a tree in so long; I pictured a well curated and colorfully collected number gracing your home. I can’t wait to hear what you land on for the one you’ll decorate this year. I’m team theme all the way- but I don’t change the theme every year. Amongst my Christmas ornaments there are three themes: porcelain nostalgia, childhood adorations, and wooded whimsy. All of my ornaments have been collected over the years: the porcelain is my personal favorite and the ones I’m drawn to. The childhood collection began with three Care Bear ornaments my mother gifted me the first year on my own. She selected the Care Bears because that’s what she used in my nursery as a baby. That collection came first- each year I would buy one or two that reminded me of my childhood, and for years that was my only theme. Then I started finding old ornaments at yard sales. Beautiful white porcelain numbers with gorgeous paint adorning them. A few favorites are my porcelain choir angel who always graces the uppermost branches, and my pair of porcelain turtle doves. The wooded whimsy came along because of Jeff- he loves the natural looking ornaments and organic elements. Pinecones, bells, snowflakes, animals…there are so many ornaments in my collection that translate to each theme that really the only change made to my tree each year is what type/color of ribbon I use. Were I to have a “vintage only” tree, that’s where the parameters get more specific for me. I love the wooden ornaments and vintage glass ornaments of yesteryear. The weirder the better. One secret about me is I like truly weird ornaments best. I used to buy one ornament every year that was the weirdest I could find. Jeff sadly made me donate a ton of them several years ago because he couldn’t stand them. What’s wrong with a vintage glass flying pig?? Lately I’ve been seeing the wooden ornaments I remember from my grandmother’s tree on a lot of the vintage pages I follow. It’s making me want a good thrift/antiquing day. Anyhow- this comment is far too long for posterity. I hope you have the most fun seeking the ornaments that fit your fancy. My favorites of the roundup are the silver peacock, the pinecones, and #19. I hope you have a wonderful day Peggi! Xo

    • Reply
      Peggi
      December 2, 2022 at 8:59 am

      Good morning, Lauren! Thanks for sharing all about your ornament collection. I love that you have such an eclectic mix. The porcelain pieces sound particularly lovely! It’s funny that you mention wooden ornaments. Clearly, I didn’t include any in the roundup, but I got to thinking about them later. Sarah’s tree from a couple years ago featured many, and I forgot how much I liked them! I could definitely dig a woodsy themed tree-I’m into the mushroom ornaments I’m seeing everywhere, too. I am serious when I say I could easily curate multiple themed trees if I had the resources. I came perilously close to thrifting a small pink tree recently! (Honestly, maybe a tiny twinge of regret…) As I was perusing sites for new ornament offerings, I noticed many of the “weird” sort you mentioned; a stick of butter, a glue gun, a baked potato? Ha! Whatever makes you happy, I say. This year I may just craft a jingly garland, add some pretty ribbon and sit with that. I’m just having fun. Cheers to a beautiful Pizza Friday and enjoying the season!🌲🍕💜

  • Reply
    Danna
    December 2, 2022 at 9:45 am

    Happy Friday!
    I too am surprised you have not had a tree up in a long time. Hope you will grace us with a picture of your tree once it is decorated. Vintage ornaments have my heart! I especially love the mercury, hand blown or felt ones. Going through the Martha Stewart article brought so many memories of ornaments that I have seen, own or family used. Have you seen all the trees people are decorating with tinsel? I am 70/30 on trying it this year. It’s the clean up that has me paused.
    Our main tree is very traditional with balls, birds, floral picks and ribbon. Each year I get excited to find that special ornament (usually hand blown) to commemorate the year. These go on mine & my husbands tree in our bedroom. Unfortunately this is our second year with all our holiday ornaments stored in our storage unit. In the back corner of course. I give you one guess who put them there. Ha!
    No matter the size, color, or theme it is the twinkle of the lights and memories for me. Thank you for the trip down memory lane Peggi! Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

    • Reply
      Peggi
      December 2, 2022 at 11:43 am

      Hello, Danna! Don’t you just love classic Martha? I think I have issues from the 90s that I still adore. Tinsel wins the nostalgia award for sure! As the oldest at home, I “orchestrated” (bossy since the day I was born!) tree decorating. I distinctly recall demonstrating to my younger siblings how to gently apply 2-3 strands at a time. Haha! The real trick was that I painstakingly removed and stored the tinsel for reuse the next year. Ah memories. I say go for the tinsel! But wait, you have a tree in your bedroom? I’m officially jealous! Our room isn’t that spacious, but I have been contemplating how to incorporate some seasonal cheer. Boo to having your cherished items in storage. All for a good cause, but frustrating nonetheless. I love your tradition of seeking a special ornament each year. I bet that tree is magical! I wholeheartedly agree that the lights and the memories make the season. We’re just a bunch of softies around here! Thank you for sharing and happy Pizza Friday to you!🌲💜🍕

  • Reply
    Colleen
    December 2, 2022 at 3:55 pm

    Hello Peggi
    I hope you had an amazing Thanksgiving! Hosting 22 for dinner is no small feat 🥂🥳🤩 I’m sure everyone was incredibly grateful and appreciative of all your hard work 🌟 I imagine it was a AMAZING!
    Sorry I’m late on the blog today we just arrived back in Burlington from our journey home.
    I also can’t believe you haven’t had a Christmas tree in so many years. Totally shocked 😳 So happy you have scored a tabletop beauty. Yay!
    It will be so fun to ponder and scheme a theme. A vintage tree with vintage ornaments sound stunning and incredibly special. Your roundup is fabulous and many would be incredible on my tree 🥰
    I was fortunate to inherit my mother’s colorful glass ornaments from the 1950’s they are so wonderfully special to me. Nostalgic childhood memories emerge every Christmas when I pull them out each year. So fun!
    I adore a theme too and change it up a bit each year. I’ve collected ornaments over the past 35 years or so. Many were gifted to us along the way but I would say in terms of style a mix of nature and glamor are a common theme. Crystal birds, pine cones, velvet ribbon and this year I will add the wooden garland from Sarah’s shop.
    As super exciting visits from my daughters two American bullies are a detriment to my mothers vintage beauties they get displayed now in a crystal bowl on the countertop to be treasured and kept safe ☺️ I will pass them onto my daughter one day because now apparently vintage is cool to her now 😂
    I thoroughly enjoyed your post as always and I wish you an absolutely beautiful holiday season ahead 🥂❤️ 🌲 Your post is so timely as I will be pulling out the tree from our crawl space this weekend and get the festivities going! Have a splendid Friday and weekend friend 🍕

    • Reply
      Peggi
      December 2, 2022 at 5:42 pm

      Hello Coleen! So glad you’re safely returned home. We did, indeed, have the loveliest Thanksgiving. The bulk of the cooking is always handled masterfully by my bff and her hubs. What a feast! Would you believe despite my best intentions that I got zero photos of the tables? Ha. I will say the crystal candlesticks just sparkled!
      Oh! A colorful collection of ornaments from the 50s? What a cherished inheritance! I can just imagine the joy of unpacking and hanging them every year. Um, definitely keep them out of reach of the bullies! The things we do for our fur (grand)babies.
      I also love your mix of crystal birds, pine cones and the wood garland. That tree will be a sight to behold. What a fun weekend you’ve got ahead! (Except maybe for the crawlspace part…Ha!) Thanks as always for sharing! Cheers to homecomings, traditions and Pizza Friday!💜🌲

  • Reply
    Sarah
    December 2, 2022 at 4:29 pm

    I can’t wait to see your tree, Peggi! I have a feeling it’s going to become a regular tradition from here on out! They’re so fun and cozy for winter. For me, instead of a themed tree- I prefer to stick to a color palette. Most of my ornaments have been collected over the years. I typically add a couple new ones each holiday, and I try to keep them pretty neutral… that way I can switch my color palette easily and keep reusing the same decor year after year. I lean toward silver, gold, wood, glass, and ceramic ornaments (sort of like my regular decor… I try to keep it classic). I love that each one holds a memory of the season! Of course my vintage ones are the most special. Thanks for sharing with us! Have a fabulous weekend :)

    • Reply
      Peggi
      December 2, 2022 at 6:08 pm

      Hey friend! Oh dear, I fear folks’ expectations for my $2 tree are frighteningly high! Ha. I’m having fun with it though, so that’s my goal. Your tree is always beautiful and classic, and to me a palette is a kind of theme. I will say that I also (surprisingly) enjoy neutral ornaments like you mentioned; metallics, crystal, and wood. My house is colorful, and any seasonal decor has to coordinate. (Just a personal preference!) So…sparkly goes with everything. When I stopped putting up a tree, I gifted my ornament collection to a friend. If I decide to renew a tree tradition, I guess I’ll have to begin a new collection! Darn. My pizza timer just rang, so…have the most wonderful weekend, Sarah!💜🍕🌲

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