Creating vintage Christmas displays, the Christmas trees, the miniature dioramas, and all the many little festive vignettes is so much fun! Here are a few of the vintage Christmas displays I have, along with a few details and a tiny bit of vintage ornament education.
On the main Christmas tree in the living room, I have mostly vintage ornaments mixed with the ornaments I’ve received from my family over the years. (Yesterday I showed you the ‘Vintage Christmas Tree Reflectors’) This year I replaced the 1990’s gold plastic bead strings with authentically old tinsel garland.
I found a treasure of 5 boxes of this tinsel garland NOS. For you non-vintage shoppers, NOS is short for ‘new old stock’, and can bring butterflies to my vintage collector’s tummy! This vintage tinsel garland, from the 1940’s-50’s was brand new in the original boxes! It’s made of real metal tinsel, not that plastic stuff we see in the stores today.
For my tree I used 3 of the boxes, and will carefully wind it back up in the original boxes at the end of the season for next year.
The graphics on the vintage boxes of tinsel garland is just precious, so I have it placed under the tree on the vintage tree skirt.
Last year I switched over to a fake tree. The tree I selected has room between the branches for ornaments to hang and is overall quite narrow to fit in anywhere. The brocade tree skirt I made several years ago was for a fatter tree, and looked ridiculous under this skinny tree. Before I shopped for a smaller and vintage skirt to replace it though, I measured out the too big one, carefully folding the excess under until I determined the size that looked best for the new skinny tree. Sometimes just seeing the numbers on paper isn’t good enough. Seeing the real live example to see if it’s pleasing to the eye helps tremendously.
This smaller vintage tree skirt with the puffy sequined bells was in perfect condition. I love the charming handmade quality of each sequin sewn in place.
Another sweet little addition for under the tree is a small collection of vintage wind-up or nodding toys. There are many toys to collect for this idea, so I kept this collection inside the parameter of having to be vintage, an animal and be wind-up or nodding. I’d be thrilled to ever find a wind-up nodder!! But until then, either or will suffice.
I was tickled when my husband noticed the nodding bear as he exclaimed, ‘Hey, I used to have one like that when I was little!’ I had no idea when I bought it what I thought looked charming he would feel a childhood connection to.
The addition of other ornaments still in their original boxes, carefully set on a simple antique stool gives the impression of the decorating festivities continuing. The vintage Noma ‘Safety Plug’ Christmas Lights are NOS and will remain that way as long as I own them. Old Christmas lightbulbs get too hot for me to embrace using! But they sure are cute in their original box.
I actually have a few other ornaments in their original boxes tucked here and there around the house. Like this box of smaller blue glass ornaments. The box is way more charming than the plain balls. With the ornaments still in their original box just setting on the bookshelf is a simple little vignette.
On the drop front desk I have these wonderful vintage MCM Eskimo ornaments I found at an estate sale a few years ago. They too are in their original vintage 1960’s Pier 1 box.
I mixed them in the miniature vignette inside the drop front desk. Taking advantage of the little cubbies of the desk to display sweet little vintage Christmas decorations that might otherwise just get ‘lost’ on display.
Perfect for the height of my smaller grandchildren to appreciate, my 6 year old grandson right away was drawn to the miniature iron fence, around the vintage musical angel decoration. He’s a Lego connoisseur and creates wonderfully creative towns and space stations and such with his Lego creations. I think a Christmas vignette with little pieces and details was right up his alley.
My friend sold me these small vintage glitter houses that add to this festive vignette.
Another example of squeezing in a little vintage Christmas display…
I bought these sweet NOEL angel candle holders from the same friend as the little glitter house purchase. As she is cleaning out her Christmas collections, mine seems to be growing. hmmm… A little tuck here and there and just enough room in-between the measuring cups on one of the ledges in the kitchen.
I love the Christmas noel message. (did you see my noel porch banner I made for the front porch?)
Another new addition this year was another darling vintage noel decoration.
In fact, nearly everything on the ledge was hunted and gathered this year, biding the vintage red and white transferware creamer pitcher on the left, that came from my dear Aunt Betty and stays on the ledge year round. The vintage clock diorama was a fun project. (HERE is that post if you missed it)
In our bedroom, the Christmas display is a more romantic style. The Christmas card on the mantel is so special to me. Not only is it the very first Christmas card we got after we were married 41 years ago, it’s from my grandma and so wonderful to see her handwriting in it.
This year I added the little vintage glitter bird ornaments to the mix of garlands on the mantel.
I’m not an expert in vintage Christmas, but just keep reading and looking trying to file information away for when I might see something.
That came in handy this time too. When I thought about how round the birds were and that their heads were intended to pop on and off it got me thinking.
I started to examine them closer. The necks of the birds are marked with an almost illegible ‘Made in Western Germany’ mark.
With a little research to confirm my suspicion… I found out they’re actually from the 1940’s and were originally candy holders. Isn’t that fun? There are vintage collectors that have a Christmas tree filled with only vintage candy holders. So much to learn!!
Interested in vintage Christmas ornaments and decor? I have one more post coming up tomorrow, that features my favorite vintage Christmas collection!
There are many resources available for learning about vintage Christmas items, but the best source I’ve come across, (thanks to my friend Luke!) is a membership in The Glow of Christmas Past. The level of collections and expertise the members have and willingly share is astounding. I should mention that my friend Luke, an artist in NYC makes amazingly detailed glitter houses of actual buildings and homes, and will have a display set up at The Glow’s annual convention July 2021 in Virginia!
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Here you can check out all the Christmas decorating projects I’ve written about: