Collecting Vintage Ornaments for Your Christmas Tree
If you are a true collector of vintage Christmas ornaments, you are always on the look out for special finds at estate sales, house sales, and garage sales. You never know when you might find a hidden gem hidden among the junk.
There is no time of year that is the wrong time to shop and collect vintage Christmas ornaments because treasures turn up all year long if you know where to look for them. When Christmas comes around, it is such a joy to unpack all of your vintage ornaments, clean them up, and get them ready to fill your Christmas tree so that everyone can enjoy your collection.
If you like to collect vintage Christmas ornaments from around the world, one of the best places to keep looking is Ebay. Ebay sellers from around the globe specialize in their sales niche, and there are many reliable Ebay sellers of vintage Christmas ornaments.
Vintage Christmas Ornaments: Glass
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Vintage ornaments come from countries as far away as Poland, Russia, and Italy in all kinds of materials including glass, plastic, and aluminum. Sizes, colors, and styles vary from country to country and seller to seller. Prices on Ebay are quite reasonable, and you can buy Christmas ornaments in lots or one at a time. There are some really fascinating holiday decorations.
Featured (right): This guide, Christmas Memories: Gifts, Activities, Fads, and Fancies, 1920s-1960s, and the others featured on this page can help sort the wheat from the chaff.
Most of my particular favorite Yuletime ornaments are made of European glass. But the styles of the glass Christmas time ornaments vary. Some of the glass ornaments are frosted glass, while others are shiny and translucent. I really love the hand blown glass ball ornaments. The colors in blown glass are just sparkling and vibrant.
However, there are also some very interesting molded glass ornaments in various shapes of animals, and Christmas symbols. Some have glass inside of other glass.
Vintage Christmas Ornaments: Christmas Scene
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Vintage Christmas Ornaments: German Glass
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Christmas Ornaments Change from Culture to Culture
The Christmas ornaments made in each country seem to have a certain style or styles that reflect the country that they were created in.
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You can see this when you look at the vintage Russian Christmas ornaments to the right. Many of the shapes and motifs remind you of the Russian way of dress, and Russian color preferences. Not surprisingly, vintage Christmas ornaments often took on a look of the world of their creators.
Vintage Christmas Ornaments: Russian Glass
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Vintage Christmas Ornaments: Tiny
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Vintage Christmas Ornaments: Blown Glass
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Glass Christmas Ornament History
Originally Christmas trees were decorated with fruit, popcorn, and candy canes. The first Christmas ornaments were called glass baubles, and they were first made in Lauscha, Germany by Hans Greiner in the 19th century. Greiner made garlands of glass beads similar to other garlands strung on trees at the time.
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Other glassblowers in Lauscha recognised the growing popularity of Christmas baubles and began producing them in a wide range of designs.
In the 1840’s, after a picture of England’s Queen Victoria’s Christmas tree was shown in a London newspaper decorated with glass ornaments and baubles from her husband’s native Germany, Lauscha began exporting its products throughout Europe.
Vintage Christmas Ornaments: Rare
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More Types of Collectible Vintage Ornaments
Cotton Batting Ornaments
Cotton batting ornaments from Europe, were made in the late 1800’s by turning cotton batting into Christmas figurines.
Dresden Paper Ornaments
Dresden Christmas ornaments are made from cardboard that has been gilded.
Plastic ornaments were introduced after WWII. Since most people were not buying products from Japan and Germany after the war, plastics became very popular.
Featured (above): Kitschmasland!: Christmas Decor from the 1950s to the 1970s
Dresden Christmas Ornaments
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Antique Cotton Batting Christmas Ornaments
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Meanings of Christmas Ornaments
Certain shapes of vintage Christmas ornaments had specific meanings attributed to them. Here are some of the more common ones.
- Pickles represented good luck.
- Fruits and vegetables symbolized the harvest.
- Birds represented biblical messengers that brought God’s love to the world.
- Ornaments with geometric concave indentations were used during the Victorian era to ward off evil spirits. They were called “witches eyes.”
- Fish were an early Christian symbol for Christ.
Vintage Christmas Ornaments: Italian Glass
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Longevity of Christmas Ornaments
A collection of vintage Christmas ornaments is the type of heirloom keepsake collection that your family will truly appreciate each year when you unpack your ornaments and hang them on your Christmas tree. Each year as your collection grows, your tree will just look better and better, and your ornaments will last for a very long time.
Ornaments add pleasure and color to a family oriented holiday, and bring cheer to your home. With vintage Christmas ornaments you can also have a piece of history attached to your family occasion, and family Christmas traditions.
Vintage Christmas ornaments made meaningful gifts for friends and family as well. Most vintage Christmas ornaments are affordable, and lightweight, so they are easy to give to anyone. You can pick out vintage ornaments that will appeal and have meaning for specific recipients for them to treasure as much as you do. Or you can build your collection together as a family, collecting new vintage ornaments for each family member to start their own vintage Christmas tree.
Antique Christmas Ornaments
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Guides to Christmas Collectibles
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