Decorating for Christmas Vintage Style

The charm and warmth of the past can be showcased in your home by decorating for Christmas vintage style. Years ago homes were decorated with warm, colorful, often handmade items. Ornaments and decorations were saved for generations. You may have a few boxes from the past that you want to display during the holiday season.

Planning your holiday decorations can be a yearlong process. First, you should think of a theme to use and then work on it throughout the year. Doing little bits at a time can result in a stress-free holiday and give you plenty of time to enjoy the season. I leave my decorations up for the whole month of December. Each day I feel the spirit of Christmas.

The most inspiring place to begin your decorating for an old-fashioned Christmas is at your local antique mall. All to yearlong you can find treasures for your home. Why wait until the last minute when this valuable resource is available every day. If you love to go to antique shops it is helpful to have things to look for. Kind of like a scavenger hunt. There will be many one of kind items and unique displays to get your creative juices flowing. Starting in early September the Christmas displays multiply – giving you even more choices.

Christmas Vintage Decorating Ideas

Christmas Vintage Decorating Ideas

Start your journey by hunting for holiday vintage books. You will find children’s books that represent Christmas past. The artwork in vintage children’s books is amazing. The books were made before computers were invented so all of the artwork is hand illustrated like the “Christmas in Fairyland” book at the right. Place the books that you find throughout your home. Set them out on your end tables, bookshelves or have the artwork framed to hang on your walls. This makes a great beginning to bring the joy of Christmas Past into your home.


Old Fashioned Christmas Tree

Old Fashioned Christmas Tree Decorations

Live trees were often used because most people could just go to their back forty and cut down the perfect tree. In the 50’s artificial trees became popular. You can find a variety of aluminum tinsel silver trees, plastic trees, and bottle brush trees. These trees didn’t look real but they were fun to have.

Vintage Christmas Tree Decorations

Vintage glass ornaments have been handed down for generations. They are shiny, bright and very breakable. One must take extra special care when hanging these bulbs. Most come with a wire hook that is inserted into the top. They also make excellent decorations to use as a wall hanging. Attach a ribbon to them and hang from a window sill.

Bird ornaments with clips on their feet can be hung on your tree or they can be used anywhere that the clip will hold. They would look especially elegant on your table centerpiece. The bird ornaments come in many materials – some are made out of glass and others are made out of fabric.

Tree lights came in a variety of sizes, shapes, and colors. Do a search for vintage tree lights on eBay. You will find a variety of lights that were used. If you find a style that you would like to use purchase a new retro version such as the

Celebrate your vintage Christmas by using vintage wrapping paper and bows. Gift bags were not a thing of the past. Each present was wrapped with paper, ribbon and a homemade bow. Sometimes an ornament was placed on the package. Choose a few gifts that were popular years ago. Monopoly was invented 50 years ago. You find many vintage toys and gifts at an antique shop. Such as Lotto, Chinese Checkers, Shoot the Moon, Sorry. These games would be fun to play on Christmas Eve.

 Create Stunning Vintage Centerpieces for your Table

Christmas Day is often celebrated with a family meal. Beautiful centerpieces can be created using vintage items. Use ornaments, wreaths, candle holders, figurines to create a collage of vintage items. Shiny glass ornaments can be added to a festive bowl or cake plate for a colorful effect. The possibility for your centerpiece is endless. Just choose things that would like nice together and then tie them all together with some greenery.

Present your dinner on a set of beautiful dishware. Vintage dinnerware comes in emerald-green, ruby-red or cobalt blue. Choose a pattern that you love and then start collecting the pieces. You may not find the whole set at once but they are items that can be collected throughout the year as you visit antique shops. Don’t be afraid to mix and match sets. Not everything has to be the same. These dishes can be used for other holidays also.

Families have the traditions for their Christmas Cookies. Make a collection of your families favorite Christmas cookies and give it out as a gift. Of course, I hope that you have the time to make some delicious vintage cookies and treats.

 Creating Christmas Vintage Decorations

As you start to collect a variety of ornaments, figurines and other vintage items think of ways that you can make them into wall hangings or wreaths. Ornaments make excellent material to use for creating wreaths for our doors or centerpieces for our tables. At a fraction of the cost of a ready-made piece, you can easily make one of a kind decorations with the odds and ends you pick up throughout the year. A simple search on Pinterest will get your juices flowing.

 Vintage Christmas Cards

Christmas cards make wonderful accents throughout the house. They can be set on tables, or hung on a wall. The artwork is always beautiful and brings warmth to the room. You can repurpose old cards by cutting out the picture and gluing it to a new card. There are ready-made plain cards that you can purchase and print from your computer.

Vintage Christmas Yard Decorations

Set a few decorations out in your yard for your neighbors to enjoy. Plastic Nativity Scenes, Santa’s, Candles and number of handcrafted wood decorations can be found. It was common in days past to do most of the handiwork yourself. Many people made their own decorations out of wood. Yard displays take a lot of space to store, so be sure you have enough storage space before purchasing. A friend of mine loved Christmas Decorating so much that he kept all his decorations displayed in the garage. When he pulled into his driveway and opened his garage door he was greeted by an array of lights and cheerful decorations. He celebrated Christmas every day.

Handcrafted Items

I love the look of handcrafted items at Christmas time. As you rummage through antique malls and yard sales you will stumble upon unique items that were handcrafted. Often you can find lovely crotched items or homemade ornaments and wreaths.

The Polish Star Christmas Ornament is one of my favorites. They are fun to make and they make a great family activity.

For those who like to add a little humor to your decorating don’t forget to add the famous Christmas Story Leg Lamp. It may be hard to find a vintage one but reproductions can easily be found.

Vintage Elf on the Shelf

Vintage Santa Clause

Many of you have heard about the “Elf on the Shelf.” He is a favorite prankster today who likes to visit little children before Christmas. As he watches over the house he also can get into mischief.

The Christmas Elf has been around for years. You will find them in Antique Shops. I don’t know for sure when the modern Elf started his shenanigans but for thirty years I put out a wreath that held a vintage elf. Last year when the grandchildren were visiting they were amazed that I had my very own Elf.

Decorating for Christmas Vintage style can be a great adventure. It needs to be done slowly over the year. As you go out and about visiting Antique Shops and Rummage Sales keep your eyes out for items that you can use. Ask your relatives if they have any old Christmas items that they no longer want or use. Gramma’s usually have a few boxes that haven’t been opened in years. Make this project an enjoyable one that your family and friends will remember for years to come. Remember to keep safety in mind. Old strings of Christmas Lights and be a safety hazard and the fun silver tinsel could cause problems with your pets.

Leave a comment below about your experience finding excellent Vintage Christmas Items at an Antique shop.

Thank You for stopping by and I wish a Very Merry Old Fashioned Christmas.

18 thoughts on “Decorating for Christmas Vintage Style”

  1. Oh I love handmade Christmas decorations! My Mum still hangs up things that my sister and I have made – it’s such a lovely touch.

    As a bit of a book nerd I also love the idea of using antique Christmas themed books around the place. I would have never of thought of that but what a great idea!

    I miss a real Christmas tree, that smell. Ahhh! I live in South America now and we don’t have any Christmas tree farms around us 🙁

    I can’t believe it’s only January and thanks to your great article I now feel like Christmas can’t come fast enough. I guess as suggested I’ll start keeping an eye out at local fairs and stores! Thanks!

    • I love handmade ornaments also. I hang things that my children made years ago and they mean more to me than new ornaments.

      Sad to hear you don’t have Christmas trees in South America but today’s artificial ones look very real. Although they are lacking that fresh green smell.

      Christmas is such a wonderful time of year we should enjoy it all year in bits and pieces.

  2. What a great idea for what to do with old furniture. I just read about ‘The Green Garage’ and I like what you are doing for the environment with this practice. Plus you make pieces more unique and less generic!! I am wondering if you ever travel with the antique show and if so do you travel out to the pacific north west?

    • Recycling antique furniture into something new is a great way to create something unique for your home. We do not travel to the pacific north-west, we only promote Wisconsin Antique Shops and Shows at this time.

  3. Hi Sharon,
    I really love this idea. For some reason, Christmas is one of those holidays that I think is better when there are more of these traditional or “vintage” aspects in it. For example, I will only listen to Christmas music from the 50’s and as I listen to it I do like to picture some of these pictures from the books you showed. There is just something about Christmas that seems much better when it is more “vintage”. I guess it would be more magical that way.

    • Enjoying Vintage Christmas Music while decorating for the holidays is something I look forward to every year. Vintage items can bring back the pleasant memories of years gone by with the knowledge that they will also be part of our future. Maybe that is why Christmas is so magical.

  4. My husband and I love vintage items. Its really cool to have vintage Christmas decorations. Thank you so much for the tips and suggestions. Love the idea about Christmas books and ornaments. Wish I even had time to do the DIY stuff you mentioned. Its something we will look into for succeeding holidays. 🙂

    • Raquel – It is good to hear that you like vintage items. Your local antique shops are just brimming this time of year with special pieces that cannot be found in a department store. Even if you don’t have time to DIY – many crafted items from the past can found in an antique mall.

  5. I am all about the vintage Christmas decor, from the bulbs to the cards and the home-made gifts. An absolutely fabulous way to celebrate with family and friends.

    I love the antique shops as well, they are a world of tiny light treasures all year round.

    I really enjoyed reading your post and look forward to many more.

    • Thank you for stopping by. A vintage Christmas decor is fun and easy to achieve. Happy to hear that you enjoy antique shops. They are the perfect place for finding vintage Christmas items.

  6. My mother still has a lot of these old vintage items and it’s what I knew the most of growing up as a kid. I really like those old bubble lights. Can you still get them now? I have two toddlers though and having to keep fragile things up high, and out of the way so they aren’t broken on the tree or displayed somewhere.

    • It must be fun seeing the vintage decorations at your mothers home. They still make bubble lights and you can find them on Amazon. Little children and small pets have a habit of breaking glass ornaments. There are some fun non-breakable vintage items that can be found at antique stores. Some are made out of plastic or crocheted with yarn. One of my favorites are two crocheted snowmen that I put out every year. The grandchildren play with them and they never break.

  7. Great post. I especially like the idea of making your own decorations for Christmas. I feel it makes the spirit of Christmas better.
    Things have become so commercialized and the cost of buying decorations is insane. I remember when we were little making things at school and my mom always hung them up. I now have small children and I am looking forward to making things with them!
    I think the popcorn garland is a great idea, will put that on my to do list!

    • Yes Lynne I agree with you that Christmas has become to commercialized. My favorite ornaments are the ones that my children made when they were little. They are priceless to me. Even now when they are in their thirties they enjoy seeing the ornaments that they made when they were little.

      The popcorn garland is fun and some people even add cranberries to their strings.

  8. Thanks Sharon, you have given me a lot of really good ideas for decorating the home this Christmas. The vintage look is not my favorite thing in the world but some of the ideas you gave can easily be transported to other styles. Would you say that vintage is your favorite style or do you have other favorites?

    • I have several favorites but, seeing a home decorated with vintage Christmas Decorations brings an unique charm to the season. The homemade ornaments that have been passed down for generations are my favorite. They remind me to slow down a little and enjoy the traditions of Christmas past.


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