There’s a certain charm that old-fashioned vintage Christmas decorations seem to possess. I'm not only talking about the very precious (and sometimes very valuable) ornaments that date back many generations, rather, true vintage charm is captured in those handmade ornaments as well as the five and dime store ornaments from yesteryear that hold a special place in our hearts.
Remember those homemade Christmas ornament that you made as a kid in school and still gets hung on Mom and Dad's tree each year, even though you're now 40 with kids of your own? Those are vintage ornaments with charming history. It's the story that goes with the ornament that we love so much
Many of the vintage ornaments that we cherish have very interesting stories of origin. Even the lights we string on our Christmas trees have a tale to tell. Did you know that when he was inspired by the beauty of the stars above and the tall pines on an evening walk home in winter, Reverend Martin Luther King is said to have added lighted candles to illuminate his tree much like the pines were illuminated by the stars above that evening.
Christmas trees came to the United States in the late 1800s. German settlers in Pennsylvania shared their treasured holiday tradition from their homeland. Though it really wasn’t until the advent of electricity that most Americans embraced the new traditions in the 1880s/early 1900s. Thomas Edison created a safety Christmas bulb in 1917 to replace the dangerous open flame candles.
Before every American home had a Christmas tree in their living room, most small towns put up a Christmas tree in their town square, thus bringing to life the tradition of the Community Tree Lighting Ceremonies that we often experience.
Pine Cones, Baubles, Popcorn and Tinsel
Once Americans embraced the idea of their very own Christmas tree, the world of Christmas ornaments exploded onto the scene. Original tree ornaments were often food or nature-based, and included pine cones, birds, strings of popcorn, apples, nuts, and cookies baked in many festive shapes.
Soon though, as time goes on, "everything old is new again" and Americans continue to reach back to the Victorian-era for old-fashioned tree decorations like sparkly glass baubles and tinsel. Tin and metallic tinsel and garland added another layer of “holiday glow” to Christmas trees as Christmas lights reflected white, yellow, red, green, and blue off of the silvery decorations.
In the 1880s, Americans fell in love with delicate blown-glass Christmas ornaments from Germany. Shiny fruits, hearts, stars, Santas, and angels were all the rage! F. W. Woolworth, another famous storekeeper, started to import German glass ornaments to sell in his famous five and dime stores.
One of the most popular old-fashioned Christmas tree ornaments were Gurley ornaments. Famous for their seasonal holiday candles, when the folks at Gurley added a hook and string to their original Christmas candles molds, well, they couldn’t help but be a runaway hit.
We can’t forget about those handsome nutcrackers! After World War II, U.S. GI’s brought home German nutcrackers to their families and they instantly became a holiday favorite here in the States. We can’t imagine Christmas without these colorful, rosy-cheeked sentinels on our mantel!
There are so many old-fashioned ornaments to choose from. Some are collector’s items from the past, others rare, hard-to-find antiques.
The Vermont Country Store
The Vermont Country Store is owned by Lyman Orton and sons Cabot, Gardner. and Eliot. The original store is in Weston, Vermont.
Together, they are 7th & 8th generation Vermonters, and 4th & 5th generation storekeepers. They still adhere to the old-fashioned values set forth by their father and grandfather Vrest and take pride in being the Purveyors of the Practical and Hard-to-Find.
If you are interested in some hard-to-find vintage ornaments, bubble lights, glass baubles, candles and more, this store also has a booming mail-order business and can get vintage items to you right to your front door in Eureka Springs, or where ever you call home.
Check out The Vermont Country Store and place your online order for your vintage ornaments and seasonal decor. You'll be glad you discovered them, not only for things needed this time of year but as the seasons change all year long.