Antique Christmas Ornaments

Dear Diva Readers,

top: 5px; float: left; color: white; background: #781300; border: 1px solid darkkhaki; font-size: 60px; line-height: 50px; padding-top: 1px; padding-right: 5px; font-family: times;”>One of the most fun parts of the Christmas season is the decorating. Adding seasonal touches to your home and creating a festive atmosphere make the holidays feel that much more special. And of course, being The Antiques Diva, I love using antique and vintage Christmas ornaments! Today I want to share a bit of history on antique ornaments as well as a few ideas on how to use them in your decor this season.

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Decorating Christmas trees originally began in Germany. People would use natural materials like nuts and fruits to don the trees. After Christmas, families could easily dispose of the decorations by leaving them outside for animals to eat. Before modern Christmas lights were invented, candles would be placed on the tree—can you imagine the fire hazard!? In modern times it is still common to see remnants of this traditional style of decorating. Nuts, pine cones and berries are all common motifs used in current Christmas decor. Why not add sprigs of berries and acorns to your tree? What about filling a beautiful urn with colorful fruit? You could even use feathers and other natural materials in your garlands & wreaths.

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In the early 19th century, Americans began decorating trees, hanging garlands of popcorn and gingerbread cookies on them. Later that century, as Victorian traditions were born, Christmas ornaments and decorations in general became much more elaborate and detailed. Highly decorative ornaments with bits of lace, velvet, rhinestones and other materials were used to cover trees. This style is still popular in period homes. Whether you can find antiques decorations or new ones in the Victorian style, adding lush touches to your home is a sure way to usher in a classic Christmas feel.

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Of course the mid 20th century brought on the popular aluminum Christmas trees, which were available in many colors. Does anyone remember those electric tree stands that rotated the tree as it changed colors with the help of a color wheel? What fun! These trees can still be found in antique stores and at flea markets.

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If you’re a fan of 20th century Christmas decor but still want to have a traditional feeling, consider using bright and shiny glass ornaments. These originated in Germany in the mid-1800’s and were blown glass. The ornaments came in many shapes such as hearts, stars, angels and fruit. However, after WWI, American factories began mass producing them and they’ve been popular ever since. Whether hung on a tree or layered in your favorite bowl on the coffee table or buffet, these glass ornaments add sparkle to any space.

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No matter how you decide to deck your own halls, antique Christmas ornaments can certainly enhance the decor of any style home! And remember to keep your eye out for them throughout the year at flea markets and stores. Starting a collection amongst your family could be the beginning of a new Christmas tradition that is rooted in history!

Toma Clark Haines, The Antiques Diva, Berlin Apartment

Happy Holidays,

The Antiques Diva®