Vintage Christmas Ornaments

This is going to be picture heavy and text light. I already wrote about my favorite Christmas ball and how when it broke I was heartbroken. A few years ago a I found a replacement. As more of these wonderful balls of eras past are being brought back, I find I want more ornaments but I have a small tree and it’s already festooned. The ball on the left was around when I was a child. It has three indentations. In those days, Christmas lights tended to be green, blue, yellow and red, and bubble lights. The indentations were made to collect and reflect light. The gold ball has three indents at the top and the glitter effect (if you click on the picture and enlarge it) is a result of the flash on the camera, but the glaze is solid. The one on the right is a modern version but replicates the indentations, the wacky shapes and the glitter painted on the balls.

The pipe is darkening at the top and will eventually break there.

The oil lamp is the last of its kind. I remember we used to have more of them. But as glass ages it can become brittle. I also have one last silver pipe left. It would have had a noisemaker in it at one point. We also had little trombones or trumpets and you could blow in them making little horn noises. They were quite delicate, the noisemaker going first and the looping stems breaking. These super thin ornaments were all blown by hand (and mouth!) and it’s easy to put your finger through the glass as it ages.

I still have some coffee pots. There used to be stout, little round tea kettles but they all fell apart.

I have one blue pot that has double handles.

The green coffee pots have little swatches of pink glitter. Then there are the two handled pots, all with a painted design. Since all these ornaments are around 50 years or more in age, the paint, glitter and even the blown glass coating, is wearing off in places. The green pot also has the glitter effect in the glass which might be caused by the color begin to crack with age but again, it is a solid color only. I also have a burgundy pot, a blue one and a pinkish-red pot.

Bell garland w/kissing angels in background.

Two other antique items I have are the remains of glass garlands and glass birds. The garlands are extremely fragile. Neither are even six feet long anymore. One is just a rainbow of color beads (shown to the right with one

Old umbrella and bead garland.

of three remaining old umbrellas), and the other has beads that are fused as doubles, and it has small little solid bells (which reminds me that we used to have bells too). I treat these with extreme care but they are getting shorter every year.

A rare swan.

The birds were always a favorite. The old ones had the stiff fiberglass tails and were on a spring above the clip. It was always the tails and the springs that went first. Birds have come back big time now but with real feathers on them. You’ll not find those stiff fiberglass tails at all. I have about four birds left and one is a double of another, with no tail. All of these antique ornaments I treat with utmost care. I wrap them in bubble wrap and store in a box. There is carpet under my tree so if they fall, they won’t break as easily. But no matter how careful I am, they will eventually deteriorate. It’s partly for posterity’s sake that I record these now, while they still exist. I still wish I had that original ball that had all the memories of Christmas tied up into it but there are still many ornaments to appreciate.

A modern bird w/feathers.

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2 Comments

Filed under Culture, entertainment, family, history, life, memories

2 responses to “Vintage Christmas Ornaments

  1. Ruth

    Where did you get the green bird ornament you call “A modern bird with feathers?”

    • colleenanderson

      I can’t quite remember but I think I got it at London Drugs. Depending where you live it’s a pharmacy, everything else store that is in a few provinces. They carry minimal holiday decorations but once in a while there are some nice glass ones. This one I bought at least three or four years ago.

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