Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas

I’m linking to a fun holiday decorating blog party here


Vintage silver and gold glass grapes and silver candlesticks

Whew! Did you hear that giant sigh of relief? That was me, happy to have nearly all my Christmas decorating completed. And yes, there are still another half dozen bins of stuff down in the basement. After having two different homes on our neighborhood’s Christmas tour three different times, we (and by we I mean I) have accumulated a lot of holiday decorations. A veritable buttload, my husband would say. When your house is on a Christmas tour, you find yourself putting Christmas trees in the claw-foot tub in your son’s bathroom (2008), and your husband’s office (2008). You find yourself painting your office walls only hours before the tour begins (2000). You sweet-talk your girlfriend and her daughter into wallpapering your bathroom the night before the tour. (1996). And of course, you buy miles of garland and enough lights to string halfway around the world. Why? You rationalize that you are doing this for the betterment of mankind. But really, if you’re me, you can’t not. If you’re me, you fervently believe that anything worth doing is worth overdoing. But this year, we are not, thankfully, on tour. So I’ve simplified. Bwahahahahaha. Who am I kidding? I thought I’d share pix of some of my Christmas collections. Unlike most people, my collections are not numbered, signed, or dated. There is no Christmas Spode in my cupboards, no Christmas villages on a tabletop. Nor are there any artisan-made velvet Santas. I like all these things, but they do not speak to me. What speaks to me are old dime-store decorations. Brush trees from Woolworth’s. Plastic Santa candy containers from Kresge’s. Honeycomb snowmen from stores that haven’t existed since the ’60s. For years and years, I’ve picked up my kitschy little cuties at estate sales and the occasional dealer, especially when I’m junking in the Midwest. Some of my vintage treasures still have their yellowed original price stickers or grease-pencilled prices pencilled on the bottom. Hmm. When was the last time you found anything for 19 cents? Me neither, but these guys remind me of those simpler, cheesier days.

Vintage (mostly) snowmen snuggle up in the secretary.

I love looking at vintage Christmas collectibles on blogs and at antique shows, but I only add to my own collections when I find things on the cheap. The thrill of the hunt, you know. And I love arranging everything around the house once the bins have been brought up from the basement. I put on my Sinatra, Crosby and Nat King Cole Christmas CDs, and light an aromatherapy candle and commence to putter. I line up the brush trees, some of them shedding their glitter and rusted branches like their real-life counterpart in the living room, on the shelves of the Welsh cupboard in the dining room.

Vintage brush trees sprout among the transferware

The snowmen have found a home in the glass-front secretary in the living room, and the Santas and elves are always perched on top of my collection of vintage picnic baskets, thermoses and breadboxes in the old pine armoire. This year, with Miss Molly toddling around, it’s good to be able to gently close the armoire doors to keep busy fingers away.


Santas and elves congregate on picnic tins and thermoses.

Little lost lambs mingle with plastic reindeer

This year, the lambs, most of which were probably orphaned from old nativity sets, decided to herd up with the plastic reindeer on a silver tray on top of the mahogany chest by the sofa. But other years, they’ve paraded across the mantle. I’m hoping the lambs won’t ridicule the reindeer for their missing antlers, or for being so woefully out of scale, compared to the sheep.

Santa mugs and jug lined up on kitchen windowsill

The Santa mug collection got its start because my grandmother had some at her house when I was very young. My sister Susie and I pieced a set together after finding boxes of them at a florist shop. The ones pictured here are actually tiny nut-cup sized, but I’ve also got the cocoa-sized ones on another windowsill.

Christmas boxes seated by the fireplace…for now

Some years I don’t add a single piece to my collections. But this year I picked up a couple of these holiday gift boxes. Some years I get really lucky and find vintage Christmas decorations inside the old gift boxes, a rare twofer. My favorite recent find is the box I got for fifty cents. On one side is a large-lettered label. ELF HATS. I seem to remember that the elf hats were in shreds.

Brush tree and mercury-glass ornaments

Because every year the holidays seem to get busier, I always try to fit in some down time, an afternoon or evening when we turn down the lamps, light the tree, loll on the sofa with a glass of wine, and watch an old Christmas movie. Sometimes, Katie will agree to share my ritual of watching White Christmas. I try to savor these moments, and not think about the day AFTER Christmas, when Mr. Mary Kay will start tapping his toe and demanding that I pack up that buttload of stuff, piece by piece, tissue by tissue, so it can go back down to the basement again until next year. Sigh.

10 thoughts on “Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas”

  1. Love this– thanks for the tour! I think my faves are the lambs/reindeer on the silver tray…genius!
    Merry, merry!

  2. What's not to love about Christmas!? It's my fav Season! I'm so glad it's here… it's even worth dealing with the cold! Happy Saturday!

  3. Well, the thrilling part for me was looking at the pictures and seeing if I had any of the same stuff – the goofy little snowman with the red plastic hat, and the Charlie-Brown style bottle brush tree in the wooden tub, and the Santa pitcher – I could go on, but I forget we shop at the same kind of places. The plaid and Santa combination is genius.

  4. I'm stealing your comment "anything worth doing is worth overdoing". I too love the dime store decorations from my 1950's chilhood. Memories of happy days in a much simpler time. Ah…

  5. Great saying (anything worth doing is worth overdoing)!!! Love your vintage decorations…would love to see your house on a tour!!!

  6. It all looks so festive. I love your vintage collections.

    We're having a Pink Saturday favorite holiday movie theme this Saturday. I hope you'll join us.

  7. LOVE the accordian paper type snowmen! Those are definitely my favorite! And your thermos/plaid things. My buttload of stuff is still on my dining room table and it looks like I could open up shop!

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