In this post: We share ideas for just the right touches to bring a vintage Christmas decor plan to life.
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The Christmas season is filled with nostalgia for many of us which is perhaps why vintage holiday decor is so enduringly popular. From timeless ornaments that once graced grandparents' trees to the cozy glow of retro-inspired lights, a vintage Christmas theme can be both sentimental and a lot of fun. There’s also the added bonus that incorporating vintage items into your decorating can be a more sustainable way to go.
If you’re new to vintage Christmas decor, we can help! Below we’ve shared some of our favorite tips for creating a vintage Christmas wonderland separated into three categories because vintage Christmas decor can span a lot of different styles. We hope you find some inspiration – check out our vintage holiday decorating ideas below!
Retro Christmas decor
We've classified our first vintage Christmas decor category as retro. It's those somewhat kitschy but super fun items you're likely to come across in an antique shop or maybe even a dusty old box in the attic.
One of the things that makes retro Christmas decor so fun is that it gives you license to use non-traditional colors. Here are some fun and festive color ideas for retro Christmas decorations:
- Mid-century pastels- Soft pastel colors like mint green, powder blue, and blush pink were popular in the mid-20th century. Incorporate these pastels into your ornaments and decorations for a retro touch.
- White, silver, and aqua – Create a wintery retro feel with a color scheme of white, silver, and aqua. These colors evoke a cool, crisp holiday aesthetic.
- Teal and pink – This look takes classic Christmas colors and gives them a slight shift that will definitely stand out.
- Bold red and green – If you want to stick with traditional red and green but kick it up a notch, opt for bright, bold shades for a cheerful yet still somewhat traditional look.
If you're having trouble finding vintage glass ornaments in good shape, these are a great option. They are actually made of recycled glass reimagined in a colorful retro style.
They are sold in groups of 3 and each ball measures size 8 × 8 × 7 cm – check out their selling site for other shapes and sizes!
If you're been around long enough to remember these old-school light bulbs, seeing them in your Christmas decor will really take you back. While they may not have been the safest or most eco-friendly, they had a vibrant, fun quality that today's more understated lights can't quite match.
It may be hard to find vintage Christmas lights that still light up (and maybe that's a good thing – see mention of safety above) you just may find some vintage Christmas bulbs in good shape to be used in other ways. A colorful assortment could look great in a display bowl but also be strung together to create a colorful garland or hung individually to create a retro ornament. Use your imagination or check sites like Etsy to see what others have come up with!
Classic vintage Christmas decor
In our classic category, we're including the most timeless vintage ideas. They might remind you of childhood but could just as easily be included in tasteful holiday decor today.
While mercury glass was originally used as a less expensive alternative to silver, it's now a classic holiday finish in its own right. But not to worry, today's makers typically use safer alternatives to achieve the look of mercury glass without the use of actual mercury.
There's almost nothing that conjures classic vintage Christmas more than an antique-looking Chris Kringle. In a world that can sometimes feel fast-paced and complex, the charm of a vintage Santa can provide a momentary escape to a simpler time.
If you love the look of perfectly wrapped presents under a classic Christmas tree, you should definitely check this paper out. It maintains the elegance of high-quality wrapping paper but does it in a much more eco-friendly way. While typically shiny and metallic wrapping paper elements make the entire paper unable to be recycled, this gold paper is not only made of recycled paper but able to be recycled, as well.
Vintage country Christmas decor ideas for your home
Our final category consists of vintage Christmas decor that's likely to give you a warm, homey, comfortable feel. It's a little more rustic and primative than the other categories and may be the most likely to inspire some cozying up in front of a crackling fire.
The rustic appeal of dried oranges is clear but the significance of dried oranges goes further than just visual appeal. Many people associate oranges with abundance and good luck which makes them a particularly auspicious decoration to use throughout the holiday season. And even if you don't find the symbolism particularly compelling, they are just a great-smelling way to adorn your home.
If you're feeling ambitious, these are something that many people DIY. Or if you're looking to offload some of the holiday work, there are plenty of great sources for premade versions. Check out Thorny Rose Primatives for some great options.
You have to love a holiday tradition that is fun, inexpensive, and eco-friendly. Stringing popcorn and maybe some cranberries to create a holiday garland evokes timeless Christmas nostalgia for many of us and is a great way to add some country Christmas charm without breaking the bank.
Nothing calls to mind a rustic, country feel more than weathered and reclaimed wood. Many artisans now appreciate the unique beauty that reclaimed wood adds to their creations so it's not too hard to find vintage Christmas decor featuring this distinctive element.
One of our favorite sources for all things handmade is Etsy. Check out what reclaimed wood Christmas decor is available from some pretty talented artisans by clicking on the star image.
Of all of the vintage Christmas decor categories, rustic Christmas decor perhaps conjures the strongest association with scent. With mason jar candles from The Dancing Wick you can bring your rustic design to life for multiple senses.
Scents like Apple Cidar, Gingerbread Cookie, and Christmas Tree would be a perfect addition to a country Christmas.
Kraft paper is a staple in all things country – using it under the tree is a great way to complete that perfect rustic Christmas decorating vibe. Paired with bright ribbon or jute twine, it has a simple, timeless charm.
It's also great to know that kraft paper is often a more eco-friendly alternative to traditional wrapping paper which is often difficult or impossible to recycle. That's especially true of the kraft wrapping paper from It's All Eco which is both made from recycled paper and is also recyclable. They have many different styles to suit your design scheme.
Ideas for bringing vintage Christmas decor to life
Not sure where to buy vintage Christmas decorations or where to buy vintage Christmas ornaments?
There are various places where you can find vintage Christmas decor and vintage Christmas ornaments, both online and offline. Here are some suggestions:
- Antique Shops and Malls – Local antique stores and antique malls often carry a diverse selection of vintage Christmas decorations. Explore these shops, and you may find unique ornaments, lights, and figurines that evoke a sense of nostalgia.
- Flea Markets and Swap Meets -Flea markets and swap meets can be treasure troves for vintage finds. Vendors often offer an array of holiday decorations, and you might stumble upon hidden gems that add a retro touch to your Christmas decor.
- Estate Sales – Estate sales are another excellent source for vintage items, including Christmas decor. Attendees can discover well-preserved decorations with a rich history, often at more affordable prices than retail.
- Thrift Stores – Thrift stores, such as Goodwill or Salvation Army, occasionally feature vintage Christmas decor. Keep an eye on their holiday sections for affordable finds that contribute to your vintage-inspired festive theme.
- Specialty Vintage Shops – Some shops specialize in vintage items, including holiday decor. Explore specialty vintage stores in your area or online, as they may curate collections specifically geared toward Christmas enthusiasts.
- Auctions – Attend local auctions, whether in person or online, to bid on vintage Christmas decorations. Auctions can be exciting and competitive, offering a chance to acquire unique pieces for your holiday collection.
- Craft Fairs and Holiday Markets – Local craft fairs and holiday markets often feature vendors selling handmade and vintage-inspired Christmas decor. These events provide an opportunity to support local artisans and find one-of-a-kind items.
- Community Yard Sales – Check out community yard sales, especially during the holiday season. Residents might sell vintage Christmas decorations as they declutter their homes.
- Online Marketplaces – Websites like Etsy, eBay, and Ruby Lane are popular online platforms for vintage and handmade items. Sellers from around the world offer a wide range of vintage Christmas decor, allowing you to browse and purchase items without leaving your home.
- Social Media Groups and Forums – Join online vintage decor communities on platforms like Facebook or Reddit. Members often share tips on where to find specific items and may even offer items for sale or trade.
Vintage Christmas decoration summary
When it comes to creating a vintage holiday feel in your home, the possibilities are practically endless and also a lot of fun. We hope this overview of vintage Christmas decor has inspired you to think vintage for your holiday decorating!