I know, I know… this year’s been a disaster.
I can’t even get my shit together long enough to post my Christmas pictures before Christmas.
Being a hoarder/collector of vintage Christmas, there’s almost always a pile of old ornaments on the kitchen counter, or on the coffee table, and the kitchen counters…
or my desk….
And the floor under my desk….
Anyhoo, since hardly anyone got to see any of this in person, I just had to share with the interwebs.
The “Big” tree isn’t really that big; it’s only 7 foot.
The bubble lights are modern, I get them on Amazon lately, but the big Japanese lanterns are actually patio lights from the 60s.
Since last year the tree was entirely American glass, this year I crammed it with only European ornaments. About 95% Polish teardrops and reflectors, from companies like Fantasia Glass and Santa Land, that are hand-painted with Santas, snowmen, girls in ballgowns, bells, Poinsettias, and snowy cabins and churches. There’s also a sprinkling of free-blown Italian ornaments, mostly made by the De Carlini family, of all my favorite characters; Mickey/Minnie, Peter Pan, Captain Hook, Linus/Lucy, Tinkerbell, and Frosty.
The Italian Santa topper I found at a rummage sale for $5…. no lie.
And I debated whether or not I needed it.
Obviously, I did.
On the coffee table there’s a mercury-glass bowl that holds glass ornaments all year long.
These are all American, made by Corning Glass in the late 30s and early 40s, and featuring a few of the more unusual shapes; disco balls, grapes, a guitar, American Santa Claus and a few lanterns. My favorite is the square lantern with the stars on the sides.
I started collecting these glass candy canes just a few years ago. They were mostly made in the 1940s by the American company Kentlee.
The little plastic skater next to them is really a candy container made by Rosbro in the 1950s.
On the mantle are a few lighted Santas. The big one is Union and he’s a very hard plastic. The smaller “blow-mold” Santa was made by Empire and is their most popular Santa shape.
These toy Santas are mostly Rosbro candy containers, sold at five and dime stores in the 50s and 60s. The tallest Santa once held a wreath, that’s why he has his arms spread and holes in his hands. (I can’t afford one with a wreath) The second tallest Santa – with the crown – is a “King Santa” made by Harett-Gilmar, he’s a bank.
This table-top tinsel tree is the perfect way to display my 1930s Corning pinecones. Most glass pinecone ornaments were made in either Germany or Japan, and are a little more “organic” looking, so these guys really stand out with their perfect, American deco symmetry.
I absolutely love hunting for them.
On the TV console is a small white “feather” tree with figural light bulbs.
(The Roy Rogers magazine above it is from January? of 1952 and depicts Roy decorating a tree with Shiny Brites)
Once I knew what look for, I find these guys all the time for just a few bucks. They were produced in Japan and I think peaked in popularity in the 1930s. Once one of them stopped working – the whole string stopped working – so most people would hang them as ornaments. Because Santas and bells are a dime a dozen, now I focus on the more unusual characters.
At the other end of the console, next to the photo of our sweet Harley Davidson with a wreath around her neck, is a small styrofoam cone filled with vintage Holiday pins.
Just when y’all think all this stuff is mine… this is Jamie’s collection.
He even found the silver ice bucket it’s in.
The shabby little deer is a vintage bank from Montgomery Wards, the company that invented Rudolf the red-nosed reindeer. (They did, Google it). At one point he had a red light bulb in his nose that would light every time you dropped a coin in his slot. (I can’t afford one with a light-up nose either)
Across the room, next to Christmas cards and plastic Noma bells, there’s a small, dingy tinsel tree crammed – and I mean CRAMMED – with unsilvered striped ornaments. When silver nitrate was rationed during WW2 American ornament companies countered with clear glass ornaments; sometimes with a piece of tinsel inside for sparkle.
The colored lights are C-6 size cones with Diamond Ray punched tin reflectors. Because they heat up so intensely, and I also want them to last another 80 years, I dim them with a table-top dimmer.
The plastic Santa on top seems to ruffle a lot of “vintage Christmas purest’s” feathers because he’s from a completely different decade than the ornaments and lights.
He’s a 1950s Santa Glo tree top or wall plaque.
And as if that weren’t enough options, he also sits flat on a table.
Shiny Brites that didn’t make it onto a tree this year are stacked next to my War-era tree in their 1950’s boxes.
As if you can’t tell… it’s my favorite vintage ornament box.
Even more Shiny Brites fill a glass cylinder on the kitchen table.
The slim tinsel tree in the living room is filled with Premier ornaments. Premier was a small American ornament company that competed with Shiny Brite for almost 20 years. Shiny Brite eventually bought them out and converted several Premier molds to fit their own wider caps. I think their bright colors shine like precious jewels on the silver.
Found this galvanized “Holiday Flowers” tub at a junk store last year. I’m sure it’s from Home Goods or Pottery Barn or some other such place…. but I really like it.
And it works perfectly lifting this tree up another 2 feet.
Here’s even more of Jamie’s collections, ceramic trees.
These were pretty popular in the 60s and 70s.
So that’s our post-holiday house tour.
Hope y’all enjoyed.