Sunday, December 16, 2018

December 16 -- Christmas heirlooms

I was extremely fortunate to have some special Christmas things handed down to me. Oh, they weren’t big, expensive, valuable items. Some would probably call them “trinkets” or even “junk”. But to me they are very precious -- part of my heritage.  (At the top of the post you see my grandmother's Christmas tree in the early 1950s.)
I have 2 of these vintage felt snowmen.  See how they resemble snowflakes?  Love the "holly berry" hands & feet, too.
Many years ago my great-aunt gave me some old glass ornaments that had belonged to her and her late husband. Even though the ornaments are faded now and some are chipped, I continue to put them on the tree each year, along with some antique felt snowmen and elves. There were also some of those colored heavy foil reflectors for use with the old-time Christmas lights. On years when we put colored lights on our tree, I still use the reflectors even though our modern lights are much smaller and they have to be put on just so to make them fit.

Here you can see several vintage glass ornaments, plus a felt elf lady and one of the heavy foil reflectors in blue.
The same great-aunt also gave me some wonderful vintage Christmas fabric and a box full of Christmas candles. There were carolers and a lamp post, angels, and other things. I always loved seeing such candles around when I was a child, but it’s hard to imagine actually lighting one of them. (Incidentally, the Vermont Country Store carries such candles, so they’re still available if you know where to look.)
One of my favorites from childhood
My grandmother was a real lover of Christmas, and she kept a good stock of whatever was needed to make the holiday special. She gave me a whole box once of things she was getting rid of -- mostly paper goods -- and in it were some real treasures. I had always marveled that there were actually such things as paper doilies done in Christmas prints. Gram had lots of them -- with holly, poinsettias, and so on. I felt extremely fortunate to find some of those -- several different sizes and prints -- in that box, and for years I used them very sparingly. In the past few years I have found some lovely Christmas paper doilies in the dollar stores and at Target, so they’re still out there.
Gram also gave me a box full of wrapping paper, ribbon, and tags. I have had a wonderful time using these things over the years. I still have some of the ribbon and tags, and included some of the tags and a few snippets of ribbon in the Christmas memory books I’ve made for family members.
Recently I've also acquired more Christmas heirlooms as I've been cleaning out my childhood home.  I'm really thinking that this year I am not even going to bother to get my more modern ornaments out of the attic, but will do a completely vintage tree.  And I'm happy that my parents' tree skirt (handmade by someone in the 1950s or 1960s) is going to be used by my Nevada daughter and her family!

What about you? What are your Christmas heirlooms? If you don’t have any, but there are things you remember from childhood Christmases, take a look on Etsy or eBay.  You'll be surprised what you can find, and rather inexpensively, too.  Or, you might like to consider making some special things to hand down to your family.  I have done that, too, and may post about it in the coming week.
The plastic reindeer is from my childhood.  Bottle brush tree and glittery house are newer treasures from Gooseberry Patch.


  1. My Christmas treasures are handblown ornaments first owned by my great-great grandparents. My mother used to hang them on our tree, but she was very glad to see that if I displayed them, they’d be nestled into soft fill inside an apothecary jar. I think your vintage tree will be special. The most vintage ornaments on my tree will be ones my German neighbor gave me in 1978. She had grown tired of the German bulbs of all colors and was going for all blue bulbs on a white tree. It was pretty, but I always felt that I had the better deal.

  2. Those special ornaments help make Christmas merrier each year as we remember those who have gone before us, leaving behind memories and vintage ornaments. Great post!! Yes, I have a few of those ornaments that I treasure!

  3. Your ornaments are truly treasures. I remember those reflectors on the bulbs. I always really liked them. My favorite ornaments are my oldest ones that I know were on our tree when I was a tot. The wonder of photographs. I treasure those few ornaments more than any others. One is very similar to your bell. I have such good memories of Christmas at my grandparents too.


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