Monday, December 2, 2013

A Nostalgic Noel

     My delight was embarrassing really.  After all, it was only an elf clad in red and white felt.  He wasn't that handsome—he had pointy ears and a jutting chin, but he grinned cheekily, and his eyes sparkled.  I bought him on the spot.  I grew up looking forward to unwrapping the “elf on the shelf” every Christmas, but our family had a house fire, and the elf perished.  To find another perched on some vintage Christmas ornaments in an antique store years later brought back childhood in an instant, and there was no question that he was headed home with me.

Much of how we decorate and celebrate at Christmastime is tied to tradition and nostalgia.  Decking our halls with vintage d├ęcor keeps memories and childhood alive for new generations.  Here are some suggestions for using antique and vintage Christmas collectibles in your home:

1.       Wire a wreath to a vintage sled and prop outside your front door. 

2.      Fill ceramic Santa mugs with candy canes or small treats.
3.      Arrange pewter candlesticks and Santa statues across a mantle with some greenery.

4.      Top your tables with mid-20th century Christmas linens and hang vintage stockings by the fire.
5.      For a little sparkle, accent your table with a collection of glass finials.  These vintage tree toppers were made in varying heights and finishes and were popular before stars became the topper of choice.

6.      Use green or red and black plaid wool throws liberally on chairs, tables, or mantles.
7.      Display mercury glass, sometimes called silver glass.  It was made in the early 19th century by blowing a silvering formula into glass shapes.  Unlike silver, mercury glass doesn't tarnish, but it adds a pretty touch anywhere in the house, especially when paired with greens or flowers.

8.      String a piece of jute across a frame, wall, or window, and hang Christmas cards with vintage clothes pins.  Hanging vintage holiday cards or postcards creates a nostalgic look for your garland.

9.      Deck your tree with vintage ornaments and glass balls, or attach the ornaments to a gift bow to make your present wrapping pop.
10.  Set your table with collectible holiday glassware in greens, reds, and whites.

11.  If you like a more natural feel, fill primitive dough bowls, crates, or baskets with fresh greens and berries.  Use burlap on the tree, around your presents, and as a table topper.  Burlap also works great as a wrapping accent.

12.  Duplicate older lighting on your tree with replica bubble lights, large colored stringed bulbs, or LED candles.  If you do find original decorative lighting, be sure to check the wiring for safety before using.  Place replica candles in your windows.  Electric versions with realistic soft tops in candle holders look especially appealing.

13.  Go fifties with an aluminum tree in a variety of colors.  This is a fun accent in a child’s bedroom.
14.  Make a seasonal kitchen valance out of vintage holiday aprons.
15.  Place an over sized holiday advertising poster in your entryway and frame with garlands.
16.  Don’t have a fireplace?  Build or purchase a faux mantle made of barn wood or molding for your wall and place a neatly cut stack of wood at its base. 

     Sentimental style will add whimsy and warmth to any home.  Go back to a simpler time this year, and make fresh memories with antique holiday collectibles.