my vintage ornament non-collection.

Those of you who have followed me for any length of time know that I am in total denial about being a collector of any kind.  I guess I really don’t think of myself as one of those people who collect items because they are valuable.  Or rare.  I hope to never be one of those people who has spent tons of money on some sort of collection believing that the items will appreciate in value, and then when I die my heirs can’t even give it away.

But obviously I do have collections, I just prefer to call them non-collections in order to maintain my delusion that I am not a collector.

I really have just one absolute requirement for the items I collect, they have to be something that brings me joy (I followed that rule long before Marie Kondo came along).  And I guess there are a handful of additional rules that I generally follow as well:

Rule #2 – the items must be fairly cheap.  I think I’ve pretty much established that I’m a frugal person.  I’m never going to spend a bunch of money on something just because it’s considered ‘collectible’.

My non-collection of vintage Christmas ornaments totally meets this rule since I typically find my ornaments at garage or estate sales.  If I’m lucky enough to find them there, they are usually less than $1 each.  These baggies of ornaments for $10 each were probably the most I’ve ever paid for ornaments at a garage sale.

On occasion I have also been known to splurge on ornaments at antique shops, but in this case ‘splurging’ still means paying less than $10 each for really special ones, like this Santa ornament …

Quite a few of my favorite ornaments came from a shop that was in No. St. Paul called La’ Garage.  I’m sure some of my local readers remember that place.  The best way to describe it would be as an estate sale in a storefront.  The proprietors bought out estates to stock their shop.  They had amazing vintage ornaments each year at Christmas and I always stopped by at least once each season and purchased some.

They also sometimes sold the old boxes separately and I snatched those up whenever I saw them.

They really came in handy when I sold off a bunch of my ornaments a few years ago.

Sadly, La’ Garage closed up shop back in July 2020, and I still miss them.

Rule #3 – the items collected must be something that I display or use, not something to tuck away in a cupboard somewhere.

I pretty much broke that rule last year because I didn’t put up my tree.  Let’s face it, Christmas 2020 was a weird one.  Covid was putting the kibosh on most of the usual socializing, and I just wasn’t in the mood to put up a tree.  Plus the day job was really overwhelming me, and I didn’t have the energy left over to decorate much last year.

But this year I’ve pulled out my tall, skinny, silver tree once again and filled it up with my vintage ornaments.

I love unwrapping each one from its tissue paper and admiring how pretty it is as I add it to the tree.

Rule #4 – I mainly collect vintage items.  They just appeal to me more than reproductions, or new items.

With the ornaments, I especially love the old hand-painted ones.  They are always unique.  Doesn’t the one above have a 70’s vibe with those daisies?  I think that particular ornament artist was ahead of her time.

I’m really drawn to the unique color combination on this next one with its blue and green …

It just happens to perfectly match the gorgeous colors on that vintage book that my friend Sue gave me for my birthday.

I’m not precisely sure what the flowers on this next one are supposed to be, but to me they look like Lily of the Valley.  Certainly not a flower you typically think of at Christmas time, but how pretty are they on this bulb?

I also enjoy the more geometric patterns.

Don’t they have a sort of mid-century atomic vibe?

I’ve read that there was a trend towards space age themed ornaments in the 50’s and 60’s as Americans were caught up in the space race.  I’m still bummed about the really cool planet ornament I once had that I broke back in 2015 …

I used it in a furniture photo shoot and it rolled off the dresser and shattered into a million pieces (which tends to happen when these fragile ornaments hit the floor).  What was I thinking being so cavalier with that ornament?

So far the closest replacement I’ve found for it is this one …

And let’s face it, it’s nowhere near as cool.

So I’m still on the lookout for a replacement planet ornament.  Maybe one day I’ll find another.

Rule #5 – I’m also not one who believes my collections have to get bigger and bigger and bigger.  Over time, as I find fabulous pieces to add to my non-collections, I tend to start narrowing my scope in some way.  As I mentioned above, I sold off quite a bit of my non-collection of ornaments a few years back.

For example, if I had six of the same design, I sold five of them and just kept one.

And I also sold some that weren’t in my preferred color scheme of pink and aqua.

Those gold ones were so pretty boxed up with old book pages to cushion them.

What is it about these vintage ornaments that I find so appealing?  Maybe it’s that my grandparents likely used ornaments similar to these on their Christmas tree and subconsciously I am trying to recreate my childhood love of Christmas.  Or maybe I’m just drawn to shiny, pretty things.  Who knows?

But how about you?  Do you have any Christmas related non-collections?  Do you follow a similar set of ‘rules’ for collecting, or do you just go for broke?  Leave me a comment and let me know.

I have a special treat planned for next week.  I’m super excited to be sharing a tour of my friend Amy’s house, which is looking amazingly festive.

Her holiday decorations make me drool, and I bet you guys will love them too!  So be sure to stay tuned!

40 thoughts on “my vintage ornament non-collection.

  1. I’ve always loved your vintage ornaments! They are getting harder and harder to find too. Would be nice to find old fashioned tinsel somewhere too – to really get the feel for Christmas trees of the past. Merry Christmas to you and yours!🎄


      1. I have a couple unopened boxes of tinsel & old icicles! (I think they were my gram’s.) And I have some old tinsel that I use occasionally. I have all my grandparents’ & parents’ old ornaments & some of the boxes. I use some of the ornaments every year. Broke my most favorite blown glass tiny house ornament last year. Still sad. It was on our tree every year since at least 1950. Each time I open the old boxes I seem to find something I’d forgotten was there!

        Love being a NON-collector! (My kids don’t agree!) Merry Christmas!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I love your story and the gorgeous photographs of your ornament non-collection! I am drawn to the shiny and the sentimental as well. And like you, I have rarely paid a lot for my (every growing) collection.
    Your mention of La Garage had me wistfully remembering the magic of arriving before daybreak on black Friday for their enchanting Christmas opening. Oh, how I miss them!


  3. Love these! Brings back memories of Christmas excitement and being a kid in a simpler time. Makes me think about my grandma and her tree and how my brothers would get into trouble for throwing wads of tinsel instead of a pieces😂😂. Loving all these posts and looking forward to Christmas tours !!


  4. Your curated ornaments are beautiful. My favourite is the bell and the other was the one with the moon and stars . It’s always sad to lose them as they are so fragile. I think I only have 2 vintage ones left.
    I too have downsized my ornaments and I have a few colours to eliminate. I avoid using them and the underlying reason is that they never really “worked” . Maybe I can get that done next week .


  5. Love your non-collection of ornaments. Love the Blues and aqua s and the pinks. I miss all the pretty figural ornaments. Plain rounds are BORING.I am not a fan of plastic either,but with children and grands ,you have to live with them . Have Very Merry Christmas and a blessed day


  6. Your vintage ornaments are beautiful! I inherited some from my mom (circa 1950s) and now love to find others. BTW, I think the flowers on your pink ornament are snowdrops. Lovely!


  7. Your photos are just gorgeous! I also have a non-collection of vintage ornaments. I am seeking out only pink ones so in another year or so I hope to have enough to completely cover my 5ft vintage silver tinsel tree


    1. I love my old pink ornaments. I’ve added to my family ornaments over the years & often do mostly pinks, berry-red, whites & silver/gold. I have pink tinsel garland too.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Oh my word Linda your ornaments are gorgeous-so glad you decided to get rid of some-no backsies!!!😜 I’ll be on the hunt for a space themed one for you!!🥰


  9. Love your non-collection. My tree is only decorated in the vintage decorations from my childhood tree (same vintage as you collection).


  10. I share the same “non collection” of vintage ornaments. I also pick them up at garage sales, the Goodwill outlets and also have family ornaments. I sold a lot this year on FB marketplace because I really don’t need all that I have. I got so many responses because even at estate sales they are selling super high. Your photos are so beautiful, really highlighting the details and beauty of the vintage painting. Thanks for the eye candy today!


    1. I would love to have some authentic family heirlooms, but my mom is not a terribly sentimental person and she didn’t hang onto any old ornaments from her parents. I wonder what happened to them?


  11. My goodness you have a great collection. I also pick them up in bags at vintage/thrift stores. Never pay very much. Why people think they are basically worthless…maybe it’s the size or that they are breakable. Lovely post and you have some very unique ones! Sandi


    1. I wonder if they are becoming much more popular now, because they seem to be getting harder to find at garage sales. I don’t think I found any new ones in the 2021 garage sale season. I think people have figured out that they aren’t worthless after all 😉


  12. You’re ornaments are just lovely! They bring me joy just looking at them! 🙂 I’ll be watching for a planet one for you! 🙂 Merry Christmas and thank you for bringing some nostalgia and happiness to my thoughts today. Can’t wait to see Amy’s decor!


  13. I think we have matching trees! I too love the pink and aqua ornaments and have scaled way back on my collection to include only the most special ones. My mom wasn’t a saver and I think that contributes to my love of these ornaments that are just like the ones on my childhood tree. Who knows, maybe we have bought some of our own family ornaments back.


  14. Oh Miss Quandie! Your photos are beautiful! I think you could produce an awesome Christmas coffee-table book with all of them, especially if you borrow some of them back from Sue………I think it would fly off the shelves and could be displayed year after year as Christmas decor! Just one more project for all of your new free time (-: And your Vintage Christmas tree looks absolutely delicious!


  15. Ohh I sold a couple of those planet ornaments this year 😦 One was a large amber/gold color. But I’m pretty sure one was aqua. I will remember you next time. I think we sold close to 200 vintage ornaments this year..


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