The Ultimate Guide to Vintage Christmas Ornaments: Value and Charm - Unifury

This section doesn’t currently include any content. Add content to this section using the sidebar.

The Ultimate Guide to Vintage Christmas Ornaments: Value and Charm


Today, modern Christmas decorations consistently generate excitement during every holiday season. Nevertheless, no contemporary ornaments can evoke the nostalgic and heartwarming sentiments of a cozy childhood like vintage ornaments can. Vintage Christmas ornaments not only contribute an intriguing appearance to your Christmas tree but also infuse warmth into cold winter days by rekindling cherished memories of youth. We have compiled information to shed light on why vintage decorations maintain such high value and appeal to numerous enthusiasts. Additionally, we will provide you with a comprehensive guide on how to decorate and preserve these sentimental ornaments.

What are vintage ornaments?

If you still have boxes of Christmas decorations stored from your childhood in the attic, you will uncover ornaments with a rustic yet highly charming appearance, such as tin stars, mercury glass balls, adorable reindeer, or tall-hatted snowmen. They all possess a truly nostalgic look - that's why they're called vintage ornaments.

Vintage ornaments began to emerge after World War II when people started showing interest in craftsmanship. Particularly, novel handcrafted items often captured everyone's attention during holiday periods. Some Christmas decorations in the United States during the war were wrapped in silver paper to mimic metal ornaments.

Meanwhile, in Britain, paper clips and stiff paper hats were used to hang light bulbs on Christmas trees. Even though these vintage decoration styles were probably compensation for wartime scarcity, to this day, these vintage decorations are what collectors and Christmas enthusiasts yearn for.

What are vintage ornaments made of?

Perhaps because vintage decorations still embody an old but gold trend during Christmas, modern decorations nowadays occasionally emulate classic styles. However, these imitations can't quite compare to the original versions, as they often have a weathered look like chipped paint, and less sparkle. Vintage decorations are typically crafted from delicate glass or mercury glass, sometimes coated with a layer of glitter on the outside. They come in various shapes like baubles, mushrooms, pinecones, teardrops, or birds.

How Can You Identify an Antique Christmas Ornament?

Many vintage and antique Christmas ornaments can be acquired for a modest sum, especially when purchased in bulk. Yet, some of these ornaments have an antique Christmas ornaments value that can range between $10 to $30. This elevated price for certain vintage pieces is influenced by three primary factors, distinguishing them from more common items.


The majority of vintage Christmas decorations tend to carry the potential for slight scratches or surface rust that can be readily noticeable to the naked eye. This arises from the fact that Christmas ornaments, irrespective of how well they have been preserved, are prone to some extent of fading from their original look as time passes. On the contrary, newer Christmas decorations will showcase a glossier appearance, undamaged paint layers, and virtually no scratches.


The majority of antique and vintage Christmas ornaments feature a mostly matte outer coating, with only a few designed to have a reflective surface. In contrast, a glossy finish is preferred for creating a sparkling appearance in modern decorations.

Moreover, before the 20th century, metal caps were consistently used to adorn antique Christmas tree ornaments. Conversely, the spring-loaded metal clips that are attached to ornaments emerged only after the 20th century.

Using these appearance characteristics, you can make guesses about which items might be genuine antique ornaments and which ones could be replicas. However, these are speculative conclusions drawn from experience and lack a definitive basis.


Just by touching the decorations, a seasoned collector can often distinguish whether they are vintage or modern. The materials used in crafting vintage decorations usually involve metals and mercury glass. They don't result in a smooth surface, so when touching vintage ornaments, you'll feel a sense of rigidity. On the other hand, contemporary decorations are made from plastics and materials that can yield a smooth and glossy surface upon touch.

To ensure that you're purchasing a 100% authentic vintage decoration, it's best to seek assistance from reputable collectors, local appraisers, or thoroughly research online resources and books.

Watch more: Unveiling the Christmas Ornaments Meaning: Symbols and Significance.

Are Vintage Christmas Ornaments Worth Anything?

There are numerous vintage and antique decorations available for purchase at just a few dollars or even less if bought in dozens at once. However, there are also vintage decorations that can be priced as high as $10 - $30. Three factors contribute to the higher cost of certain vintage Christmas decorations compared to typical items.


The older the ornament, the more expensive it tends to be. Although antique collectors might not be as enthusiastic about collecting vintage Christmas ornaments, it can't be denied that the age of the item influences its value.


Nobody pursues things that are commonplace, individuals derive pleasure from obtaining and possessing unique items. Hence, it's not difficult to comprehend the notion that as Christmas decorations become scarcer, their value escalates.


There aren't many vintage Christmas decorations that can stay in perfect condition as they are used from one holiday season to the next. It's tough to find any vintage Christmas decoration that looks completely new. Thus, the condition of older items can affect their value. The better the condition, the more flawless the appearance, and consequently, the higher the price.

Why do people love to collect vintage ornaments?

Many people cherish vintage decorations as they are like a spiritual gift during the holiday season. Others find them appealing due to the stories behind their origins. It can be said that there are numerous reasons that make vintage Christmas items beloved by people. Explore the common reasons below.

Charming History

Only classic vintage Christmas decorations possess a unique charm that entices many to possess them. The term 'vintage' not only implies the value of these decorations due to their age but also symbolizes something nostalgic and deeply meaningful. Vintage ornaments could be the adorable decorations from your beloved grandmother's Christmas tree that has passed on or the ones you crafted yourself when you were young.

Furthermore, antique decorations always evoke affection due to the stories behind them. Each ornament we hang on our festive fir tree has an intriguing tale to share. For instance, the string lights on the Christmas tree are inspired by the candles Martin Luther used to illuminate his Tannenbaum in the 16th century. He witnessed the starry sky casting a glow over the evergreens on his way home one winter night. Consequently, he wished for his indoor Christmas tree to radiate a similar brilliance.

Sentimental Value

There are numerous decorations that have accompanied a person's journey of growth over time. They get handed down from one generation to another within a family. As a result, many people desire to preserve or collect vintage Christmas decorations because of their sentimental value.

Antique Business

Owners of vintage stores will always have a strong fondness for antique items. This is because they are individuals who aim to collect antique items for the purpose of restoring and reselling them to others. For enthusiasts of antiques, money is not a concern when presented with a cherished piece they desire to add to their collection.


Many people find joy and allure in collecting antiques, considering it their hobby. The same applies to vintage Christmas decorations; they adore them because they have a passion for collecting antiques.

Where to collect vintage ornament?

To collect vintage Christmas decorations, you require a curious and research-oriented mindset, alongside patience. This pursuit of collecting could occasionally entail combing through various antique stores and thrift shops. Local auctions also serve as prime destinations for enthusiasts of antiques. Additionally, you can persistently explore online marketplaces such as Etsy or eBay.

What are some other tips for decorate and store vintage ornaments?

The classic holiday decorations are not just charming but also hold great significance for their owners. Much like family heirlooms, vintage holiday decorations are built to last for the long term - as long as you treat them with the right care. Discover the tips for decorating and storing your lovely vintage Christmas items below.

For decor

Your classic-looking Christmas tree, doesn't that sound intriguing? Here are some tips to assist you in adorning your tree with vintage ornaments:

  • Opt for a specific color palette for your Christmas tree. This will help narrow down your choices for decorations and lend a tidy, sophisticated appearance to your tree.
  • Choose a theme for your tree: In addition to the color palette, selecting a theme for your tree can be an enjoyable method to convey your personality and aesthetic preferences.
  • Fuse vintage charm with modern beauty: The concept of blending and harmonizing vintage and modern decorations is a splendid notion to infuse your Christmas tree with a distinctive, cutting-edge, and unparalleled aura.

For Storage ornament

Before storing antique Christmas ornaments, it's essential to give them a thorough cleaning. However, prior to cleaning, inspect the condition of each decoration. If any items are damaged, it's wise to set them aside for future repairs.

When it comes to storing your vintage Christmas decorations, if the original boxes are no longer available, consider utilizing traditional packaging materials like acid-free canvas bags, bubble wrap, tissue paper, or vintage fabric. In general, opt for materials that offer a soft and flexible cushion.

Afterward, proceed to categorize and pack the decorations into separate boxes. For instance, you can place your child's homemade ornaments in one box and reserve another for delicate items. Remember to attach labels to the storage containers unless you wish to dig through boxes come next Christmas.

Ensure that the chosen containers possess sufficient sturdiness for stacking. Wooden or metal containers might be a preferable option over plastic.

Watch more: Christmas Ornament Storage: Tips and Solutions for Keeping Your Decorations Safe.


Vintage ornaments make for a wonderful Christmas tree decoration idea to illuminate and warm your winter. It's fascinating to realize that vintage ornaments have multiple reasons that render them attractive to Christmas enthusiasts, surpassing their mere sentimental values.

Should you possess a vintage Christmas decoration concept this year, you are now equipped with the most comprehensive guidance on differentiating between vintage and new ornaments, where to find vintage Xmas items, and even tips for adorning and safeguarding them. At this point, all that remains is waiting for the arrival of the holiday season to adorn your Christmas tree.

You may also like: 

👍 Why Do We Decorate Christmas Trees? Revealing Traditions and Significance.
👍 Elevate Your Holiday with Christmas Tree Decorations and Ornaments.
👍 How to Decorate a Christmas Tree: Tips and Ideas for Festive Home Decor.
Unifury Support

Unifury Support | View all blog posts

Unifury is here to help cherish and share special memories in life with those you love, no matter where you are in the world. Having been part of so many families' milestones and celebrations, we offer a wide range of interesting, creative, thoughtful gifts and ideas, and fresh gift-giving inspiration to make every moment count.

Share this post

Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.