Decorating with Vintage Ornaments

Old fashioned glass ornaments and garlands can add extra sparkle to your holiday decor

Credit: Heather Ross

Glass Pinecones

Vintage ornaments have all of a sudden become trendy, so much so that manufacturers such as Shiny-Brite have started rereleasing new versions of their old designs. I must admit I am a bit of a purest and like my old faded versions that had survived the test of time. I display them in tall glass vases or tuck them into found birds nests even during the summer season. My absolute favourite ornaments are glass pinecones from the ’50s or earlier. Most vintage choices are almost paper thin and feather light, making them perfect for hanging on the most delicate of branches. Sometimes you can find ones lightly frosted with snow. You can just dangle a few, create a little cluster, or hang just a single one from a driftwood branch for a real natural coastal feel.

Credit: Heather Ross

Glass Beaded Garlands

Vintage glass beaded garlands were also very popular and are often seen on trees along with cascades of tinsel. For a more current look, strands can be swagged and draped in multiples much how long chain necklaces are combined to make a fashion statement. For a dramatic effect they can also be spilled over tall pedestal bowls or urns filled with cones or branches instead of swooped on tree boughs. Playing natural textures like handmade cotton garlands off of shimmery silver and glass makes a grouping such as this even more interesting and original. Vintage plastic stag deers manage to look stoic instead of kitsch when poised at the base of the setting.

Credit: Heather Ross

Mercury Glass Ornaments

There is something very zen and timeless about the simple circular forms of old glass ornaments in solid colors. Over time the ‘mercury’ glass finish of these baubles  tarnishes and creates subtle nuances. Displaying them simply all together in a bowl allows their unique qualities to shine. This grouping of small baubles arranged within an antique Chinese bowl is an understated modern nod to holidays of the past that could please even the minimalists.


Credit: Heather Ross

Vintage Cocktail Glasses

It’s fun and easy to display ornaments by placing them into little vessels such as vintage cocktail glasses. The retro mood of old decorations makes for a perfect Mad Men inspired bar setting while entertaining over the holidays. You can change it up and use old tea cups if your prefer or even silver goblets. Display the glasses in groupings or even just isolate one on it’s own for a dear little vignette. 

Credit: Heather Ross

Hand Painted Silver Ornaments

White and silver always feel timeless and fresh, crisp and classic! Hand painted, glittery silver ornaments dazzle when featured in a milk glass container. Fill several milk glass vessels with the silver ornaments and group along a mantle, down a tablescape or along a windowsill to evoke a wonderful frosty mood for the wintery holiday season.

Photographer, stylist and writer Heather Ross contributes on regular basis for publications such as BCLiving, Western Living and Canadian House & Home. She has a background in fine art and design and her paintings have been placed in numerous collections. She runs her own boutique, Heather Ross {natural eclectic}, which features a mix of old and new treasures. Heather loves to bake, garden, travel and explore the natural world.