Shiny Brites are colorful glass balls that were sold at Woolworth in the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s –– and at just a nickel apiece, it’s no wonder they could be seen all season long. Vintage Shiny Brites are still a bargain at garage sales and flea markets, so why not stock up? Fashion a spectacular centerpiece by displaying a few dozen on a tiered cake stand. Dazzling!
These miniature works of art from the late 1800s often feature birds, flowers and wintry landscapes, with gilded foil details and colorful fringe. Try sprucing up a windowsill by hanging them from swags of fresh evergreen. Make a casual collage by sliding them into the frame of a mirror. Or dress up a doorknob with a beaded glass garland adorned with vintage cards. Don’t be afraid to push the envelope.
The next time you’re at the flea market, do a little bird watching for Old World, clip-on bird ornaments. These hand-blown glass beauties from Germany feature delicate, spun-glass tails and each bird is attached to a clip, perfect for tree trimming. Showcase your flock in a fanciful display by the fireplace. Simply clip them onto a glittered tree branch from the yard for a stylish holiday hearth. On such an elegant perch, they’re sure to sing a carol or two.
These handcrafted figurines from the 1940s, with their pine-cone bodies, pipe-cleaner arms and kooky clay faces, are a holiday hoot. They pop up from time to time out of closets and attics, so if you see one, nab a little elfin magic. To show off these North Pole gnomes, create a snowy vignette on a bookcase. Just turn a few books on their sides, perch a pixie on white felt, and add a herd of tiny reindeer dashing through the snow.
Little Christmas villages are available everywhere, but why buy a reproduction at a mega store when you can have your own authentic Christmas town? Just keep an eye out for vintage cardboard houses that say “Made in Germany” or “Made in Japan.” Create a North Pole neighborhood by lining up these Lilliputian houses in an old wooden soda crate turned into a shelf. As your collection grows, look for accessories for your village, such as flocked bottlebrush trees and miniature sleighs.
Popular in the 1940s and 1950s, these beautiful baubles come in bright colors and feature sparkling silvery indents that cast shimmering reflections everywhere. Such precious orbs and teardrops might get lost on the tree among the everyday balls and bows, so celebrate their splendor in your front window for all to see. Just hang the starbursts at different heights using silk ribbon for a kaleidoscopic window treatment.