Recent Posts


Vintage Ornament Collection

I have somehow amassed a large vintage ornament collection over the last 10-15 years. I had some questions about it in my stories and I thought I would do a post about where to find them and how to try not to spend all your money on them.

Vintage Ornament Collection | Oh Happy Day

I love vintage glass ornaments. I first really noticed them in my twenties when I would go to the Alameda Flea Market several times a year. Usually in the Fall vendors pull out their “Christmas stock” but occasionally you’ll see it during other times of the year as well. I think my first purchase was when I saw a big bin of neon pink ornaments. The bright color and worn texture was so special I ended up buying a big jar for about $20. I wasn’t trying to start collecting vintage ornaments, and these weren’t especially valuable or in good condition. I just saw them and loved them. When I decorated my tree that year I realized they were my favorite ornaments. I loved them more than some of my fancier ones I had bought.

Vintage Ornament Collection | Oh Happy Day
Vintage Ornament Collection | Oh Happy Day
Vintage Ornament Collection | Oh Happy Day

After that I would just casually add to my collection whenever I saw them at flea markets or thrift stores. It was just one of those things I always collected…like vintage globes. That is where I could find decent deals. I added to my collection when we moved to Paris and would go to flea markets in Europe (turns out they have so much old stuff.) It went on like this for probably about 10 years. At that point I had a decent collection, probably about 150 vintage ornaments and hadn’t spent very much. Then a few years ago I went to antique mall in North Carolina and they had a big lot of vintage ornaments that were really well priced. I bought them out of almost everything they had and doubled the size of my collection to about 300.

My mom always changed the “look and feel” of our tree every few years and about three years ago I decided that instead of putting up my random collection of ornaments I was going to only buy vintage ornaments. I gave myself a budget of about $500 and I basically scoured Ebay and Etsy for several weeks looking for the prettiest ornaments and the best deals. I would search “vintage ornament lot” then I would “add to cart” all the good ones and spend a lot of time editing down based on price.

A few times I’ve seen a very special set in mint condition and I’ve splurged on it to round out my collection. This year my tree is 95% vintage and it’s my favorite one I’ve ever had.

Vintage Ornament Collection | Oh Happy Day
Vintage Ornament Collection | Oh Happy Day

Do you collect vintage ornaments? I would love to hear how you’ve collected them.

  1. M Piraro

    December 11, 2020

    One of the most beautiful trees I have seen.

  2. Briana

    December 11, 2020

    I love the older ornaments!


  3. Maggie

    December 11, 2020

    Love this! Would also add that if anyone goes to estate sales, there usually is a bunch of Christmas decor and ornaments and I have found some really fun ornaments that way (eg wooden Santa with a super long hat that bounces up and down on a spring which kids love). Especially if you are ok with one-offs (though sometimes I’ve found some small sets that I love), it’s really fun to browse and they’re always so cheap I’ve basically decided never to buy new ornaments again.

  4. Evi

    December 11, 2020

    Oh, this reminds me of my childhood (our tree was was smaller) but we used to have glass ornaments!

  5. Rheanna

    December 11, 2020

    Your tree is perfection. Hearing about how your ornament collection came to be is inspiring. Thanks for sharing.

  6. Caz

    December 11, 2020

    Not really collecting when you spend $500 rinsing eBay is it? Not rooted in reality.

  7. Lita Elizabeth ashley

    December 12, 2020

    Love, love, love your tree. I’m with you regarding vintage glass ornaments! Modern plastic ones don’t really do it for me. Though some of the high end glass ones are OK, though expensive. I collect them at charity shops here in UK also car boot sales before Covid. Have a blessed Christmas and new year, stay safe. x

  8. Marianne

    December 12, 2020

    My partner was a big Scrooge when it came to Christmas when we first got together. But he loves vintage things and got it into his head to start buying ornaments when we owned a B&B. Our guests loved to see a Christmas tree during the holidays. He bought all the ornaments on eBay and spent no more than $1 for each. It became a challenge for him. Now we no longer own the B&B but we still enjoy those lovely old ornaments that remind us of our childhoods. His favorite is a Depression-era bell made out of a tuna can; mine is one of those clip on birds.

  9. Dallas

    December 12, 2020

    I started buying vintage ornaments about 20 years ago at antique stores in Maine. We would go there every Thanksgiving (this year was the first year we stayed home in 25 years!) so it was the perfect time to get them. But over the years the prices have really increased as they came back en Vogue, and I had a bunch already, so I do t buy them anymore unless they are a good deal. Your tree reminds me a lot of my moms, just the way you really cover the tree and hang the ornaments at various depths. No matter how hard I try mine never comes out as nice. Do you look for a tree that has a certain depth? Do you trim it? I love a Charlie Brown tree from the woods for the airiness and an old designer friend of mine told me he used to literally trim branches off his trees to create more space for the ornaments. Would love to hear your thoughts on this. ❤️

  10. Regina

    December 12, 2020

    Your tree is breathtaking. I will be watching for vintage ornaments as I shop our local thrift stores for sure now. This brought back so many memories of my late Grandmother’s tree. I could just stare at this all day. I hope you don’t mind that I saved your picture to use as my computer background, if so let me know and I can delete it. Thanks for sharing this with us. Merry Christmas!!

  11. shari

    December 12, 2020

    To Caz: Can’t you just let this woman spend her own money on something she loves? I found your comment to be stark, stiff, shallow, and completely lacking in ANY spirit let alone Christmas spirit. I’m very truly sorry that you feel that way.


      • Caz
      • December 13, 2020

      You’re right. It was mean spirited. I usually keep my mouth closed if I have nothing nice to say. I have no exception to people decorating their trees however they like, of course. Spend as much money as you like. I just watched missy Elliott’s video of her OTT tree – it was brilliant. What I didn’t like was the framing of this as a collection. I used to collect vintage ornaments too, but now you don’t see them anywhere. Because they’ve been monetised and peddled on ebay. That’s fair enough. But don’t claim that’s collecting. That’s spending a ton of money to style your tree for instagram traffic to drive your brand, let’s call it what it is. And not really in the Christmas spirit imo. See the other comments – handed down ornaments with beautiful stories. I buy an ornament a year, not because I have no money, but because that ornament then has meaning and reminds me of that year. That to me is the spirit of Christmas. Not dropping $500 on eBay. That just seems greedy and seems to be more and more what this blog is about, pure consumerism. I really should unfollow.

        • India
        • December 15, 2020

        Did you not read the whole post??? She’s been collecting them for over 10 years…buying them when she seems them at flea markets etc. pretty sure that’s what collecting is. Just because she finished off her collection with a large no. of items doesn’t mean she wasn’t collecting them.
        Re consumerism, incase you haven’t realised bloggers need to be paid for their work too so monetisation is necessary. Sad but true fact of life😔
        Merry Christmas

  12. sewhappy

    December 12, 2020

    I don’t have a collection but I have a few from my parents and a few that I have bought over the years. We don’t have a theme tree. We just put up meaningful ornaments every year.

  13. Leslie

    December 12, 2020

    My favorite score was when I almost missed the garbage pickup. I ran to the curb in my bathrobe & stopped before tossing in the bag. There was a large clear plastic bag full of vintage ornaments!!! Mostly just plain balls but great colors & patina & some missing their tops. I asked if I could have them & after a double-take he said, Ummmm… sure…

      • Mimi
      • December 13, 2020

      I feel so lucky to have a few from my grandparents…also in pastel and neon colors. I plan to collect a few more ….you have inspired me!

  14. Cockeyed Jo

    December 12, 2020

    Jordan, (lengthy. Sorry.)

    We had a family tradition in our house of, an all day affair, decorating tree party the first Saturday after December 13th. The 13th is my oldest daughter’s birthday and her special day. All the immediate family, the grandparents, and one surviving great grandmother. This and Christmas Eve dinner before church were required attendance events in our house. Up to fifteen head of famIy in attendance by 2011. Lunch was simple fare of sib sandwiches, and dinner was pot roasts made in
    three crockpots.

    Let Christmas decorating begin! The Christmas decorations were pulled down from the attic in bucket brigade fashion. The menfolk were in charge of decorating the outside. The lady folk and older children were in charge of decorating the inside except for the tree. Great-grandmother, the younger members of the family, and I were in charge of decorating and baking Christmas cookies. Everybody had a job to do from the oldest to the youngest for several hours. Then, we broke for lunch. Part of the
    inside crew’s job was setting up the folded table and chairs so we could eat together.

    A few hours were passed swapping stories and achievements to let lunch settle, Then it was back to decorating and baking. The much younger children took their naps while great-grandmother and I with the next younger grands made sourdough rolls and other side dishes for dinner. We also, finished baking the cookies. Just before dinner, Great-grandmother made the Wassail and turned the heat low so it could warm during dinner. The menfolk played with the children, we womenfolk cleaned up the
    dinner prep pots and dished. Great-grandmother made hot chocolate with my put up chocolate syrup.

    We carried cups of hot chocolate and wassail to the menfolk. The first cups were served. Refills were gey your own. The older grandchildren carried out platters of cookies. Now was the tree’s turn of many hands decorating. One at a time each ornament was pulled and the story that related by the ornament was told by the creator or family member that it pertained to and hung on the tree. The stories involved how they got the ornament, where (what country), etc. It fell on the oldest member to recite the histories
    of those memories for the ornament of those who had passed on. (we had ornaments from my great-grandmother’s time too)By 2010, it was my father or my husband (for his side of the family. Now, it would fall to me for both sides if we weren’t so spread out all over the globe and no longer have this time together.

    When each new child is born, the grandmother made/ or purchased 3 copies of the ornament. One for this family get together, one for their family’s tree. and the last one is for that child’s 9grown up tree upon leaving their homes. The tradition continues. When I downsized to move here, I divided the ornaments among the children except for one, the first ornament of and my first married ornament my husband’s and my ornament as man and wide. Each year as a family or just some of us, we make
    dozens of new ornaments to be divided amongst the households for their trees. I still continue this practice and mail them wherever.

  15. Susan Barone

    December 12, 2020

    Your ornaments reminded me of my grandparents’ tree. When I moved to Dayton, I received their smaller Christmas tree and some very old ornaments very like some of the ones shown. They were already starting to show signs of cracks, so now I put them in a very large Mason jar with twinkle lights each year instead of hanging them. I so hope these vintage ones are manufactured again someday. I just love them.

  16. achhilekh

    December 13, 2020

    Nice beautiful

  17. Kate

    December 13, 2020

    What gorgeous tree! I read some comments about the price of the ornaments and wanted to offer a different perspective: I really appreciate the honesty about what it took to amass such a dreamy ornament collection in a relatively short timeline. That isn’t my ornament budget (which is basically $0 right now since my kids are constantly making them with popsicle sticks and jar lids at school so tree real estate is at a premium), but I find it helpful to have a sense of what a really dazzling vintage tree would cost. I think some of the criticism was also aimed at the speed of the collection, but why wait for something that will bring you and your family so much joy?

      • mominmendon
      • December 15, 2020

      Kate, I love to hear that your children’s creations have a place on your tree. A good friend with several kids loved to have a tall designer-y tree and her solution was two trees. The Happy Memories one in the family room had all the Cub Scout and pre-school ornaments saved through the years. In the living rm was the giant show-off tree that she loved designing. So sweet to me that she kept all her children’s jar-lid, clothes-pin home made ornaments.

  18. Sundays Bread

    December 13, 2020

    I am so fortunate to have a few from my grandparents..,gorgeous pink,and red silvery creations…you have inspired me to seek out more.

  19. Em

    December 13, 2020

    Absolutely gorgeous! I love the addition of the big bows on the tree, too 🙂

  20. Shari

    December 13, 2020

    Me again. I entirely agree with what Kate said. Whatever this woman – Jordan – does to grow her collection, however fast or slowly, for free, homemade, or expensive, bought, found, given or copied from someone else’s ornaments, Jordan’s collection gives not only her but numerous family members great joy; it is held together with their tradition, is something beautiful to look at and admire, and I wish her all the luck in the world increasing her collection with every single ornament that she loves. If she loves it, it should be hers, no matter how or when it was acquired. Onward, Jordan – I envy your collection and have one of my own, though a little bit smaller. There is nothing “commercial” in your story or in your collecting practices, and if there were, well, so what? If you love it, you should own it, care for it, and love it. I know I do!


  21. Lisa

    December 13, 2020

    I have several boxes of vintage ornaments from my great-grandmother, my paternal grandparents and my parents. I have some in original boxes from the 30’s we think? I haven’t pulled them out for several years because I’m afraid of breaking them. Any advice on how to preserve and store them well?

  22. Beth

    December 14, 2020

    I love vintage ornaments too! I have a lot of the same one’s you have & just gotten them her and there…garage sales, family members, attic’s of old houses, etc. My favorite one is a pink see thru glass ornament with painted snow on it & a white & silver tinsel running through the middle…it was my mom’s as a child & she is going to be 87 on Christmas Day…I have never seen another like it. Of course if I saw more I would scoop them up in a minute…if I felt the urge to I would order from Ebay…what ever you love…pursue it! Merry Christmas to all!

  23. Brandy

    December 15, 2020

    So much vintage pink
    You cant find that color any other way! Love this

  24. Martha Beeson

    December 16, 2020

    I DO! I DO! collect vintage ornaments! And it’s so refreshing to find someone else who sees the same beauty in them that I do! I have some of my husband’s Grandmothers (how I got started) and then I add a box or two every year… finding them mostly on Craigslist or FB marketplace. Thank you!


  25. Melissa

    December 16, 2020

    Beautiful tree!!! Makes me happy! Stunning vtg ornaments collection. Did you mind sharing the sorce of the 🎀 ribbon? Is beautiful

  26. sudoku 247

    December 21, 2020

    Your CLASSIC DECORATION COLLECTION is awesome, they look so beautiful!

  27. Muhammad Usman Ahmad

    December 23, 2020

    You have been collecting for more than 10 years… wow…
    I used to collect stamps and I made a huge collection too but oneday I could not find it anywhere in my room… Just disappeared… Don’t know, who did it… I guess, someone took it…

    Unfortunately, I lost my loving collection…

Comments are Closed

More Recent Posts