Collecting Vintage Christmas Decorations Year-Round

It’s finally feeling like summer, which is a weird time to be thinking about Christmas, right? But let me explain, why collecting vintage Christmas decorations year-round, is the perfect activity right now!

collecting vintage Christmas ornaments year round

Joy all through the year

Collecting vintage Christmas decorations is something that I love to do. Not only does it bring a touch of history to the holiday season (Christmases past and all that jazz), but it also personally brings me joy.

In January when I pack everything away neatly, to await next year, I immediately start thinking about what collections I need to add to throughout the year. So if you’re weird like me and love to search around outside of the Christmas season, I’d love to share some tips to make finding vintage items year-round something fun and fulfilling for you.

Collecting vintage Christmas decorations year-round vintage ornaments
Last year, I wanted to begin a collection of vintage ornaments in the pinecone shape. I started with a few and only found a total of 5 through the holiday season. Now I’m on the hunt!

Why it’s the perfect time to collect vintage Christmas decorations

Since late spring and summer are the main time people start cleaning out their closets, basements, and attics, and begin having garage sales or donating items, it is the perfect time to keep your eyes peeled. Estate sales also seem to be fewer and far between in the winter months. But when things warm up, the schedule gets full of places to search.

Searching for Christmas decorations year-round is the perfect hobby, so when I am ready to decorate come the holidays, I have enough vintage ornaments or other collections to make my Christmas decorating ideas happen. Planning ahead also takes the stress out of decorating for the holidays in creative ways.

Collecting vintage Christmas decorations year-round vintage ornaments 3 pinecones
I found 3 more pinecones at an estate sale in April.

Not everyone is planning ahead and thinking about Christmas. If you are, then you have the advantage of finding the goodies before someone else does. Who doesn’t love a competitive edge?

Plus you never know when you will stumble upon a fabulous pile of vintage Christmas ornaments! You should always be ready to receive the bounty that good luck has to offer and keep your eyes open.

Why collect vintage Christmas decorations:

  • tradition + nostalgia – sometimes you can find items that will give you an emotional connection to happy childhood memories
  • they don’t make it like they used to – I think we can all agree on this one. There’s just something about the charm of vintage craftsmanship
  • collectible potential – I never collect items because they might be worth something, but if you are interested in this angle, it could be a good reason
  • the charm of one-of-a-kind – nothing makes me happier than having unique items that allow me to portray my own personal style and be different from what the trends are

Starting your collection

Sometimes thinking about what you want to collect is the best start of action. However, once in awhile, you need to be open to what the universe has fabulously put in your path to be found. I found these amazing clip-on birds last month at an estate sale.

collecting vintage Christmas all year round

Last year, I was focused that I wanted to be looking for vintage ornaments shaped like pinecones. I am still searching but keeping my eyes open for new collections too. Whatever you are thinking you might want, here are a few tips to start your search,

  • do a bit of internet research – learn a bit about styles and the different periods that the item came from. Look into differences in colors or materials, and make notes you can keep in your phone that will be easily accessed while shopping. Note different manufacturers and brands and what to look for in the items you want.
  • check prices and set a budget – check Etsy or eBay for average prices of what things are selling for and set a budget for yourself. Sometimes it is easy to get caught up in the thrill when looking for vintage treasures. It is best to have a maximum budget to know whether something is a good deal or not. Of course, this can always be adjusted if you find that diamond in the rough.
  • join Facebook groups – chances are, if you love something and are interested in it, there are others out there too. Search Facebook for collector groups or forums, find fun blogs to inspire you for your decor, and find your people.
  • seek out vintage shows that are in your style – summer is the time that vintage shows and flea markets are really popping up everywhere. Check listings and mark your calendar to attend the ones you know have the type of look you like.
collecting vintage Christmas ornaments year round
These are from the last estate sale that I went to. I have now more than doubled my vintage pinecone ornament collection in the last few months!
collecting vintage Christmas ornaments year round

​Where to find vintage Christmas decorations

I know I have mentioned before that estate sales are always my favorite places to find treasures because I love to see the environment the item has been living in for the last decades. Here are some other great places to discover vintage finds and nostalgic holiday decor:

  • antique shops – frequent your faves and get to know the staff
  • flea markets – not everyone puts their Christmas stuff out all year. If you find a dealer you like, inquire if they have more of what you see or items you are searching for. Read this post for tips
  • garage sales – also look for barn sales that might have older items
  • online shopping – eBay, Etsy, and Facebook marketplace are great places to get started and search for something specific
  • thrift shops – shop these frequently if you have a good one and find out the days ‘new’ merchandise hits the floor
  • dime stores – sometimes these old-fashioned shops have good basics (like wood bead trim) that can be a good support to your vintage Christmas decor
collecting vintage Christmas ornaments year round

Tips for shopping and the thrill of the hunt

It’s always good to check out the item thoroughly to make sure you are getting quality items. Here are a few tips for shopping wisely:

  • smell it – pass on anything that smells like mold
  • are repairs needed – if so, the price better be really low and it should be relatively easy to fix or repurpose
  • get out and about – travel to new places and explore different markets
  • enjoy the search and not just the find – this builds excitement for the holidays when you’ll have the satisfaction of seeing things come together
  • build relationships – get to know the workers at your local antique stores if you are wanting something specific. You can request they call you if what you are searching for pops up in their shop
  • time your visits – shop thrift stores on the days items are put out
  • shop often – if you really want to build a collection of something unique then get out often and search for treasures

In the interest of preparing throughout the year for the holidays, consider planning out your exterior lighting scheme or garland design and put up any necessary hooks to make decorating in the winter months even easier!

Caring for Your Collection

To keep collections organized, you should have some proper storage. I like to keep mine in Rubbermaid containers. They are all marked with labels, so if I am looking for a box of vintage Christmas decorations to add some treasures to, they are easy to find.

collecting vintage Christmas ornaments year round

Within some of the containers, I also store some items in ziplock bags that are labeled. Especially if they are from a special place, I write this on the bag so I don’t forget!

Collecting vintage Christmas decorations year-round and storing it

It is best to have these stored in the proper temperature and humidity control. I keep mine in our basement, on shelving, where they are safe from moisture and damage. If you have vintage pieces that may need to be protected from dust, such as wreaths, these should be stored in bags or covered.

What vintage Christmas items I like to collect

My kitchen, family room, entry, and living room are filled with all things vintage at Christmas time. Who doesn’t love a very vintage holiday? I certainly do! These are the Christmas collectibles I’m on the hunt at the most wonderful time of the year:

collecting vintage Christmas ornaments year round truck collection
  • shiny brite ornaments – color and patina is key. If they are in their original box, that’s a big bonus
  • vintage santa claus – I keep my eye out for a variety. I have a friend who collects weird looking ones that look drunk, so I keep my eyes peeled for those too. Adding to a friends collection always makes the perfect gift
  • nativity scenes – I can no longer accommodate large displays of the holy family, so I am now only searching for tiny sets that can be displayed easier. Always make sure all the pieces are there, especially the baby Jesus
  • sock stretchers – these are not meant to be holiday decorations, but once I put mine out at Christmas time, I became obsessed as they look like stockings
  • toy trucks – I add little bottle brush trees for a cute little ‘bringing the tree home’ display
  • vintage Christmas books – the graphics in these are always so precious
  • honeycomb paper decor – vintage festive shapes with strong colors that aren’t too faded
  • mercury glass tree toppers – I display these in milk glass vases
  • anything that matches something I had/have from my childhood – I recently got all my mother’s vintage decorations and there are a few things I would love to add to extend the collection
collecting vintage Christmas ornaments year round tree toppers in milk glass vases

I love the warm fuzzy feelings I get when decorating for Christmas, especially when I find items that bring back memories from travels, loved ones, and simpler times

Popular vintage Christmas decorations to keep your eyes peeled for

There are so many things you can discover when searching for holiday collectibles. Adding to your Christmas collection year-round is the best way to extend your stash as I find that off-season isn’t the time that many people rush to the Christmas pile.

To me, hunting for all treasures happens all through the year. Keep your eyes peeled for these:

  • ceramic Christmas trees
  • bottle brush trees
  • aluminum trees – lighted color wheel
  • Putz villages
  • vintage sled
  • wooden nutcrackers
  • plastic candy canes
  • blow molds
  • large bulb outdoor lights
  • old tinsel
  • beaded trim 
  • small trees
collecting vintage Christmas ornaments year round
My stocking stretcher collection is now officially out of control but I continue to collect for friends or resale throughout the year

Hey friend! What else can I help you find?

Search our entire site for the topics that you want!

Feel the joy of the season all through the year

I would love to hear your stories of Christmas finds you have collected through the year. Please share what your favorite holiday collection is below in the comments.

Off season really is the best time to look. And while you’re enjoying a lazy summer day near the pool, scroll through Pinterest and save all the great display ideas that will inspire you come the holidays. Follow me, I’d love to help!

Pinterest | Amazon | Facebook | Instagram | LTK


  1. I am constantly on the lookout for vintage Christmas ornaments (and some new ones)! I love the vintage ones best though!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.