Shiny and Bright: Vintage Glass Ornaments

As a child of the 60’s (yes, I’m getting old, don’t remind me), one of our fondest memories was going to pick out our Christmas tree from the Christmas tree lot, bringing it home, stringing the lights, and getting out the collection of ornaments my mom had so lovingly put together for our family.  Those pretty and colorful glass ornaments that many of us grew up with.

Do you remember them too?

Back then, there were no designer trees.  No special colors and trendy trees.  Most everyone did those big fat colored lights and all the ornaments were colorful too.  We never had just red and green on our trees.  It was an explosion of fun colors.  That’s what I remember the most.  Those ornaments were so pretty and  magical to my little bitty self and I can remember sitting under the tree, with the lights all lit up, looking at the ornaments and dreaming of Christmas.  Don’t forget those shiny silver icicles too.  That was the finishing touch on those trees of childhood. My mom still puts up a little fake tree and was still using these ornaments up until last year.  We were over in Marietta over the weekend spending some time with my family for Christmas.  I had mentioned to her last year that I’d love to have them one day, so she got them out this year and gave them to me.    The oldest box was from a store called Christo’s and the price tag was 59 cents.  Oh my, can you imagine?  They just don’t make them like this anymore.  Well, maybe they do, but for a huge price, perhaps? She said she was afraid to keep hanging them on the tree, cause she had dropped a few and broke them in the last few years and if they fell, they were history.  These fragile things are paper thin blown glass and about 50 years old, so what do you expect?So, now they are mine to take care of and treasure.  And that, I will do.  I will probably pass them onto my niece, Lauren, at some point.  She will treasure them too.  There were over 2 boxes intact and they sure do make me smile when I look at them.I love the colors and shapes. Remember the indented ones, with their inside of shimmery gleaming shine?  The colors are just remarkable and so, so pretty.  All shapes and colors. I remember them so well. These pinks are so hot and colorful, aren’t they? So many pretties to look at. For these pics,I piled them in a white iron bird feeder, but they don’t all fit inside here.  I’ll have to find just the right spot to display them, while protecting them too.  Here are a few of my faves.  This pretty bell, with its stripes and shiny silver. Another one shaped so prettily and the colors are so soft and subtle. This silver with teal and hot pink is one that I really remember, along with the frosted snow on top. I’m so glad that they have survived and now I get to enjoy them too.

At least for this year, I carefully placed them in one of my crystal bowls on a side table in the living room.

How about you?

Do you have vintage ornaments from your childhood or have you collected some for yourself?

I’ve been on the lookout for some of these and have never found any that were a decent price. And I hardly ever see any just like this with all the colors and shapes.

LOVE them!

The Gadanke giveaway winners of the journals are:

#30 – Cathy

#55 – Liberty Bain

#65  – Monique W.

Congrats, ladies!  I w ill email you, so just get back to me and I’ll put you in touch with Katie to claim your prize.


- Rhoda


Comments

  1. Your description of the Christmases of your childhood brought back the smell of the ‘snow’ that we would sometimes spray on our tree or in the corners of the living room window…because, of course, in Mississippi, nothing says Christmas like a major (fake) snowstorm with snow piled in the windows and on our indoor Christmas tree. :)

    Beautiful ornaments. None left in our family. I didn’t think to ask until a few years ago and by that time they had long ago been donated. I’ll just enjoy the pictures of yours!

    And pout a bit.

  2. Hello,
    Just found you! :-) Great ornaments.
    I have a few family ornaments and had found some in antique shops when I discovered them on ebay…talk about an addiction!
    NancyO.

  3. oh yes! I love these ornaments! I have collected some over the years and also have some from my childhood. Where we live, they are very plentiful in the antique stores and flea markets at very good prices!

  4. I so wish we had those ornaments from our tree – someone didnt think to preserve them…. Just seeing those made me a bit nostalgic.. We do have a few of them from my late mother in law.. they are gorgeous..

    THANK YOU for bringing back those memories

  5. Thank you for the flood of memories I received when reading your post. And to Bev, I too am a Mississippi girl and can just smell the fake snow!

  6. Beautiful! I love the vintage ornaments also and have such fond memories of my childhood Christmas trees! We decorated our tree this year with the ones that I am pleased as punch to say were saved by my Mom and given to me! Some “show” their age (don’t we all!) but that just adds to the character for me! We even added those silver icicles! A quilt in similar colors underneath made by my Grandmother is the “icing” on the cake!
    Thank you for sharing your beautiful photos with us!

  7. What a lovely stroll down memory lane…. Merry Christmas! La

  8. I have a tree with the Shiny and Bright ornaments! Found them this fall in a box!! What a find and memories to go with them. Merry Christmas to all!

  9. Oh just looking at your images makes me SO happy. I have a few ornaments from the only Christmas tree my parents ever had and have also collected several ornaments one by one over many years.
    So lovely. Be merry and bright!

  10. I love your photos!! I remember specifically the ones with the ‘fanned holes’ in the center. They look so pretty just displayed in a bowl like that. :)

    I wrote a post a couple weeks ago about the ornaments my Great Grandmother used to make with sequins and beads and give to the family every year.

    http://wherebeautymeetsfunction.blogspot.com/2010/12/12-days-of-christmas-day-2-ornament.html

  11. I did not have them from my childhood, but as an adult I have begun collecting then and find that they are my favorites, the more worn the better. A few years ago I was dropping some clothes at the back of the Salvation Army and discovered that the person before me had left about 7 full boxes of perfect Shiny Brights, after some confusion if she meant per ornament or per box, the woman there sold them to me for $1 a box. I was in heaven! Your collection is really beautiful and photographed so lovely. Have a wonderful Holiday, Laura

  12. This is a beautiful idea of displaying the ornaments. Just this past weekend my grandpa brought all of the family ornaments to our christmas party and all the grandkids were able to pick and choose the ones we wanted. Right now they’re just sitting on the kitchen table but I can’t wait to go home and rumage for one of our crystal bowls to display all the beautiful colors. thanks for the idea!

  13. Becky in 'Bama says:

    Oh my goodness, I’m afraid the tears welled up in my eyes. My grandmother had one box of these ‘fancy Christmas balls’ that she used on her little tree every year – the tree she went out in the woods and hand picked and chopped down herself. Thinking back – most of them had a a strong resemblance to Charlie Brown’s tree. LOL And I believe at my last memory she had one remaining string of the huge colored lights that could have easily toppled the whole project. Those were the days. No idea what happened to those fancy balls. More than the decorations I wish I still had her!

  14. THese are lovely! Truly treasures… lucky you!

  15. That’s funny… I too have my small collection of vintage ornaments displayed in a crystal bowl :^) I got 14 in a bag at a thrift shop about 5 years ago for $1.99! You have some really pretty, unique ones. Thanks for sharing.

  16. Rhoda these are gorgeous!!! I have found some like that at a local thrift store. Not nearly as special as your heirlooms! I do have a complete set of Avon ornaments that my mom collected and gave to me.

  17. My grandmother has 4 ornaments left from the first Christmas that she and my grandfather were married. They were married in 1940. I believe she bought them at the local 5 & dime at the time. No one will dare touch them due to their fragile state. They are even more special since we lost my grandfather several years ago. I don’t believe that she actually hangs them anymore for fear of breaking them.

  18. Those are beautiful!

    I’m not into the designer, decorated to go with interior type trees. I love trees that reflect the person/family’s life and history. Someone summed it up beautifully not long ago, a story of us tree.

    Our big Christmas tree is decorated with vintage scrap and tinsel ornaments that I’ve collected for years. Also many ornaments picked up on a trip or bought for a special occasion or ornaments we’ve received from others. I have an ornament given to us when we bought our first house, another that represents our little pup, ones engraved with special dates, etc. Probably my most prized ornament is the crystal bell engraved with our wedding date (1982). I have added in some newer and vintage balls in white/gold/silver as fillers. It’s like greeting old friends each year when we get out the boxes of decorations. It’s fun for hubby and I to remember as we decorate the tree.

    Love those shiny brights and have a few from my grandmother. Also the old timey bubble lights that used to hang on their tree. I’d be scared to plug them in now, but they bring back such memories, I had to have them.

    tina

  19. what a walk with a friend down memory lane.
    tis true, you know, “i’ll be home for Christmas,
    if only in my dreams”
    seems the trees smelled more of their Christmas
    pine then – or was that just me?
    i just turned 56 in November, so you know i know
    about what you just wrote about that you know. ;)
    wish i knew much much earlier – nothing wrapped
    prettily under the tree is as precious as the parents
    anxiously smiling to see if all of your dreams came true.
    they were the best gifts Santa/God ever gave.
    wish I had been this insightful long ago.

  20. wow! Love these!

  21. Wonderful post — even though I did not grow up with these traditions, I enjoyed reading about them and seeing the images. I’ll have to talk to my siblings about starting our own and passing down beauties that are loved to all the children as they grow. I think we’d enjoy that…thank you for the inspiration!

  22. They are beautiful! I am a child of the 60’s too, so I remember them well…..don’t know whatever happened to ours. And the tinsel, do people still use tinsel? I think the old fashioned trees with treasured family ornaments are the best!

  23. Enjoyed looking at your vintage ornaments Ronda. I was a child of the 50s and became a teenager in the 60s. I have all of my Mom’s vintage ornaments and I must admit they are my favorite ones. I treasure each and everyone and the memories associated with them. Merry Christmas!

  24. We had those same ornaments. My mom doesn’t have any of them any longer. It was so good to see them again!

  25. I loved bubble lights, too. I can’t seem to find those anymore.

  26. This brings back memories. My grandmother had ornaments like that. She also had a wonderful fake silver Christmas tree that must have dated back to the 50’s. She died in 1977 and I don’t know what became of all her ornaments and tree.

  27. Melesa Garrison says:

    I just about cried right here at my desk! I love your memories being shared and I love the fact that I too enjoyed some childhood memories! I was born in 62 so I have memories of these ornaments. I remember one year having a white tree with all royal blue ornaments… Be*You*T*Ful ! (I thought it was anyway) Enjoy your beautiful ornaments!

  28. I love vintage ornaments, too. My favorites are the bell-shaped ones and those with an indented center…..oh, I also love the ones that actually say “Merry Christmas” in glitter. Like you, I love to display them in bowls or tall clear vases. Thanks for sharing your memories!
    Sherry@Back2Vintage

  29. Takes me back…to a simpler time. They are treasures…take good care of them….so hard to find now. Thanks for sharing. Sherron

    Stop by my blog before Jan 3 for a Candle give-a-way.

  30. I have many ornaments from my childhood. I have one left that is extra special, as it is one of the ornaments that my parents had on their first Christmas tree. I also have a “sit-about” little girl that held a bit of greenery and a flower. My favorite uncle gave it to me when I was 5 yrs old. It wasn’t expensive, but it hold special memories of that Christmas, 55 yrs ago. When I think of how much we give to the younger generation, I wonder what they will remember about the items in the future. As I write this, I think that I may add a “special” something to my gifts to my namesake niece.
    Thanks for a gentle reminder of days gone by.
    Beckie

  31. You have some real beauties there! I love that they are the same ones you grew up with – that is special. I have fond memories of both sets of grandparents hanging these ornaments. Sadly they have all been given away (or thrown away :( ) when they moved. So last year I started collecting vintage ornaments and now have enough for a whole tree! Not the same as family “heirlooms” but still beautiful!
    Sarah

  32. Oh my gosh!! I love Shiny Brite’s; thank you so much for sharing yours! My collection started when my Grandma gave me one of hers from the first Christmas my grandparents were married. I call it my “Christmas of 1951″ ornament…original. :) Anyway, I have found others at second hand stores, yard sales and some antique malls around. This year, I decorated my entire tree in Shiny Brites! To top it off, my neighbor gave me a vintage looking angel for a topper.

    Oh I love their shiny greatness so! Merry Christmas.

  33. I love the shiny brite ornaments! I have been collecting for a while. Started with some from my great-aunt and grandmother, now my MIL looks for them for me and gives them to me as gifts! She finds the best deals… normally some older lady having a yard sale and sells them for a couple dollars for a box!
    Merry Christmas

  34. Kim Turner says:

    I have about 24 of those ornaments that were some my parents (who are in their mid 70s now) bought for their first tree. I love them – especially the bells! I have them in a glass urn on my sideboard. My grandmother had a Santa and a Snowman that sat on her mantle with the bubble lights in them. I so wish I could find those again. That would be a perfect addition to my favorite vintage ornaments!

  35. Those are lovely, Rhoda. I’m having a nostalgic Christmas, too and am learning that little moments and things (not necessarily the planned ones) are what leave an impression for years to come.

  36. LOVE the ornaments. You can find replicas here and there now, but at a huge mark-up (well over fifty cents!). I have a few ornaments that my mom has given us over the years. Some of my favorites didn’t make it through all our moves so well (we are a military family and I moved approximately 9 or ten times).

  37. Wow, you have a gold mine! I’m also old enough to remember them. I have just a few of them that my mom gave to me before she passed away. She didn’t use them anymore and she couldn’t understand why I wanted those old things : ) They are wonderful treasures aren’t they? I keep mine in a glass basket that my parents received as a wedding gift. So very special to me!

  38. This post brought back lots of great childhood memories. I wish my mom had saved all the old glass ornaments from our tree. At least we do have the special ornaments that we got each Christmas growing up. They just aren’t Shiny Brite ones. Thanks for sharing your new treasures.

  39. I love Shiny Brites and have them in bowls everywhere in my house! Love your sweet post! Merry Christmas! ♥

  40. This post made me smile. I have a lot of the same ornaments hanging on our tree, a gift from my grandmother when she passed away. Every time I walk by the tree and see them I think of her.

  41. Hi Rhoda-
    I enjoy seeing the nostaglic aspect to Christmas and these ornaments surely have it. They have a lot of impact when grouped together like you did in the glass bowl. They look so yummy and pretty. I have a few boxes with the 59 cent price tags too. Mine are from Grants. Seeing those tags brings back a ton of memories as they have been out of buisness for a long time. A few have broken, and they are a bit shabby, but I love the patina and the mix of pastel colors. My dad always put up Twinkle Lights on the tree. Each mini colored bulb screwed in to the sockets and twinkled, not blinked. It was magical. My sister got those and just found some on Ebay that she is going to give to me. I can’t wait to add the string to my tree to see the lights twinkle on the ceiling.
    My best- Diane

  42. I loved this post! My mom throw ours out and replaced them with all blue, yuck. But I found 2 boxes in my M.in law’s attic and I have started buying them. I found 3 boxes at a flea market on Sun. Cheap as the sellers didn’t want to carry them home! I put them on my tree here in Miami Beach. I love the contrast to high style and homey.

  43. I always wonered what happened to my grandmothers Christmas ornaments..but, about 15 years ago, my cousins were clearing out their fathers house (grams son) and they found our grams ornaments! I was absolutely thrilled to have her ornaments!! My guy cousins packed a shoebox full of ornaments that were to be divided up between my sister & myself! I couldn’t have been any thrilled with this treasure trove! My biggest satisfaction was to have my 4 yr old daughter putting them on our tree that year! That truly brought tears to my eyes!

  44. Hello from another Rhoda!! Just found your site and enjoyed the walk down Christmas ornament memory lane. My most treasured ornament is a small glass bi-plane my grandma carried with her when she immigrated from Poland at the age of 18. She died a few years ago at the age of 103, so the airplane is unfortunately showing it’s age too. Not sure how much longer I can keep it from completely falling apart, but at least my children are able to see it and enjoy it a while too. I remember some of the others my mom had, but I don’t think any of those are still around.

  45. Beautiful!
    I’m from Marietta too. My mom went to Wheeler and I want to say she graduated in 1970 and my dad went to Marietta High.

  46. Yes, you invoke many wonderful memories of childhood with these ornaments. If only we could keep that wonder and innocence with us as adults. I enjoy your page and look forward to it every time it lands in my mailbox! Merry Christmas!

  47. You just took me down memory lane! I remember all of those on my grandma’s tree. I wish I had them now. I do have 4 little gold angels we put on my tree when I was a child and 3 of a 4 piece set of some nice ones that were of the nativity. I also have our old lights but don’t use those. I need to see if my mom has anything left to share! Thanks for the great trip down memory lane! Did your tree always have candy canes too?

  48. Oh my goodness! Those ornaments are exactly like the ones on our tree when I was little. Really great memories – I especially love the indented ones with the silver insides. So beautiful!

  49. Hi Rhonda,
    I love your beautiful vintage ornaments. I started collecting them last year when I found a big box of pink and silver ones at a thrift store.
    Now, I pick them up whenever I see them. I love the colors too and I think there is nothing prettier than a big crystal bowl full of them.

    I’m glad that your Mom gave them to you to cherish.

    hugs
    Sissie

  50. Oh, Rhoda, you have me crying! My Mimmie and Granddaddy had beautiful ornaments like those, to hang on an aluminum tree with a color wheel to make it change colors. What memories those ornaments bring back! The only ones I have are two plastic icicles that I somehow managed to get, but I wish I knew where the rest are, along with the tree and color wheel. Getting one now wouldn’t be the same…it wouldn’t be Mimmie’s tree. Thank you so much for sharing…even if it does make me jealous! : )

  51. I have my grandmother’s vintage ornaments. My mom gave them to me last year, for the same reason yours did…she had been hanging them on her tree and every year one or two would break. My grandmother died before I was born so its super nice to have a special reminder of her during the holidays. Thanks for sharing, they are so pretty & we have several of the same ones!

  52. They’re gorgeous Rhoda! The fact that they were handed down from your mother makes them even more special. My tree is decorated with Shiny Brites, but none of them are family heirlooms.
    (My favorite is the pretty swirly one.)
    Have a very Merry Christmas!
    Teresa

  53. Glenda Harder says:

    I have some of my parent’s and my grandmother’s ornaments from the 1950’s. My dad used to make snow out of Ivory laundry detergent and spread it on the tree with a spatula. It was gorgeous! Christmas memories are the best.

  54. Marilyn Holeman says:

    We had a bell just like yours when I was a girl! Thanks for the memories. Merry Christmas, Rhoda!

  55. I have several boxes of vintage ornaments – some from my husband’s grandmother and others from yard sales where I never paid more than $3 for a box! Lucky me! However, the ornaments that I coveted as a child and will never have were gorgeous blown glass birds from Germany – they clipped onto the branches and had real feathers glued to them, along with glitter. They belonged to my grandmother and she had a beautiful tree made from driftwood bleached white. She filled it with the birds and added bits of real tinsel and it was just about the prettiest thing I’d ever seen. Unfortunately, my grandmother’s heart is sometimes bigger than it should be and she loaned her birds and tree to a local business for display. Someone stole every single bird that Christmas. ;-( The upside is that I have started collecting my own bird ornaments – not the blown glass beauties of the past, but various artisan-made things to add to our collection.

  56. Granny's Attic says:

    I love your blog today what great memories of the vintage ornaments. I have some of my Grannie’s and mama’s too. I some times find them at Yard Sales and have made a couple of wreaths with them. Wishing you a very blessed and Merry Christmas, Vicky

  57. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE vintage ornaments like these. I have a collection too and they mean so much to me because most are from my mom and my mom in laws collection so mine are not only just fun, but they have special meaning too. Thanks for sharing yours.
    Merry Christmas!
    Valerie

  58. Merry Christmas Rhoda, I am so glad you were able to get the ornaments from your Mom I know they hold such special memories for you. I love all the shapes and colors also. I recognized several that I have and some from my childhood that hang on my tree each year. Last year I displayed mine in apothecary jars, which would be so perfect for your home. You can see it here if you like:

    http://goodlifeofdesign.blogspot.com/2010/11/how-i-display-my-vintage-ornaments.html

    I just love the way they capture the lights. I have quite a collection that I have been gathering for some time now. Enjoy your sweet bowl of memories, Have a very Merry Christmas sweet friend,Kathysue

  59. Your post brought a few tears of nostalgia to my eyes. My grandma and great-aunt had ornaments exactly like the ones in your pictures on their tree. And it’s not surprising that they are so similar because relatives from the US and Canada has sent them over. |Sady, almost all the ornaments are gone. Many were broken (my cousins and I being the main culprits) but slowly they seemed to have gone out of fashion and were given away. I wish I could get my hands on them again. I do not go for the themed Christmas tree using just one or two colours. Instead my husband and I pick up ornaments from our travels or special ones from the shops and each ti me we open the Christmas boxes, they bring back so many memories. Have a wonderful Christmas.

  60. Love ‘em! I was lucky enough to have inherited my maternal grandmother’s old ornaments from my mother. They are my most favorite and precious! I’m on the lookout for old ornaments all the time and sometimes get lucky at the Goodwill or Salvation Army stores. This year I hit pay-dirt at an antiques store and found 2 boxes of those types of ornaments- only overized! They are fabulous! I’d rather have one old ornament over a new one any day! I have an entire tree dedicated to these precious beauties! Thanks for sharing your photos!

  61. Oooh! I loveeeeee these. Love love love them. I wish I could get my hands on some.

  62. love the ornaments and all the memories that go with them; i have all of my grandmother’s ornaments that are similar and every year put them on a huge tree in my living room – it is really fun to get them out every year and look at them – she even kept the styrofoam balls we made with the christmas cards glued to them – only a grandmother would keep those but i treasure them now :) thx for sharing yours!

  63. Rhoda, I think the ornaments look so pretty in your crystal bowl. Talk about a trip down memory lane! My mom collected the Shiny Brite ornaments for many years. In the early sevenites when I was about 6 or 7 years old, I tried to plug in the Christmas tree lights by myself, and pulled the tree over. Almost every ornament broke. I’m sure it broke my mother’s heart, but I was so upset, she was more concerned about me at the time. The ornaments are so colorful, and I remember that my mom liked the ones with red and silver on them. Thanks for sharing!

    Merry Christmas!

  64. Isn’t it crazy how cheap ornaments used to be? On the other hand 59cents might’ve been quite a lot back then too.

    I started collecting vintage ornaments this year:) It all started with a trip to my favorite antique/new/old Frenchy Shabby store here where I bought five ornaments with the intent to set them in a pretty bowl. Then I got smart and looked on Ebay for better deals. You can find a ton of them on Ebay fairly inexpensive. The downside was I bought some similar to yours but when they came a few were broken inside the indents and also looked like they’d been caught on fire at some point. They were blackened up at the top where the hook goes. I love them the same as the nicer ones. I think I spent around $25 with shipping for 25 or so bulbs. Not bad in comparison to the $5 or more apiece from the vintage ornaments at the shop.

    Yours are beautiful and in such great condition! Ah…the joys of inheriting precious things from family. They are usually well cared for.

    Merry Christmas,
    Shanna

  65. I remember those ornaments! I remember the box…geez, guess I am getting older too.

  66. I DO remember them, Rhoda! I remember them so well. Our Christmases were just as you described–nothing “designer” about them, but they were fun.

    My father worked for a wholesale distributer in Memphis, and I remember one Christmas he came home with boxes and boxes of new ornaments–I imagine they cost something like the 59 cents/box. We were so excited with them, especially since they included some Santas! I’m sure they were all made in Japan–remember when “Made in Japan” was sort of like the “Made in China” of today?

    May you be blessed with a wonderful Christmas, Rhoda!

  67. i didn’t know you took those! yes, pass them on to me one day. they’ll go good on my tree.

  68. I have totally fallen in love with these old glass ornaments this year! The only problem is that it seems like everyone else has too! I see them in antique store all the time but they have gotten a little pricey! My parents still decorate their tree with some old ones like this and they have always been some of my favorites. Great post!! :)

  69. Oh, what a lovely collection!! I collect them too, but this is some of the best I’ve seen. I guess here in Scandinavia it’s harder to find these colorful ones.
    I share som decorating ideas for vintage glass ornaments on my blog.

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