Pro Tips for Collecting Vintage Holiday Decor

Curating an incredible collection of holiday decor takes a good eye, patience and creativity. Learn how and when to shop for trinkets for every holiday.

Great collections are not born overnight, over a weekend or over one single trip to a flea market. Vintage holiday collectibles take time, patience and sometimes research to acquire. Having a stellar stack of vintage Santas is not impossible, but it could just come to fruition a bit easier with a few of these tips.

Not All Holidays Are Created Equal - The first thing to know is that some holidays are easier to collect than others.  Vintage Christmas decorations are much more abundant and often cost a lot less money than vintage Halloween collectibles. This is because Christmas has been mass produced for a longer time. Halloween has only recently become a big holiday for decorating. People tended to keep Christmas decorations from year to year and take care storing them as opposed to a Halloween pail and costume that might have been thrown out. Also, things like vintage Halloween collectibles were often toys or delicate paper mache pails that did not survive a night of kids hopped up on sugar.

'Tis The Season - Often times antique dealers will not put out their holiday collectibles until close to that holiday.  Vintage dealers with booths often hold back on displaying all their Easter collectibles until spring and your favorite thrift store won’t put out the donated pumpkins until close to Halloween.  Start cruising your favorite booths and shops around the season which you are hoping to collect for. Sure, most of these items could be found online any time of the year. But true collectors love the thrill of the hunt.

The Off Season - Don’t totally disregard Christmas in July.  Many times when you can find Easter bunnies in October or Valentines in July, they are often a lot cheaper than when it is closer to the holiday.  If you are hoping to have the world’s largest Halloween collection, you must see everything through pumpkin-orange colored glasses all year long while you are shopping.

Shop Often - When items are in season, especially at thrift stores, shop often as new items are being put out daily.  Plus many people are pulling out their decorations and donating what they no longer want.  Also, don’t forget shopping for next year. Many people will also donate right after a holiday when they are putting their decorations away. Pro-tip - Sunday evenings and Mondays tend to be the best at thrift stores because most items get donated on Saturdays.

Beware of Reproductions - There are some pretty stellar reproduction vintage holiday items on the market. These work great to augment a collection, just do your research and make sure you realize what you are paying for.  Reproductions most times will be considerably less expensive.

Eye of the Holiday Beholder - Think of the less obvious items when you are collecting and decorating for holidays with a vintage vibe. A collection of antique black-and-orange glass suddenly becomes perfect for Halloween when placed in the right vignette. Antique toys never looked better than displayed under a vintage themed Christmas tree.

Be Careful How You Store Your Collection - You have worked so hard to acquire your holiday collectibles be careful how you store them in the off-season. Hot attics can warp and discolor things, same with garages. Rats and bugs can destroy items made of paper mache like Halloween pails and Easter bunnies.

A Great Collection Takes Time - It can take years to amass a sizable vintage holiday collection. Even the most avid of vintage holiday collectors started somewhere with just one ceramic angel or one lone plush reindeer. Fabulous groupings of collectibles can take years. Those that were put together on a whim show and those where every piece was hand chosen with care shine.

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