I am a magpie year round, collecting bits and pieces of vintage bling, flash, and sparkle, but at the holidays, my love of all that shines is at its peak. There's no season I love more, especially because so many truly beautiful vintage ornaments can still be bought for a song at flea markets, yard sales, and even antiques shops. In fact, I often find them for much better prices than their contemporary knock-offs, and their wonderful patina is for real rather than manufactured.
When they are broken or missing their little top inserts--or if they are too small to hang on the tree, I simply sprinkle them liberally around the house in bowls, vases, under bell jars, or even in pretty tea cups and wine glasses in the china hutch.
Some of my favorites are ones my mother bought for me many years ago from the estate auction of writer May Sarton. Sarton has long been among my favorite writers, and when she died, my mother gave me several boxes of ornaments that she'd bought at the sale of her estate. Each year I have the joy of opening boxes of the very ornaments that Sarton herself hung on her tree each Christmas.
This isn't to say that I don't love new ornaments, for I adore them, too! If it shines, I crave it, which is why I bought the beautiful red garland in the photo above a few years ago. This year I combined it with some very old and rather "distressed" (which I LOVE) red and silver balls in a pretty pewter tray on the kitchen table. In the center, I placed an old candle jar that I'd saved and washed out after I'd used up the scented candle that came in it. I don't have the budget to buy tons of new candles this year, so I simply poured some sugar in the jar: first white, then a little red (think cookie sugar from the grocery store), then more white. I nestled a votive into the top, and now I have a candle I can keep reusing all season--and into the winter. I just keep replacing the votives for a a few pennies each time I burn one down to its end.
My favorite new ornament is one sent to my by my friend Vicki Archer of French Essence. Like most girls I know, it has long been a dream of mine to visit Paris, so when Vicki's package arrived in the mail this week, I was over the moon. An Eiffel Tower of my very own! I don't think I'll put this one away when Christmas is over. It may need to tide me over until I get to the real thing.
Wishing the Merriest of Holidays to everyone, especially my fellow magpies! More seasonal sparkle soon . . .