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Holiday Sparkle on a Budget: Thrifty Tips for Decorating with Vintage Finds

By Rachel

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Last Updated on December 14, 2023 by Rachel Granholm

Infuse your home with holiday sparkle on a budget: thrifty tips for decorating with vintage finds!

Everything about this special season makes me giddy. From the twinkling lights and the smell of Christmas cookies to the cozy fires and merry music, the spirit of the Christmas season is an experience like no other. If you are looking to find the perfect way to bring classic Christmas charm into your home this year, vintage decor is the answer! Come see why vintage Christmas decor is a timeless tradition, the best places to find unique vintage items, and tips on styling thrifted Christmas decor in your vintage holiday space. Join me for holiday sparkle on a budget: thrifty tips for decorating with vintage finds!

You are in for a treat today because, once again, we are bringing you triple the thrifting! I am so happy to have you back for our monthly thrifting series here on the blog. This month, we’ve invited our blogger and thrifty friend Cara to join in the fun!

Together, the three of us are bringing you three different thrift posts and ways to use thrifted decor in your home. Below, you will find links to both of their posts. Head over to their blogs as well and say hello! You may find just the thing you were looking for.

My thrifty friend and partner in this series, MaryJo from Masterpieces of my Life, is sharing some pretty ideas for using thrifted silver as holiday decor. Vintage silver looks especially pretty for Christmas all decked out with red and green. Head over to see her lovely vignettes!

vintage silver for Christmas decorating

Our guest this month is Cara from the blog Vintage Style Gal. She is sharing some amazing finds from online auctions and estate sales. You won’t believe what she found!

thrifted Christmas finds

How to Thrift for Vintage Christmas Decor

Let’s briefly touch on this because I get many questions about it. There is not just ‘one thing’ that helps me to be an effective thrift shopper and, honestly, a lot of it is luck.

vintage Christmas decor

Here are a few things I do to ensure the best luck at finding thrifted decor for Christmas or pieces to add to my vintage collections.

1) I go often; at least once a week. Shelves are re-stocked daily so the inventory is constantly changing. Stopping by the thrift store has become a part of my weekly routine just to see if anything ‘new’ catches my eye.

2) I keep a running list of things I’m looking for. This helps keep me focused as I’m in certain areas of the store and not just aimlessly walking around.

3) I have a budget. Knowing what I’m willing to pay (and what I’m not) before going in saves me a lot of time on the back and forth of ‘should I buy it? is it worth it?’, etc…

Try implementing those simple techniques and see if they help you find thrifting success!

vintage Christmas decor antique postcard

Holiday Sparkle on a Budget: Thrifty Tips for Decorating with Vintage Finds- A Thrift Haul

Finding vintage Christmas decor from the thrift store has been few and far between this past month, you guys. However, I rallied the last few weeks and have six pretty pieces to share with you! Hopefully you will find some simple Christmas decorating ideas for your own home today, so let’s get right into it.

Christmas Needlework Picture

First up is this amazing vintage needlepoint picture. You probably know all about my deep affection for vintage art and needlework is especially up there.

Over the Summer, and much to my dismay, I noticed prices really spiking on thrift store art. So, when I went to my favorite thrifty spot on the first day they had Christmas decor out, I spotted this piece on the floor. Knowing what prices have been, I already had a preconceived notion it was going to be at least $10.

vintage Christmas decor needlepoint picture

As I turned it over, I just about gasped when seeing the price at only $3.99!! With a huge smile on my face, it immediately went in my cart 🙂

The blue, Victorian style home all decked out for Christmas gives me all the cozy feelings. The old car out front is just the cherry on top of the sundae!

vintage Christmas decor needlepoint

I proudly hung this thrifted art to the left of the mantel and placed some flocked trees underneath it. The picture fits perfectly on the wall and, as you will see in a week or so, looks just lovely next to our Christmas tree!

vintage Christmas decor needlepoint art

Milk Glass Plate

Vintage milk glass was my very first collection and I still love it all these years later. In my home, I decorate with milk glass all year round but Christmas is my favorite time to style it. There’s just something about the bright red berries or ribbon against the milky white that is so nostalgic!

Because my collection is large and contains many pieces that I love, I’m fairly picky on which milk glass makes the cut now. There is only so much space, you know?! But, when I came across this milk glass plate for just $2.00, I knew it had to come home with me.

Can you believe that this is the very first milk glass plate that I’ve ever purchased?! The scallops around the edges match a few of the large bowls and compote dishes in my collection. vintage Christmas decor milk glass plate

I get questions frequently on how to tell if a piece of milk glass is real or a reproduction.

One way to tell is to turn the piece over and look for a mark or a stamp on the bottom. This plate happens to have a mark with a large H and a small A, which is the identification for the Hazel Atlas company.

Also, if you look closely towards the left side of the plate, you will see iridescent pinks and reds coming through from the light. This is called ‘The Ring of Fire’ and will clearly be found, like this, on pieces of vintage milk glass.

milk glass marking on bottom

Small vintage plates such as this one are perfect for stacking. You can stack a few plates on top of each other or place a coordinating bowl with it.

Pillar candles, ornaments, faux berries, linens, and ribbon are lovely decor accessories to dress up milk glass for the Christmas season!

vintage milk glass with a pillar candle

Pair of Waechtersbach Christmas Bowls

On a recent antique mall adventure, I found a whole display of Waechtersbach dishes. If you are not familiar with these, they are German Christmas dishes and have become very popular in recent years.

I have been collecting these dishes for years and have slowly built up a table setting for 4. These little bowls caught my eye because I’ve never seen this style in this brand before. How cute are they?!

Waechtersbach dishes can be pricey depending on the location of the antique mall but these bowls were just $5.00 each which I thought was a super great deal.

vintage Christmas decor Waectersbach Christmas bowls

The vivid red and green coloring on them is just beautiful, especially when paired with vintage copper or brass.

I’ve been using these little bowls for cereal, fruit, and as condiment dishes. They make me happy and, as I always say, do what makes you happy 🙂

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vintage Christmas decor Waechtersbach bowls

Vintage Poinsettia Hanky

Old linens are another item that is up there on ‘my favorites’ list, vintage handkerchiefs in particular.

As I was perusing one of my favorite antique malls a few weeks ago, there was a booth that was decked to the nines with lovely holiday items. I was mesmerized by all of the vintage Christmas decor in this vendor’s space so I had to give myself a minute to take it all in.

After a few minutes of looking, this vintage Poinsettia hanky caught my eye. I don’t have many Christmas linens to use in vignettes and such so I was super happy to find this one for only $3.00!

vintage Christmas decor Poinsettia hanky

For Christmas, I placed the hanky on top of a red book and have the Poinsettia flowers poking out from underneath my milk glass banana stand.

Small linens such as hanky’s or cloth napkins are some of the best pieces of thrifted decor for Christmas to find because they can be used in so many ways.

Here are some ways to use vintage hanky’s for Christmas:

  • styled into a vignette
  • placed on a shelf
  • hanging out of a basket with pinecones or ornaments
  • sticking out of a vase or cup

vintage Christmas decor Poinsettia hanky

Antique Christmas Postcards

These next items are probably my favorites out of the whole haul today.

I was on E-bay last month specifically looking for old holiday postcards that I could use in my Christmas vignettes.

Well, I happened to come across a E-bay shop that had probably hundreds of antique and vintage postcards for under $2.00 a piece. At the time I bought this lot, it was buy three get one free, too!

I spent about an hour flipping through all of the listings and choosing the four postcards that spoke to me the most. Aren’t they so pretty?! The font of the text on a few of them leans mid-century modern to me which I really enjoy:)

vintage Christmas decor antique postcards

Many of them have postage stamps from the early `1900’s. How crazy is that?! They all have writing of some kind on the backsides.

It’s just so neat to me how simple Christmas was back in the day…a few lines of text, a signature, and off it went.

vintage Christmas decor writing on antique postcards

The cards that have pastoral scenes on them are just beautiful.

I have the barn scene displayed on the small shelf in my entryway along with some milk glass, berries and a faux pine tree.

vintage Christmas decor antique holiday postcard

I used the Poinsettia postcard on the credenza to tie in with the Poinsettia hanky. Using red velvet ribbon and red berries pulls the red from the postcard down into the display itself.

a vintage Christmas postcard in a holiday vignette with red velvet ribbon

To help tie in with the rustic jingle bells, I placed the antique postcard with the bells on it inside my hutch.

Since this card stands vertical, I felt like this spot was the perfect place for it to be. The hutch itself is a more vertical shape so the placement of this old postcard helps to draw the eyes up.

vintage Christmas decor antique postcard with bells

The last postcard sits on a bed of plaid on the wall shelf above my couch.

This one dons a gold edge around the pastoral barn scene so I brought in some vintage brass elements to make everything feel cohesive.

vintage thrifted Christmas decor antique postcard with ornaments

Milk Glass Salt and Pepper Shakers

The last item I am sharing today isn’t necessarily thrifted decor for Christmas but I just had to include them!

I’ve been searching, for a few months now, for a vintage set of salt and pepper shakers that can be kept on the dining table all the time, not just when we are hosting or have guests over.

All the sets I’ve seen are either too expensive or not exactly what I wanted.

Well, on the same antique mall adventure as the hanky, I was finding vintage salt and pepper shakers everywhere! Like, I literally hit the salt and pepper jackpot and had my pick of which set to choose from.

After going back and forth on three different salt and pepper shaker sets, I chose these. I mean…are you surprised? They are milk glass. With ribbed detailing. And have the words ‘SALT’ and ‘PEPPER’ engraved into them. Look how stinkin’ cute they are! And, the pair was just $17.50.

vintage milk glass salt and pepper shakers

They also came with this adorable basket! The basket itself is falling apart a tad but it’s totally useable. I can just use the cute little handle to move them from the kitchen to the table and vice versa. How handy!

This just goes to show you…don’t settle for something that is just ‘meh’. Sourcing vintage decor for your home takes time and, more than likely, will take a few months for the right thing to show up. Be patient in your search and I promise it will be worth it!

vintage milk glass salt and pepper shaker set

Closing Tidbits

Thrifting for vintage Christmas decor is completely magical, like stepping back in time to a simpler way of living. Holiday sparkle on a budget: thrifty tips for decorating with vintage finds has a special charm that modern decorations can’t quite match. It is also extremely frugal on the budget as well as eco-friendly!

Whether it’s a family heirloom or a thrifted ornament, vintage Christmas decorations hold a special place in our hearts. Such decorations create a warm atmosphere of both nostalgia and cheer, bringing a timeless spirit to your holiday home. Be encouraged to feel the special ambiance that this season holds.

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Leave me a comment! Do you love to decorate with vintage Christmas decor? I love hearing from you!

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vintage Christmas decor

If you are new here, I’m Rachel, the writer and content creator here at The Antiqued Journey. I’m so happy to have you! I encourage you to stop by the ‘about me’ page to get to know me a little more.

Here on the blog, you will find loads of inspiration for decorating with vintage and antique decor, simple DIY crafts and many thrifting adventures. If that interests you, I invite you to sign up for my e-mail. You will receive a free digital download as a thank you!

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The Antiqued Journey Christmas Candle Collection

I want to remind you that The Antiqued Journey Christmas Candle collection is live in the shop! I only have four candles remaining and three scents left. The candles are made with organic soy wax and hand poured, by me, out of my kitchen.

These make amazing gifts for those on your list that have everything 🙂 Thanks so much for your support!

The Antiqued Journey Christmas candle collection vintage Christmas decor

Other Thrift Posts to Enjoy

a cream colored cafe creamer with a faux wheat stem
Thrifted Goodies Volume 16

essential items needed for going thrifting including a backpack and water bottle
8 Essential Items to Bring Thrifting

an early Fall mantel
6 Home Decor Items to Always Thrift

18 Comments. Leave new

  • MaryJo Materazo
    November 30, 2023 8:18 am

    Wow Rachel as always you scored some treasures! I absolutely love that needlepoint and at that amazing price to boot. Also old postcards are a favorite of mine. So fun to see all your Christmas magic! XO- MaryJo

  • Debbie- Dabble
    November 30, 2023 9:50 am

    WOW! I love how you used and displayed everything!! Gorgeous!! Especially the milk glass!!!
    Thanks for sharing!

  • Cara ~ Vintage Style Gal
    November 30, 2023 11:00 am

    I would love to go thrifting with you Rachel, you always find amazing deals! I am also a milk glass collector, and it was also my first collection. Funny how you find you have so much in common with others. Your salt & pepper shakers were a wonderful find, especially since they have their tops. I have found several in the past without their tops, but I did not anticipate how difficult it would be to find those. I love vintage ephemera finding that I really enjoy reading the notes written to loved ones. My favorites are finding those special pieces during WWII. The needlepoint you found was a steal! My aunt used to create works of art like that, in fact a sweatshirt or two was given to me. Being a teenager, I did not appreciate the time and effort that went into those pieces, but now, I wish I would have kept them. I could have turned them into art. Thank you for inviting me to join you today!

    • Rachel Granholm
      November 30, 2023 11:06 am

      Thank you!! It’s so neat the stories behind old things, isn’t it?! I love how you adore old things as much as I do 🙂 Have a lovely day!!

  • Sandra W Magle
    November 30, 2023 9:33 pm

    Great information you shared on HAtlas…so many pieces have lost their value because of the cheap and inferior reproductions. Always wonderful when someone shares their knowledge. Love those shakers, I’ve never seen them before. Fun ideas, so much better than buying new stuff from China! Sandi

    • Rachel Granholm
      December 1, 2023 9:07 am

      Hi Sandi!
      Thank you!! Yes, I 1000% agree…vintage and old things are SO much prettier and so much more fun to decorate with. Thanks for stopping by today! Have a lovely weekend!

  • Such a fun way to decorate for the holiday season, Rachel! I can’t get over all the milkglass pieces you found and those vintage postcards are amazing too. Loved the needlepoint scene you found too. There is a house in my hometown that looks nearly identical which is so cool. I can’t imagine how long pieces like that take to create! Hugs for a happy weekend, CoCo

    • Rachel Granholm
      December 2, 2023 9:58 am

      Thank you!! These were so much fun to find 🙂 Thanks for coming by, friend! Have a lovely weekend!

  • Hi Rachael! I adore the needlework art piece you found and can’t get over the price! You are the luckiest thrifter I know!! Thanks for the info on collecting milk glass, that’s so helpful! Great idea to decorate with antique Christmas postcards, they are absolutely beautiful! Enjoy the weekend!

    • Rachel Granholm
      December 2, 2023 10:00 am

      Thank you!! I’m happy the milk glass info is helpful…it has changed my milk glass game and now I can find real pieces pretty quickly! Thanks for coming by, Donna! Have a lovely weekend!

  • […] week I shared a post on finding and styling thrifted vintage Christmas decor. These simple and budget-friendly ideas will enable you to decorate your home for less while still […]

  • Wendy McMonigle
    December 5, 2023 2:37 pm

    I am swooning over that cross stitch, and what a bargain. The blue house looks like mine :))))
    You really find the best treasures Rachel.

    • Rachel Granholm
      December 5, 2023 2:39 pm

      Thank you!! I know…I couldn’t believe the price! If that blue house looks like yours OMG that’s amazing.
      Thanks for coming by today, Wendy!

  • Rachel I absolutely love post cards! You always find the best items when you are thrifting and I love how you incorporate them into your decor. That cross stitch must have taken many many many hours to make. I am so glad you found it and rescued it!

  • […] for finding quality Christmas table decor include Amazon, your local garden center, or Target. For vintage specific pieces, thrift stores, vintage shops, E-Bay, and Etsy are all sources that I’ve […]


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Rachel from The Antiqued Journey blog

Hey! I’m Rachel!

I’m so glad you are here! Old things are my jam. Antique malls and thrift stores are my happy places.

Here on the blog I love to share my excitement, knowledge, and ideas about all things antique, vintage, and thrifted. Let’s journey together!

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