Design Hints

Yuletides from Yesteryear

Encourage a sense of nostalgia this holiday season with these hints for inviting in antique- and vintage-inspired accessories.

Yuletides from Yesteryear

During the holiday season, it's easy to feel overwhelmed by the endless selection of Christmas decorations that occupy the shelves of our favorite stores and, in reaction, experience a nostalgic longing for simpler times. If you're inspired by Terry and Rod Carey's Early American-style home to deck your own halls with a homespun aesthetic this year, consider these decorations that can either be made by hand or purchased at antiques and craft venues:

• FOLK-ART SANTAS: Artisans from around the world make folk-art Santas in a variety of sizes, poses and materials, including papier-mâché and fabric. Santa figures featuring a benevolent expression can easily be gathered in groups on shelves, mantels and tables or displayed individually as the central focus of a simple yet festive vignette.

• GLASS ORNAMENTS: Perfect for decorating trees and wreaths, new and vintage handblown glass ornaments exhibit exceptional craftsmanship and a kaleidoscope of color. For a collective effect, the trimmings can also be displayed in large bowls set on tables.

• FEATHER TREES: German artisans began using turkey, goose, ostrich and swan feathers to create holiday trees in the 19th century. They became popular in America in the 1920s and were mass-produced for many years. Vintage feather trees can be purchased on the internet and at antiques shops, but you can also find new versions made by companies such as Bethany Lowe Designs.

• HANDMADE STOCKINGS: Christmas stockings came into favor in the early 1800s and were handstitched using scraps of fabric, spare buttons and trim. Why not start a new tradition this year and stitch stockings for your loved ones?

• VINTAGE GREETING CARDS AND POSTCARDS: Long before emails and text messages, people sent out beautifully illustrated Christmas cards and postcards, each one bearing a miniature work of art. Look for these cards at antiques stores or find them online. Their simple time-honored greetings will warm your heart, and their iconography will fill your home with the holiday spirit. Frame them, clothespin them to garland, or tuck them into wreaths for added graphic appeal.

Written by Cheryl Hackett
Photographed by
Styled by Donna Pizzi