Posted in Uncategorized, Vintage Christmas

Storing & Organizing Vintage Holiday Items

(Post originally written for Metrolina Habitat Restore 1/20/16…)

Have you put your Christmas away yet?


This is such a common question this time of year and I have already had several people ask me how I protect and store my vintage holiday items. Since for me this has been a strange and ever evolving process, I thought it might be helpful to share what I’ve learned!

Ever since I started collecting vintage Christmas I have been working to find a foolproof and organized system of storage from year to year. So much of what has evolved into my current system seems like complete common sense to me now but I really wish I had started out with this info years ago–it would truly have made life so much easier. With the help of some important organizing tricks of the trade from my blog sister Jennifer Burnham of Pure and Simple Organizing, I think I may have finally honed my forever storage plan! 

The biggest switch I initially made was moving everything from cardboard boxes to plastic bins for allow for more sturdy, stackable protection in my attic. These large plastic bins often show up at the ReStores, so keep an eye open and pick them up there at a fraction of the cost of new whenever you see them! Some of my items were just in large vintage cardboard boxes- these are fun to look at and read but just not practical for actual safe storage and will weaken over time. I highly suggest using clear see-through bins; this helps with item identification. My very favorite tip from Jennifer is to color code the lids of your bins to the season for ease of organization and quick identification in your attic, basement or wherever you store these items— brilliant, right?! So as of this year most all of my Christmas vintage has been switched to bins with red lids! I’m going to store spring & summer items in pastel bins, and fall in gray. I love the idea of being able to find my stuff at a quick glance; thanks for this great tip Jen!

Exactly how you pack these vintage collectibles is just as important to their longevity as what you choose in which to store them. When working with a group of breakables, 

I layer the sides and bottom of the bins with bubble wrap before I put anything else in for a layer of cushioning.

Anything breakable gets wrapped individually and often times put into a smaller cardboard box before it gets packed in the bin to provide an extra layer of safety against breakage. 

Other packing and storage tips: 

-I always pack collections and similar items together. If collections take more than one bin I will number them: 1/2, 2/2 etc. 

-I use masking tape or a label on the outside (rather than writing directly on the outside as I typically did on the cardboard boxes) so I can know exactly what I have stored in each bin. If I want to change it around next year it’s easy; I take off the old label or tape and replace with an new updated one. 

-Items that aren’t breakable but may collect dust (anything flocked, velvet or plush) get packed in individual plastic baggies. 

-Sometimes I pack unbreakable items down into a breakable container like shown with these flocked Santas in the large ceramic Santa pitcher. It then was swaddled in lots of bubble wrap before it was placed in the bin. 

It typically takes me much longer to pack it all away because everything has to be packed carefully so I can enjoy it just as much next year! This is not nearly as much fun as putting it all up- but very necessary. 

See ya next year Side Eye Santa…

What are your vintage storage tips? I’d love to hear them….  

Posted in Gifts, midcentury, Uncategorized, Upcycle, Vintage 50s, Vintage Christmas

Easy Holiday Vintage Gift Giving Ideas from Mod Bettie- all available at Vintage Charlotte

It’s time to start thinking about vintage gift giving and as usual, you have a long list, right? Let me pass along my top quick and easy and memorable vintage gifting ideas so you can check some of those names off your list- pronto!

1.Vintage Trays and Tins

Everyone loves to receive your baked goods around the holidays…why not gift them in or on a reusable vintage tin or tray? It makes a beautiful and more memorable presentation than tissue or bags and can be used continually throughout the holidays!

Santa trays
Vintage trays with a nostalgic image are perfect to deliver holiday treats!

2. Vintage Ornaments

Of course I love these for their traditional use on the tree but they make such a heartwarming presentation when attached to gifts, used at table place settings/ or centerpieces, around the buffet table or even given as party favors throughout the holidays.


ornaments basket -LGB
Ornaments can be used to decorate gifts and add a vintage touch.

3.Vintage Mugs

These make an adorable presentation when gifted with tea, hot cocoa, candy or vintage linens. Vintage soup mugs can be gifted with gourmet crackers or bags of soup mix.

soup mugs
Dried soup with a vintage mug and vintage napkins makes a great gift!
Santa Mugs basket
Vintage Santa mugs and hot chocolate



4. Vintage Cocktail Glasses

Want to bring the best hostess gift at your next party?  Vintage Champagne coupes with a bottle of bubbly will do the trick, every time…trust  me! See also: vintage pilsners or mugs with a local craft beer, or some swanky lowballs with a favorite liquor- both an equally fab option.

Adding a bottly of bubbly to vintage chamapgne coupes makes you the most welcome guest!
Adding a bottly of bubbly to vintage chamapgne coupes makes you the most welcome guest!


So give the gift of fond nostalgia and give vintage for the holidays! Check out the Vintage and Craft Pop-Up Holiday Shop on November 15 from 11-6 at The Fillmore at the NC Music Factory for these and other great vintage gifting ideas from Mod Bettie and over 50 vintage and craft vendors; stop by and say hi at the Mod Bettie Booth!

Posted in aluminum Christmas tree, Vintage 50s, Vintage Christmas, vintage ornaments

Aluminium Christmas Tree Love-One with a story, one without…

So much of what I adore about vintage items lives in the story they tell. If I am buying from a thrift store or antique mall…I get to wonder about the past owner and imagine the story that goes along with the item. If I am buying the vintage item from someone who actually owns it, then I get a real story about the item’s history and past. I love both these scenarios!

Christmas is a time when many people traditionally put out and enjoy the only vintage items they own- ones from past Christmases! This makes Christmas extra special and fun for vintage lovers I think. When I moved into my 1956 ranch last year, it seemed only natural that we should have a period specific aluminum Christmas tree, complete with color wheel.  Just as an aside, because aluminum trees are aluminum, they are conductors of electricity and not safe for use with lights, thus the birth of the color wheel! I started my big search and realized this may not be an easy find and according to what I was seeing on Ebay & Etsy, it may be expensive! Didn’t I feel lucky when one  popped up in a nearby town on Craigslist last! I couldn’t wait to see it,  so I happily traveled about 45 minutes to view the item.

xmas tree closeup

When I got there I found out that the tree was being sold by a man who was cleaning out his mother’s estate. This had been one of their Christmas trees growing up-the one she used for their sunroom, he said. To my personal delight, it had been pristinely kept in the original box, with the adorably written and illustrated midcentury instructions still intact and each aluminum branch still in it’s original brown paper sleeve. The color wheel worked, even though it’s original box was long gone, it too had been kept with obvious loving care. I was over the moon! The gentleman also told me he’d throw in all of her decorations for that tree if I was interested. How could I resist–to not buy them would be like splitting up siblings! I left that day with a 7ft Sparkler Pop Pom Aluminum Christmas tree with color wheel, 13 boxes of  beautiful vintage ornaments and a blue mercury glass garland-I couldn’t believe my luck. And bonus- it came with a vintage tree ‘skirt’ that is actually a handmade strapless vintage slip!

Pom Pom box
Pom Pom Sparkler Original Box
Pom Pom Sparkl;er 7ft
Pom Pom Sparkl;er 7ft

I love this tree so much that both this year and last year I actually put it up before Thanksgiving, much to the horror of many of my friends- but ahh, I don’t care! I want to enjoy it and give it some time in the house; the man I bought it from told me that his mom had been sick for several years and hadn’t put it up for that last 5 so I figure it’s like making up for lost time. Each year as I put up the tree and unwrap the ornaments I think so fondly of the  original lady of the house who took such sweet care of this tree and her family and I feel a real responsibility to carry on the tradition.

Vintage ornaments were each cushioned by tissue for storage by original owner
Vintage ornaments were each cushioned by tissue for storage by original owner

This year I happened up on another Sparkler Pom Pom at my favorite antique mall in Charlotte Sleepy Poet. This one was a sweet miniature 3ft version of the tree I already have, but it was found at an estate sale in the original box, unopened! How could I resist this? So I bought this one too- it was a great price- and I just  can’t help but wonder who about the story for this little tree: who originally owned it and why o’ why  didn’t they ever put it up? Did they get it on sale one year and forget about it? Did they have a house with a bunch of aluminum trees and this was just an extra? Or, did they watch the Charlie Brown Christmas special in 1965 and decide,  like many people, to only have a real tree from then on?  I’ll never know, but I do enjoy thinking about it.  I used some of my vintage ornaments from my 7ft tree and  of course it’s adorable. It does need it’s own color wheel though….

xmas tree light
Big tree Little tree
Big Tree and Little Tree
Big Tree and Little Tree

Check out this link on Etsy to learn more about The History of the Aluminum Christmas Tree.