More Great Vintage Ornaments - Just in Time for Christmas



Written by: Kevin Milaeger

December 13th, 2023


Now that St. Nicholas Day is past and a cold spell has arrived, its feeling more like the Christmas season. At Milaeger’s we’ve been preparing for this for months—it takes a lot of effort to get the stores ready for the season. But we love it! In the vintage ornament department, we continue to find more ornaments, even at this late date.


Beaded Ornaments from Japan A

Beaded Ornaments from Japan B


We have a nice collection of glass beaded ornaments. These were originally made mostly in Czechoslovakia, but after WWII Japan started producing a lot of them, in a somewhat different style. Most of what we have right now are from Japan. Japanese designers often focused on the star motif, and made many designs based on stars. We find them in just about every color. Because these were made just after WWII, we sometimes see them with a paper tag that says “Made in occupied Japan.”


Assorted Beaded Ornaments


One interesting category of ornaments is made by a German company that started in the 1950’s, and continues today. The Resl Lenz company has a unique style. All of their ornaments, of varying shapes, are clear, uncolored glass. Inside, there is an image or figure made with a thin gold metal. This image can be just about anything. We see lots of angels, birds, trees, stars, and more. Sometimes they use other colors for accent, such as red or teal. Right now we have more of these than we’ve ever had in the past, perhaps twenty or so. These tend to be on the large side, the roundish ones being about the size of a baseball.


Resl Lenz Clear Ornaments

Diorama Ornaments from Italy and Japan


Diorama ornaments are always popular. These are usually round, with a large indentation on one side, in which a figure or scene is placed. The ornament is glass, and sometimes the inner scene is too, but occasionally other materials are used. We constantly find designs we have never seen before, but we often see things like a manger scene, Santa, reindeer, snowmen, or something simple like a colored ball or flower. We have seen these made in Czechoslovakia, but the most common are from Italy or Japan. Those from Italy have a sort of crimped edge on the rim, and those from Japan are smooth. The Italian ones are sometimes made with plastic. We try to avoid those, but sometimes one sneaks into our collection. They are almost indistinguishable from the glass.


Polish Hand Painted A

Polish Hand Painted B


Hand painted ornaments are prized by many collectors. Of course, many ornaments are hand painted, but here we are referring to painting as decoration, such as a Santa, a skier, snowman, flower or many other subjects. This is usually found on a round or more often on a “drop” shape, also known as an icicle. Neither term is an accurate description of the shape, but that’s what they are referred to as. Almost all of these are from Poland, and they are still being made today. These are larger ornaments, for the most part.


Assorted Santas from Germany


Santa himself is probably the most common figural ornament. Most of these are from Germany, and have been popular since the beginning of glass ornament production. There are many sizes and shapes of Santa ornaments. He is often depicted as holding a small evergreen tree. Of course red is the most common color for Santa, but we occasionally see other colors such as blue and gold. His bearded face is not always overly jolly, but there is only so much detail you can expect with an ornament mold. I particularly like the ornament with Santa in a chimney. We have some other newly arrived figurals such as snowmen, animals, clowns, soldiers, angels, and more.


Assorted Figurals


On the home front, I’ve been busy putting up my main tree. I got it fully decorated in time for St. Nicholas eve. We have other, smaller trees around the house. My vintage ornament collection keeps growing. Its getting hard to find a place to display them. On Sunday, December 17, the Milwaukee Journal is scheduled to run a story on my ornament collection. I did an interview with them a few weeks ago and they stopped by to get some photos. I assume there will be online access for the article. Check it out if you get a chance.

Please email me if you have any questions or comments. If you are interested in purchasing ornaments pictured in this blog, please contact Nick at 262.693.2040 x101 or



Dec 13, 2023 - More Great Vintage Ornaments - Just in Time for Christmas

Nov 21, 2023 - An Extraordinary Collection of Vintage Ornaments

Nov 17, 2023 - All-American Vintage Ornaments

Nov 1, 2023 - Lots of Wonderful Vintage Ornaments

Oct 25, 2023 - Vintage Indent Ornaments from the USA and Europe, and an Outlier from Columbia!


Dec. 13, 2022 - Figurals

Dec. 13, 2022 - Indent (Reflector) Ornaments from Europe

Dec. 5, 2022 - Naturalistic Ornaments, Icicles and Houses

Nov. 16, 2022 - European Figural Ornaments

Nov. 8, 2022 - Mostly American Ornaments


Dec. 20, 2021 - Special Vintage Ornaments - Just in Time!

Dec. 2, 2021 - St. Nicholas Eve and WWII Era Vintage Ornaments

Nov. 23, 2021 - Vintage Glass Nipple Ornaments and Teapots

Nov. 10, 2021 - European Indents and Other Treasures!

Oct. 26, 2021 - Vintage Christmas Ornaments — No, its not too early!


Dec. 4, 2020 - Ornaments with History

Nov. 19, 2020 - Sugared Ornaments and Other Delights

Nov. 12, 2020 - Various Indent Ornaments and Some Kitsch

Nov. 6 2020 - American Made Stencil Ornaments


Dec. 19, 2019 - A Little of This, a Little of That---this season's last Blog

Dec. 5, 2019 - German and Polish Glass Ornaments---Teapots, Teardrops, and such

Nov. 26, 2019 - Fanciful Bird Ornaments

Nov. 19, 2019 - Glass Ornaments---"Nipples" and an Assortment of Fanciful Types

Nov. 12, 2019 - American Ornaments---Shiny Brite, Stencil, and Unsilvered

Nov. 4, 2019 - Indented Christmas Ornaments, mostly from Europe


Dec. 20, 2018 - Pine Cones from Christmas Past

Dec. 4, 2018 - The Magic of St. Nicholas Eve

Nov. 29, 2018 - Very Delicate Christmas Ornaments

Nov. 21, 2018 - Something New (but old)! And More Nipple Ornaments

Nov. 9, 2018 - Indented Glass Ornaments-a favorite of mine


Dec 14, 2017 - JUMBO Christmas Ornaments

Dec. 7, 2017 - Granny-esque Ornaments

Nov. 22, 2017 - Glass Bird Ornaments---always a favorite!

Nov. 16, 2017 - The Charm of Beaded Glass Ornaments from Czechoslovakia


Dec. 9, 2016 - All-American Christmas Ornaments

Dec. 5, 2016 - St. Nicholas Eve and All is Well

Nov. 21, 2016 - 1950's Christmas Ornaments