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On the hunt for vintage Christmas decorations in Surrey - Antiques Scene

PUBLISHED: 13:32 13 December 2013 | UPDATED: 16:59 05 December 2014

Weathered decorative containers

Weathered decorative containers


In an antiques special this month, Ali Heath brings us some great suggestions for places to search out vintage Christmas decorations

With Christmas fast approaching, I can feel the excitement building as the traditions that have grown and evolved with us as a family come back out to play for the festive season. For me, it is a time that is truly treasured, and the pleasures gained from getting ready for family, friends and guests creates an intense and magic appeal that seems to become more important with each year. With all that in mind, this month, I thought it would be fun to share with you some of my favourite haunts for hunting out the best festive vintage finds in our county – whether you’re looking for decorations for your home or a unique gift.


Weathered decorative containers...

Petersham Nurseries near Richmond is a great destination for finding original containers and planters. Think antique dolly tubs for the perfect Christmas tree container and old zinc planters for seasonal displays of festive flowers. Use old apple crates to store wrapped presents under the tree and enjoy browsing their vast collection of old urns, weathered terracotta pots and trugs, all perfect for displays at Christmas.


Treasures old and new...

Haus in Haslemere and Hill & Co Home in Grayshott are my favourite Surrey haunts for seeking out unusual and inspirational vintage items in preparation for Christmas. Both stock a brilliant range of antique furniture and accessories – everything from gorgeous chairs and sofas re-upholstered in antique monogrammed linen sheets to vintage blankets, tablecloths, napkins, cutlery and glassware. You will also find stunning hand-made Christmas stockings, period lighting and wall sconces, along with abundant textiles and nostalgic toys and games. Both have great ranges of new items too including Christmas decorations, candles, accessories, and gifts. They are my favourite shopping destinations for all my Christmas needs and a definite escape from the more homogenous high street stores.


Christmas tree with a twist...

If you’re looking for a fake tree with a vintage twist, then this lampshade Christmas tree, hand-made in the Surrey studio of Sarah Moore Vintage, may well inspire you. Old shapely lampshade frames are creatively stacked in a tree formation and dressed beautifully with antique baubles, ribbons and trims of your choice. Totally unique and definite heirlooms of the future, these trees can be customised from a simple table-top delight to a stunning full-sized hall spectacle. Based on the Surrey border in Northchapel, Sarah Moore has developed a gorgeous hand-made vintage business and website shop full of lovely creations that are also perfect as stocking fillers and gifts (see


Antique decorations...

Search out local fairs such as the monthly market at Farnham Maltings (on the first Saturday of each month) and their Christmas gift fair, where you’ll find a number of dealers selling wonderful collections of vintage baubles and original chandelier drops. These fabulous, sparkly decorations are perfect for the tree or for adding decorative touches to displays around the home. The Maltings shop is itself home to contemporary craft, seasonal exhibits and vintage finds.


The perfect treetop fairy...

Looking for the perfect fairy to grace the top of your tree,? Then my all-time personal favourite would be a fairy from The Magpie and The Wardrobe by artist Sam McKechnie. The tiny flutter-by fairies are made from papier maché and antique French linen, filled with lavender. Each one is hand-painted and dressed in vintage fabric ball-gowns and adorned with antique and vintage flowers. Every fairy is totally unique and comes in a hand-made box with a wand. They are available to order online at and are just the most exquisite delights ever.


Vintage barn stars...

Searching for the perfect tin star to grace tables, walls or even outdoor spaces? Then pay a visit to the vintage, market-style store At The Ark in Camberley. Tony Sandells, who has a great eye for antique buying, is one of the country’s leading suppliers of vintage Amish barn stars. The white ones are my personal favourite and their simple elegance and aged patina are beautiful for both Christmas and beyond.


Unique present trimmings...

I am a huge fan of the indoor market at Sunbury Antiques Market for hunting out old belt and shoe buckles, brooches and decorative pieces of jewellery. Charming finds can be used to adorn gifts and parcels as stunning present trimmings. Team them with sumptuous velvet and silk ribbons and turn present wrapping into a work of art! Plus, if you manage to wrap them early, these beautiful packages will add decorative charm to your home during the build-up to Christmas.




Ali Heath is the owner of Plum (see / To contact Ali about styling and writing commissions, e-mail


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