Fun ways you can use fam­ily heir­looms in your hol­i­day dec­o­rat­ing

Centre Daily Times (Sunday) - - Explore - BY LORI VERDERAME

This hol­i­day sea­son, home dé­cor takes cen­ter stage. Lights, wreaths, sea­sonal plants are all the rage. So as you decorate your home to re­ceive vis­i­tors, why not high­light your cher­ished ob­jects and fam­ily heir­looms?

As you dig out last year’s gift wrap from your clos­ets, at­tics and stor­age ar­eas, take some time to look for those fam­ily heir­looms that are “too pre­cious” for ev­ery­day dis­play.

Now’s the time to dis­play them proudly around your home.

Re­vive those ob­jects that re­mind you of loved ones from years past, fam­ily gath­er­ings, or va­ca­tions. Photo frames that present slide shows of dig­i­tal im­ages scanned from old fash­ioned snapshots are great con­ver­sa­tion starters.

Pull out those old high school year­books, scrap­books, and wed­ding al­bums and give them cen­ter stage on the fam­ily room cof­fee ta­ble.

Don’t stop there — bring out spe­cial ob­jects for rem­i­nisc­ing. While there are al­ways the tried and true heir­looms that make it to the hol­i­day ta­ble – like Mom’s Stafford­shire china turkey plat­ter or Grandpa’s fa­vorite foot­ball jersey, fea­ture ob­jects that haven’t seen the light of day in a while.


Fill a few small, dec­o­ra­tive bowls with items from your past. Place these mem­ory bowls around the house where peo­ple might set down a drink dur­ing a hol­i­day gathering. For in­stance, fill a bowl with col­lectibles from your sports ac­tiv­i­ties or fa­vorite school clubs.

As­sem­ble old Girl Scout patches, swim gog­gles or fish­ing lures.

For the pow­der room or guest bed­rooms, fill a mem­ory bowl with the cos­tume jew­elry that was used by the kids when they played dress-up.

You can even fill a bowl with slips of pa­per ask­ing guests to share some­thing about their his­tory like “what was the num­ber of your col­lege dorm room?” or “name the store where you bought your high school prom dress” or “what was the phone num- ber at your first job?” It’s fun!


Pa­per col­lectibles, or ephemera as they call them in the an­tiques world, are al­ways in­ter­est­ing.

Fill a dec­o­ra­tive hat box with old news­pa­per ar­ti­cles about your home town, high school, fa­vorite va­ca­tion spot, etc. Add some old school re­port cards, class pic­tures, ID cards from jobs, maps to va­ca­tion cab­ins, school pho­tos, col­lege ID cards, old pass­ports, ex­pired li­brary cards and driver’s li­censes for va­ri­ety.

These items can liven up a hol­i­day gathering with chat­ter. The boxes can be sim­ply placed on the floor near a comfy chair or by the hearth. Choose boxes that are col­or­ful or hol­i­day themed.


Make a real key chain for this year’s hol­i­day trees or string of lights. Just knot old keys and tags from your first car, roller skates, apart­ment door, or school locker on a long piece of string or twine along with a tag stat­ing the key’s ori­gin like “Locker 754 from Martin­dale High School” or “John’s first car: 1987 Buick Re­gal.” Add this “key chain” to the hol­i­day string of lights or put it on a hol­i­day tree or top­i­ary in the foyer or fam­ily room.

To decorate all rooms in the house with heir­looms, hang Grandma’s cock­tail dress and beaded purse from the 1960s on a guest room door. Fea­ture Grandpa’s golf clubs in the cor­ner of the foyer so they can be seen as guests en­ter. Place an old crys­tal punch bowl with old or­na­ments on the din­ing room ta­ble or toss your kids’ mit­tens into a flour-su­gar-cof­fee can­is­ter set on the kitchen counter.


Don’t for­get to dig out those old school projects made by you or your kids – like white-glue mac­a­roni pic­ture frames or mas­ter­piece draw­ings from grade school. No need to frame them pro­fes­sion­ally; just care­fully place them on small in­ex­pen­sive ta­ble easels that you can buy at the hobby store and po­si­tion them around the hol­i­day dessert buf­fet ta­ble. You can even tape them to the cabi­net in the garage or mud­room to brighten up that busy space that will be used by the whole fam­ily af­ter a game of Thanks­giv­ing af­ter­noon touch foot­ball.

Use fam­ily heir­looms for home dé­cor to spark mem­o­ries and make the hol­i­days bright.

Lori Verderame is the award-win­ning Ph.D. an­tiques ap­praiser and ar­ti­facts ex­pert on His­tory chan­nel’s “he Curse of Oak Is­land.” Dr. Lori presents an­tique ap­praisal events and eval­u­ates ev­ery­thing from fam­ily heir­looms to flea mar­ket finds for world­wide au­di­ences. Visit or call 888- 431-1010.


Fam­ily heir­looms such as china, me­men­tos and old pic­tures can be used to decorate homes this hol­i­day sea­son.

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