Home » Blog » Decorate » Christmas Decorating Ideas » Shiny Brite Christmas Ornaments

Shiny Brite Christmas Ornaments


Today we’re talking all about one of my favorite vintage items, Shiny Brite Christmas ornaments. I’ve been collecting them for years and absolutely love the bright colors and fun designs.

vintage shiny brite Christmas ornaments in mercury glass compote

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience. I may make a small commission on products purchased with my link, but your price does not change. For full disclosure go here: Disclosure and Policies. Thank you for supporting my site.

Shiny Brite Christmas Ornaments

It all started with my mom and her small vintage tinsel tree and miniature Shiny Brite ornaments. It came from my great aunt and uncle and that made it even more special. I was inexplicably drawn to it like a moth to a flame.

And then one day when I was at an estate sale that had 10 boxes of amazing colorful vintage glass ornaments, I snagged them all. My collection was born.

Why are Shiny Brite ornaments so popular?

What’s all the hype? Well, these beautiful baubles bring back memories of a simpler time and happy childhood Christmases for many people. They’re festive, colorful, beautiful, and nostalgic.

The history of Shiny Brite Christmas ornaments

These colorful Christmas ornaments were originally produced in Germany but European imports were no longer coming into America during the late 30’s. Because they were so well loved, they began being produced here in the United States by German immigrant Max Eckardt. He forged a partnership with Corning glass and established the Shiny Brite company in 1939.

So if you’ve inherited and Christmas decorations from your grandparents, there’s probably some Shiny Brites in there.

How to identify Vintage Shiny Brite Ornaments

Many of the ornaments have the “SHINY BRITE” name imprinted on the signature crimped metal cap that rests on top of them. Some of the oldest ones say “US of A” on the metal cap. During WW2 they had paper caps due to a metal shortage and no emblems.

Where to find Shiny Brite Ornaments

If you haven’t inherited any of them, don’t fret. Vintage Shiny Brites can sometimes be found at various places. These are the best sources for them:

  • Garage Sales – if you’re REALLY lucky, you can score some at garage sales for a steal.
  • Estate Sales – I’ve found several this way. Read my best tips here: How to Shop Estate Sales Like a Pro
  • Etsy – there are always plenty on etsy and you can see what’s currently available here: Vintage Shiny Brite Ornaments on etsy
  • eBay – like etsy, there are always some found on eBay. See the current listings here: Vintage Shiny Brite Ornaments on eBay.
  • Facebook marketplace – sometimes you can find them on FB marketplace. Search for vintage Christmas ornaments and see what’s available. Some sellers will ship to you if they’re not local.
  • Instagram – occasionally vintage dealers will sell their wares on IG. It’s a little trickier to find them but it’s worth a search.
  • Antique shops – it’s certainly possible to find them at antique shops but you’ll probably have to do some driving and pay a little more.

And you can also find newer reproduction Shiny Brites from Christopher Radko.

FYI, You might not believe it but the original Shiny Brite boxes are also collectible, even if there aren’t any ornaments in them! So if you see any of those in the wild, be sure to grab them. Crazy, isn’t it?

Also, there are many stunning ornaments that are just as pretty as the Shiny Brite ones. I have lots of vintage Polish and German Christmas ornaments and many that I have no idea where they were made. I don’t love them any less.

You don’t have to stick with Shiny Brites to get a festive vintage look. The white ironstone bowl in the photo below is filled with some of my favorite vintage Polish Christmas ornaments.

white ironstone bowl with vintage shiny brite ornaments

Display Ideas for Vintage Shiny Brite Christmas Ornaments

Once you have some Shiny Brites, you’re definitely going to want to display them and there are several fun ways to do that. Let’s take a look at how I’ve decorated with mine over the past 10+ years.

Dough Bowl full of Shiny Brites

One of the easiest ways to show off your collection is by simply arranging them in a dough bowl. I love filling mine up and setting it on a coffee or console table.

vintage shiny brite Christmas ornaments in wooden dough bowl

You can arrange them any way you want and use some or all of the colors for a simple and festive look.

vintage shiny brite ornaments in wooden dough bowl

Top if off with a strand of glass bead garland for even more bling.

wooden dough bowl with vintage shiny brite Christmas ornaments

In a ceramic bowl

Last year I had a retro, colorful theme with our Christmas decor and added some of my Shiny Brites to my mid-century modern bar cart. It was a fun way to add color and sparkle along with my vintage bar tools and Dean Martin albums. Cha-cha-cha!

vintage shiny brite Christmas ornaments in bowl with barware

Roaming free on a table or shelf

No bowls, no problem. You can simply rest the baubles on a table or shelf. Just make sure they won’t roll off and break. I’ve broken a few in the past and it’s very sad.

vinage glass bottles with vintage glass shiny brite Christmas ornaments

Several years ago I placed a few on top of an old wooden crate with a small wooden lantern. It was a simple way to add a pop of color.

vintage shiny brite Christmas ornaments and wooden lantern

On your holiday dining table

Add a few ornaments to your holiday table for a bit of fun. Vary the sizes and colors for even more interest.

vintage shiny brite Christmas ornaments table decor

Here’s a fun tablescape I created several years ago using various shades of blue. I added some vintage glass candle holders and a pierced glass cake pedestal for even more sparkle.

vintage blue and turquoise shiny brite Christmas ornaments

On a pedestal

Carrying on with the cake stand theme here. I stacked a few white dishes on my milk glass cake plate, added a little preserved boxwood wreath, and topped it off with some vintage ornaments. Quick and easy.

preserved boxwood wreath with vintage shiny brite Christmas ornaments

Dress up a window sill by adding some vintage milk glass vases topped with pretty Shiny Brites.

vintage milk glass vases with vintage glass ornaments

Or add them to teacups and compotes on your mantel. This was part of our Christmas decor from last year.

vintage milk glass compote with vintage pink mercury glass ornaments
vintage milk glass with mercury glass christmas ornaments

Of course I collect little vintage bottles too. Among many other things, lol. I decorated our China hutch a few years ago by topping them with some of my mini Shiny Brites. Such a fun way to add some color.

vintage glass medicine bottles with miniature vintage shiny brite Christmas ornaments and bottle brush tree

If you have a favorite ornament, consider placing it on top of a little white creamer. The possibilities are endless when it comes to displaying these beauties.

vintage pink shiny brite ornament sitting on top of ironstone creamer

Shiny Brites on a Christmas Tree

And the best place to put them in on a tree where they’re on display for all to see. My mini Shiny Brites look perfect on my mini tree. And just for fun (and since I love anything vintage) I used a vintage champagne bucket as a tree stand.

vintage mini shiny brite Christmas ornaments

Last year I did a pink and navy blue Christmas theme in the den and only used pink Shiny Brites on my slim tree. I made the blue paper ornaments and you can see that tutorial here: DIY 3D Blue and White Paper Chinoiserie Ornaments.

small Christmas tree vintage shiny brite ornaments

The Shiny Brites are so colorful and really pop against the green on our main Christmas tree. This was ours from about 10 years ago and is one of my all-time favorite versions.

vintage Shiny Brite Christmas ornaments

Last year I used them once again and added a wide navy blue and white checked ribbon and chunky knit garland. The vintage board games and toy car underneath the tree were a fun way to add more color and nostalgia to my “colorful vintage Christmas” theme.

Christmas tree with vintage shiny brite ornaments

Are you a fan or collector of Shiny Brites or other vintage Christmas decor? Let me know in the comments what your favorites are.

shiny brite ornaments history and display ideas


  1. I have many ornaments made in Poland and West Germany. My mother collected them and after she passed away me and my 4 siblings ( we were all adults with our own families) laid them all out on a soft blanket, sat in a circle and picked them one at a time til they were all gone. Still haven’t used my on an Xmas tree because grandchildren are small

    1. That’s such a wonderful story, Cindy. I’m sure you’re all happy to have a little piece of that memory to carry on and think of your mom every time you see them. Thanks for sharing this! ~ Angie

  2. OH MY GOSH, ANGIE!!! First of all, your collection is incredible!!! You have so many!!!! I adore each and every idea that you shared today but I’m partial to the bowl display as well as using milk glass with them. This was a very joyful and happy post to read today. Thanks so much for the ideas! Pinned!

  3. I have from my husband’s grandparents ornaments in the original boxes marked 1921 as the Year of purchase. I display on a metal tree, so they are fully visible all around.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *