Starting a Holiday Collection

Where family traditions grow year after year

When it comes to home décor, I have a fairly understated style. I go for mainly neutral tones and classic pieces. The holidays, on the other hand, are when I cut loose and go crazy. When it comes to holiday decorating, my motto is ‘more is more.’

That’s why I think that the holidays are the perfect time to showcase a collection. I started collecting Santas about 15 years ago, and although it may have grown to ‘Crazy Cat Lady’ proportions by this point, I never tire of it because I know that at the end of the season I’ll be packing it up and putting it away.

Starting a Holiday CollectionOnce you start a collection, you soon find that it takes on a life of its own. You may begin by picking up two or three items to start off. Before you know it you’ll be receiving pieces as gifts from friends and family, picking up items on sale, and as you’re out and about you’ll notice that pieces start to jump out at you when you’re not even looking for them. So, while you might think your collection looks a bit scarce in year one, by year three or four you may be hard pressed to find space to showcase your pieces. But that’s okay –just remember my motto!

Here are some tips for creating a holiday collection that can grow through the years with your family, to become a cherished part of your holiday traditions.

Getting started
Decide what you want to collect. You might have an old snow globe you always cherished from your childhood. Why not make that the foundation of a snow globe collection? If ‘Rudolf, the Red Nosed Reindeer’ was your favorite holiday special, maybe reindeers are your thing. These days there are so many fabulous holiday decorations to choose from, there are plenty of options. Buy yourself a couple of pieces in the first season and add one or two each year.

They Come Bearing Gifts
Once your friends and family notice your collection, they’ll be happy to add to it. After all, who doesn’t welcome a easy-to-remember gift idea for their loved ones? I receive St. Nicks at Christmas, as hostess gifts, even for my birthday in the middle of summer. Whenever someone sees a unique or unusual Santa Claus, they think of me and pick it up.

Hit the sales
My favorite time to add to my collection is in the days following Christmas. This is when you can get items that have been heavily discounted. As I’m out in the days between Christmas and New Year, I always keep my eyes open for a fantastic deal.

Look around
Flea markets, antique shops and second hand stores are treasure troves of interesting, one-of-a-kind objects. These are the places where you might find those additions to your collection that are real conversation starters, and often for a steal. A combination of new and old can mean the difference between a simple collection of knick knacks, and something truly special.

It’s All Good
In my collection all Santas are welcome. It includes bottle toppers, candy dispensers, even Patrick Star from Spongebob in a Santa suit. When combined with some of my more unique pieces, they add a real touch of whimsy. While a cheap piece of plastic might seem like an odd addition to your growing collection, I find that the juxtaposition between these fun little chotchkas and my grander pieces make for an eclectic and unexpected mix.

Every year when I unpack the Santas, my children join me, thrilled to see those familiar pieces that tell them Christmas is just around the corner. They all have their favorites (that will occasionally disappear to turn up later behind a couch or under a chair,) and often remember when and how each new piece was added to the collection. As it has grown with us over the years, our collection has become as integral to our holiday decorating as our Christmas tree. And when they gather around to help set up our display in its regular spot in the living room, I realize I’m not just collecting Santas, I’m collecting wonderful memories of time spent together.

About The Author

Mandy Webster
Mandy Webster is a writer at Ganz and the author of the middle grade Young Marian series, including A Viper in the Forest and Echoes in the Cavern. She’s also an artist and graphic designer whose work has been featured in InStyle, Redbook and Style at Home. A mother of three, Mandy has worked as an advertising copywriter as well as contributing to publications such as Playback, Strategy and Canada On Location.

7 Responses to Starting a Holiday Collection

  1. Sharon says:

    Yeah. I have been collecting Santa items for about 25 years. All are welcome in my “Santa” shelf, which now take up about half the kitchen!!

  2. ivysun says:


  3. alison says:

    i love to decorate for christmas my big thing is bells

  4. gabsix says:

    We collect snowmen. We have been doing it for years. My children even have their own trees and their own collections. One love Snoopy and the other frogs. It makes for so much fun shopping for little memorable and special items that they will cherish for years!

  5. vmmk71tliz says:

    I like to put up a Christmas village, and I add to it every year!

  6. Audrey says:

    Me and my kids collect different types of bottle caps, which displays in our guest room and never has to be taken down, It takes up about 1 Queen bed of space but we usually put them on top of each other, it’s really quite nice, and, vmmk7tliz, that’s a nice idea!

  7. Lorraine says:

    Iv’e been collecting and adding to my collection since I was 16, now 42 years later, I have a wonderful collection and add to it every year.