The holiday season is one of those few times of life when "new" and "shiny" may be less important than "meaningful" and "nostalgic" on the scale of importance.
Unfortunately, it can be tough to find good, old-fashioned holiday basics amidst the whirlwind of kitschy, commercial, and often downright electrical decorations and trimmings these days.
Happily, there is a place to buy the good, old-fashioned holiday decorating bascis, and (surprise) that place is eBay.
If the decorations on offer at your local Wal-Mart or Hobby Lobby are leaving you cold, try searching eBay for vintage decor as you trim the house for the festivities.
Shop for vintage christmas lights. Anyone that has bought cheap drugstore string lights in recent years can tell you that they don't make them like they used to. These days, you're lucky to get a strand of lights that lasts through an entire single season, and the LEDs used in many common lights these days just don't have the same warm glow as older-generation lights. Just as importantly, lights these days tend to be boring: they're just lights. Whatever happened to petals and santas and reflectors? These days, they're all on eBay.
Shop for vintage nativities. If you're a religious celebrant, nativities are probably at the center of your decorating approach. The plastic paint-jobs at department stores aren't just tacky, they're also overpriced. How about looking at hand-carved, wooden, old-world sets, or at porcelain or paper mache sets? You'll find nativities of all sizes and traditions on eBay, priced competitively with the standard fare at retail stores.
Shop for vintage tree skirts. There's no doubt that some truly decadent tree skirts can be found these days for not much money at the local store, but there's something to be said for the simpler, hand-made tree fashions of days gone by. If you're looking for something closer to home and hearth than to castle or bank, one of the vintage tree skirts on eBay may be just what you're looking for.
Shop for vintage advent calendars. Kids love advent calendars; the anticipation that comes from watching the days until the Big Day tick away is unmatched by almost anything else in a young person's life. While there are some good options in the stores every year, you'll find more variety, from a wider range of time periods and styles, on eBay.
Shop for vintage ornaments. More than anything else, today's world of samey, overdone ornaments shows just how overwrought and commercial the holiday season can be. Looking for something else to adorn your tree and create that timeless holiday ambiance? Look to eBay for vintage ornaments of all kinds, from hand-blown glass to simple globes in colors and patterns that just can't be found anymore.
Remember, too, that your own variations on all of these searches can produce great results, no matter what kind of vintage holiday decor you're looking for, and that power searching can get you even farther.
For some, the holiday season is slave to a strict modernist impulse: clean and shiny, new and spotless, with all colors and patterns matched every year. For them, there are mall stores aplenty.
If you're more the "older rather than newer" holiday sort, and like to have Grandma and Grandpa's old decorations around the house every year, eBay can be a great way to add to your collection and to your enjoyment of the holiday season. Just remember to check your seller feedback before you buy and to keep eBay in mind for holiday gift-giving as well.