My Vintage Deer Collection

This Post May Contain Affiliate Links. Please Read Our Disclosure Policy

Discover the timeless charm of vintage Christmas decor with my unique mini deer collection. These adorable fawns, with their oversized eyes and nostalgic appeal, are perfect for adding a touch of retro holiday magic to your holiday decor.  

vintage plastic deer collection on mantel.

Over the years, I’ve showcased my mini deer collection as a part of my Christmas decor. I love vintage Christmas decor. It’s been a go-to for me. In recent years, it has taken a prominent place on my living room mantel. Although the surrounding decor has evolved, these deer have remained a constant fixture. Overall, they have stayed the same, although their numbers seem to increase slightly each year.

The collection began with a set of three that was a gift from my grandparents. Initially, I never planned for it to grow, but now it’s certainly more than three! Last I counted I was around 40. (If you’re a collector, you know this is how these things go. Ha!) 

vintage fawn deer collection on mantel for Christmas.

The two tiny deer with the red bows are new additions. I just added them a couple days ago. So you won’t see them in all of these photos. However, I had to add them and snap a few extra pictures.

vintage mini plastic deer.

I discovered that the original set included four pieces: a large standing deer, a larger one sitting/lying down, and two smaller ones in similar poses. Over time, I’ve found many variations. Some adhere closely to this style and vary in size, while others are distinct but maintain the same essence. I’ve also found a handful that are pretty wonky. Some have a bad paint job so their eyes aren’t in the right spot, and some are imbalanced so they won’t stand up straight. These particular deer are my favorites. 

Most are made of hard plastic or celluloid and hollow on the inside. I also own a ceramic pair (that are salt and pepper shakers) and a few made from softer plastic. I don’t adhere to strict rules in collecting; if I feel they belong, they do.

vintage collection of plastic deer on a mantel.
plastic deer collection.

What’s Their History?

These charming deer, often called fawns, are quintessential mid-century Christmas decor, typically labeled as “kitsch.” Popular from the 1950s to the 1970s, these figurines are known for their oversized eyes and endearing expressions. Made from molded hard plastic, they represent the era’s trend of synthetic materials in festive ornaments.

Collectors appreciate these figurines for their vintage appeal and nostalgic value. The large doe-eyed design reflects the period’s preference for cuteness and innocence, a trend evident in toys and cartoons.

Mass-produced during a time when holiday decorations became widely commercialized, plastic was favored for its durability, affordability, and versatility in molding.

vintage christmas fawn plastic deer collection.

💌 SAVE THIS RECIPE!

We'll email this post to you, so you can come back to it later! Plus, I'll send you more inspiring ideas I think you'll love!

plastic Christmas deer fawns on a mantel decorated for Christmas.

Are They Expensive? Rare?

Their value can vary. Factors like condition, size, and design rarity play a role. It’s common to find them unmarked, as many were made by companies that either didn’t brand their products or whose markings have faded.

I usually find them for a few dollars in antique shops, thrift stores, or flea markets. Online, a set might sell for over $50.

I mostly build my collection by chance. I don’t actively seek them out, but I’ll pick one up if I come across it.

vintage deer collection on a mantel fro Christmas.
plastic deer on a mantel for Christmas.

Wrap Up

As with all my collections, I don’t fuss over value, rarity, or “correctness.” I simply collect what I love or things that have meaning. In this case, it’s both. This collection is special as it reminds me of my grandparents and childhood Christmases. 

And if you were wondering, I do know which ones were the original three. I marked them with a black dot on the bottom when I started the collection so I’d always remember.

sweet plastic fawn figures used for Christmas decor.

I often get a lot of questions about these deer, so I hope this post has provided some answers! At the very least, it gave you a closer look at my vintage collection and its history. 

Do you have any special Christmas collections? I’d love to hear about them in the comments below.

vintage plastic deer on a mantel decorated for Christmas

Want more from Inspired by Charm? Follow along on Instagram and TikTok for daily updates and behind-the-scenes looks at my processes. There’s even more inspiration on Facebook and Pinterest.

Leave a Reply

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

6 Comments

  1. I just found you on instagram and fell in love with you♥️ what an inspiring man you are. What a beautiful life you have created for yourself. Your home is a treasure trove. Thank you for sharing. These precious deer bring tears to my eyes. Such fond memories of childhood Christmases.

  2. Oh Deer I just love these sweet little guys. What a fabulous collection. Old-timey vintage Christmas things bring back such warm memories as I’m a child of the 50s. I only have one teeny tiny deer that I use with a miniature church. I’ll try to send you a picture to your email. But I have a very small collection of vintage Christmas cards and my husband and my childhood ornaments.

  3. What fun to see this collection up close. Each has its own charm and I can almost hear them calling to you as you search for treasures as you travel around. Thanks for sharing about the beginning of their story. I can feel your warm Christmasy feelings attached to them. Merry Christmas Michael!

    I noticed the Santa mugs in the pantry. And, of course, the wonderful ribbons. How many collections do you have?

  4. I have admired your deer collection for several years now and it has inspired me to start my own! I have 5 deer now, they are very hard to find, but that makes it more fun! Like you mentioned, I am not hunting them down online, just looking in the wild. My collection started with a single deer found in a family box that I inherited. I am off to mark it with a dot so that I will never forget! Great idea!