Tag Archives: Mexican Christmas Tree

Mexican Tin Ornaments and Thrift Store Scores!


A treasure trove of Mexican tin ornaments my mother found for me recently during a thrifting adventure!

Mexican tin art is a mainstay on my Mexican Christmas tree every year.  I love the shapes and colors of these lightweight ornaments.  I’ve collected them since the 1990s and always look for stores that carry the ornaments in particular.  My last big haul was last year when I visited Austin, Texas at a cool store called Tesoros.  They had quite a selection to choose from and wish I could have come away with more but honestly…I had to leave some for the other shoppers too, right?!

Last week my mother paid a visit to my favorite thrift store – The Salvation Army in Hoover.  She confessed she went in only for a few moment and now two hours later she was still roaming around and finding all sorts of goodies!  After a few trips around the knick knacks, she spotted a sandwich bag with something shiny and colorful.  Turned out to be a baggie with 10 Mexican tin ornaments!  For one dollar!!!!!  She brought them to me that very evening and while they look a little worn, they are still so beautiful to me.  I think the wearing of the tin and the color gives them a certain antique character.  And I also think I might need a bigger Mexican Christmas tree this year with all these new ornaments!


The red color on this ornament is brilliant and this is one design that I didn’t have – happy to add to my collection!

Meanwhile, this past weekend I went to the grand reopening of another favorite thrift store – the Salvation Army store in Homewood, AL.  The place was a madhouse!  I found a few items but nothing that I couldn’t live without, especially with the length of the checkout line!  Then I went to the jewelry counter – which was also packed – and gave it a look.  Loads of beautiful things…still that growing line was a concern.  I turned to walk toward the door when I spotted a long table filled with Christmas pins!  Wow!  I felt like I hit the mother-load of pins – something else I love to collect.    I spotted one vintage Christmas tree pin and then another…and a lady holding one handed hers to me when she saw my interest.  I thought that was nice!  Then a saleslady showed up and said, “let’s put these in a baggie with your name on it and it will be ready for you when you check out.”  I thought – “ok, let’s do this!”  Then the saleslady started suggested pins and earrings to me to help me fill my bag.  It was rather amusing.  I’d say – “sure, put it in the bag!”  And she would!


Such a unique necklace! This Mexican tin piece is adorned with a nativity scene!

The most unusual item I found in this sea of pins was a necklace.  I wasn’t sure what it was at first all clustered together on the table, but it was made of Mexican tin – I knew that for sure!  The saleslady picked it up and said it was a nativity scene and she thought it was beautiful.  I agreed but then again, the necklace had me at “Mexican tin” and so I told her to add it to the bag!

Well, the line to check out got even longer while I was browsing these pins, earrings and the necklace.  I figured I would leave the store to run some of my errands and come back before 7 p.m. to pick up the jewelry.  Unfortunately, I didn’t make it back and figured it was just as well.  Wasn’t meant to be and all that.  Still, I kept thinking of that Mexican tin necklace and how unique it was…


So Monday at lunch I decided to take a ride over to the store and look around minus the 250 people who were there on Saturday!  I went right to the jewelry counter and much to my surprise there were no Christmas pins anywhere!  That was puzzling with all that they had on Saturday.  Had someone come in and bought the entire table of pins?  I checked the other jewelry counter and but found nothing there either.  Then I saw several baggies of jewelry on the back of the counter.  Mine was still there!  SCORE!!!  Was I excited?  You bet!  Couldn’t believe my good fortune!

I left the store Monday with a baggie full of vintage pins, the Mexican tin necklace and also a talavera pottery piece that I spotted right before check out!  The colors on this talavera piece are perfect for my kitchen.  It will be a nice addition to the Zuniga-Odom talavera collection!  This is why I love thrift store shopping so much – you never know what you’ll find!


Finding Tesoros in Austin, Texas

Beside Tesoros in Austin, Texas...this painting of the Virgen of Guadalupe is clearly visible from the street.

Beside Tesoros in Austin, Texas…this painting of the Virgen of Guadalupe is clearly visible from the street.

I went to Austin, Texas two weeks ago with my husband.  Eddie had a business conference and I went along since this place is on my “must visit” list.  Quite eclectic!  I mean, when your motto is “Keep Austin Weird,” I guess you kind of have to be eclectic!  We arrived early on Sunday and after checking into our hotel we immediately started exploring Austin.  First lunch at Annie’s, explored the Pecan Street Festival, checked out Mexic-Arte Museum, snacked at Walton’s Fancy & Staple, walked through the Texas State Capitol and finally had a light dinner at Second Bar & Kitchen.  Whew!  Exhausted but exhilarated!

I always do a little research before we travel looking for “off the beaten path” type places to check out.  Aside from restaurants, thrift stores and historical sites, I wanted to find some unique shopping.  I figured in Austin I would find a number of stores with Mexican art  when I stumbled upon Tesoros in the hotel magazine.  Located on South Congress (or Soco), I could have stayed there all day and not seen everything!  What a treasure trove – hence the name Tesoros!  (Duh!)  Outside the store there is a huge painting of the Virgen de Guadalupe.  So iconic and easy to spot.  Thankfully, there was parking behind the store – because parking can be a bit of a challenge in Austin!!!!  And they back into parking spaces there which is new to me…

Overwhelming display of Day of the Dead items at Tesoros in Austin, Texas!

Overwhelming display of Day of the Dead items at Tesoros in Austin, Texas!

The Tesoros website states that they are a retailer and wholesale distributor of folk arts and crafts and traditional items from over 20 different countries.  They definitely had a large supply of items from Mexico!  I naturally gravitated toward the Day of the Dead items and couldn’t believe the selection and variety.  There was a section on Frida Kahlo and I kept coming back to the Frida Retablo.  I knew I would come home with that one at least.

The Frida Kahlo display at Tesoros in Austin, Texas

The Frida Kahlo display at Tesoros in Austin, Texas

Next I found the Mexican tin ornaments.  I have picked up tin ornaments over the years and they are heavily featured on my Mexican Christmas tree at home each year.  I ended up picking up quite a few – putting them all out on the floor to see which ones I really wanted.  That’s when one of the sales people brought me a basket.  I knew I was in trouble now…

Mexican tin Christmas ornaments...this was just side one!

Mexican tin Christmas ornaments…this was just side one!

I walked around the back of the display and there were more ornaments including the Loteria (lottery) ornaments and quite a few hearts – some plain tin, some painted red and others with mirrors.  I could have bought them all…but I needed to be mindful of getting everything back on the plane!  One of the funniest items I found was the Michael Jackson sugar skull complete with silver glove!  I really should have bought one…

Michael Jackson Day of the Dead ornament! I wish I had bought it now...

Michael Jackson Day of the Dead ornament! I wish I had bought it now…

The last item I bought at Tesoros was a vinyl table-cloth/oil cloth.  I know that sounds boring but these tablecloths are so colorful and really create a traditional Mexican scene when you are setting a Mexican table.  I kept picturing my Fiesta dishes on the tablecloth.  They had so many colors and designs, it was hard to decide but I’m typically drawn to turquoise so that’s the one I got.

Here is a slideshow of some of the items I brought back…I think I’m going to need a bigger Mexican Christmas tree this year!  Oh…and I photographed them on a thrift store Mexican blanket I found for $5…

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