Brampton family appeals for return of much loved vintage Christmas ornaments

A Brampton family is hoping for a Christmas miracle.

Anneliese Wiesener says her father accidentally donated several boxes of vintage Christmas ornaments to Value Village in Brampton on the weekend and she is hoping that anyone who bought the treasured ornaments will return them. 

The coloured glass ornaments have much sentimental value.

"We are desperately, desperately hoping to get these ornaments back," Wiesener said on Monday.

"They hold a lot of cherished memories. They are quite old, and more than the value themselves, they hold so many memories for us. This means a lot to our family. It's very sad. They are keepsakes to us."

Wiesener says she had persuaded her father to replace an artificial Christmas tree that the family had for about 50 years. When he donated it to a Value Village store at Bovaird Drive and Airport Road on Saturday, he didn't realize that the vintage ornaments were packed in the box with the tree. There were 25 to 30 boxes of ornaments in the box. 

The ornaments, which are from Germany, date back decades. Wiesener described them as "old world" ornaments. Value Village is believed to have put them on the shelf on Sunday to Wednesday last week.

Natalie Nanowski/CBC

Once the family realized what had happened, members immediately contacted Value Village, went to the store and were able to recover a few boxes. Many had been sold.

Family 'devastated' at loss of vintage ornaments

Wiesener herself found a woman who had three boxes in her cart. The woman gladly gave them up. In total, the family has been able to recover five to six boxes, and all is not lost.

She said the family is "devastated," especially her father.

"It was so hard to see him standing in the middle of Value Village with just this look of grief etched on his face. It just broke my heart. My heart was breaking in pieces."

Wiesener said she is willing to compensate buyers for the ornaments.

"I am hoping with the generosity of Christmas that we get a Christmas miracle out of this," she said.

Natalie Nanowski/CBC

Some of the ornaments are hollowed out in the middle. Some are in the shape of tear drops. Others are of birds with feathers. Still others have glitter on them.

As for Value Village, a representative for the store says it is trying to help the Wiesener family find the ornaments.

"When customers contact our stores about an accidental donation made to one of our non-profit partners, our protocol is to take the necessary steps to help locate those items to the best of our ability and return them to their rightful owner," Sara Gaugl, director of communications for Value Village, said in an email to CBC Toronto on Monday.

"Our team at the Bovaird Drive and Airport Road store in Brampton has been diligently searching for the remaining boxes of heirloom ornaments recently dropped off by a customer on accident. Our hope is to return as many ornaments as possible given they are of great sentimental value to her family."

The family has left its contact information with the store where the donation was made and Wiesener said she is hoping that people will come forward.

"They have been with the family ever since I was a little girl growing up."