I just ran across these garlands and crystal ornaments at Jamali Home. Aren't they yummy? And then the thought crossed my mind... Christmas decorations would be a great use for all those crystals you find at antique malls and flea markets. (I'm sure that's what the Jamali guys were going for). I'm absolutely certain I'm not the first person to think of this, but I still love the idea.
As many of you know, I have a real fascination with giving old (seemingly useless) things new life. I don't think we need to throw something out just because it doesn't work the way we think it should at first. So pull out that fixture you inherited from your great aunt that's missing half its crystals. Pull of what's left and hang them on your tree.
Or just buy some at a flea market or off of eBay (like this lot), and tell everyone they came from the Charleston estate of your dowager great-aunt who was on her uppers at the end of her life and couldn't afford to fix her fixtures... and these crystals are what's left.
Either way, they will have more character than the "made in Japan splendors" found at the local big box retailer. (reference: Truman Capote's A Christmas Memory... a classic and my favorite Christmas story. Read it.)