I love the holidays as it’s a chance to do lots of fun things, decorate your house and spend time with those you love. Of course, it should come to no shock at all, but I love putting a vintage flare onto most holidays, but what do you do if you want a true vintage Christmas? Have no fear, I’ve come up with lots of fun ways to incorporate some vintage fun into your holiday season and some modern compromises.
Aluminium Christmas Tree
Originally sold by Modern Coatings, Inc. of Chicago since 1955, the aluminium Christmas tree became an iconic symbol of the 1950s Christmas. String lights were not necessary with these trees as a rotating disc of colours and spotlight aimed at the tree were enough to light up the tree, it also helped that the silver branches were so reflective. It’s interesting to note that the end in the aluminium tree trend is credited to the 1965 premier of ‘A Charlie Brown Christmas’ which references a small green tree and making green Christmas trees popular.
Finding a true vintage aluminium tree is difficult, not to mention expensive, but you can always substitute a normal silver tree (like this one). If you want a more sparce/vintage look, you can use a decent pair of wire cutters to prune back the branches. To replace the spotlight, lazer lights are easily found and change colours to give you that vintage feel.
How to decorate your Tree
-Baubles; stick with those made from glass and styrofoam. Feel free to add fun ornaments but it wasn’t traditional to include pop culture ornaments until later in the 60s/70s. In saying this, feel free to make your tree as personal as you wish; for example, my tree is full of Disney ornaments because it makes me happy so do whatever you want in terms of decorating.
Popcorn Garland: a super cheap and easy activity to put you in the festive spirit. Make a whole bunch of popcorm, grab a needle and thread and start threading yourself a garland. For my tree it took almost a full cup of popcorn kernals and several hours. Put on a Christmas movie and have some fun! If you can find them easily, feel free to add cranberries (or red beads) every couple of corn kernals to add a little bit of red to the garland. As cranberries cannot easily be found in Australia, I didn’t add them and totally forgot to get red beads so I just went plain but still love it.
Tinsel: to add an instant vintage feel, gra a whole bunch of angle hair tinsel and throw it at your tree. You can add as much or as little as you like! This is the only chance to literally throw something at your tree and make it look super cute! Have fun.
Spray on Snow: such a popular trend in the 50s and is still easily available today. Add spray snow to the ends of your tree or around your windows. This adds a lovely frosted and cosy feel to your home and a little bit of fun. Note: keep away from car paint!
All aboard the Christmas spirit! By adding on of these super fun and festive additions to your home, it’ll instantly transport you to a vintage Christmas. Tree trains are easily found online or instores and there are designs to suit all sorts of budgets as well as sizes. I used to have one of these as a kid and loved it; i think it even blew smoke!
Please keep in mind that some pets may find the train noisy and stressful so if your fury friend is in distress, don’t leave the train on.
Bubble Lights originally were designed and sold by Noma and were very popular during the 50’s. Most strands came in a group of 6 or 9 and included a plastic bulb with a candle like cylinder filled with coloured water ontop; when the light was switched on, the heat would cause the water to bubble giving the name ‘bubble lights’. Although true vintage ones are a bit difficult to find, I found a bunch on Amazon which work (as long as they are suited to your countries electic currents so I had to buy a transformer).
They look super cute and add a little bit of festive fun to your tree. Love these little guys!
Listening to the Radio
The radio isn’t as central to a home as it used to be with many of us watching whatever we want via streaming services on a multitude of devices. In the 50’s, it was really common to listen to the radio and enjoy the audio-dramas that were cast as well as stories and articles. Although the radio very rarely plays day time dramas anymore, you can still relive this tradition by listening to a festive audio book or perhaps just your favourite story. Personally, I listen to the Harry Potter audiobooks quite a lot so that’s one that I would recommend, listening to Stephen Fry ready Molly Weasley’s line just gives me life!
I’m sure we’ve all seen some pretty horrific looking jelly mould recipes and photos but the trend started in the 1950’s due to the refrigerator becoming a status symbol. Refrigerators were very expensive and required to be on constantly making them a very big luxury. As we all know, when making jelly/jell-o, you need to set it in a fridge so by bringing a jelly mould to a part or serving it at your home, showed that you were rich enough to afford such a luxury. Of course, this also meant that there was a whole bunch of very questionable recipes to choose from and some of which, should have never seen the light of day.
If you’d like to hear some of the recipes I found in a 1947 cook book, see the above video.
Writing Christmas Cards
This is one trend I am very sad to see disappear; although technology has made communication cheaper and easier than ever, there is really something special about receiving a card or letter in the mail. If you have time, sit down over a cup of tea and pen out a nice long Christmas letter to your friends and family, you may find it therapeutic.