Thursday, December 5, 2013

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like A Vintage Christmas!

Ah yes, it's that time of year again where the weather is frosty cold, the fireplaces are going, harvest foods are being made, and the mad, elbow 'em in the chest, dash in the department store game is underway as the calendar days wind down on any and all Christmas prep.

I have some friends who were telling me that they planned on having a vintage Christmas this year and even though I knew what they meant in the metaphorical sense, it dawned on me that I started to wonder just exactly what Christmas was like during the mid century period.

What most people may not realize is that many traditions we have today actually originated in the 40's and 50's as the country and its economic standing were beginning to vastly change due to the war and many other aspects that were affected by the economy. Prior to the 1940's, America was once reliant upon Germany for its ornaments, toys, and even its Christmas customs, however, America became self-sufficient in the post-War years with ornaments and toys being manufactured in the US which were considerably less expensive than their German counterparts. The mid century era saw the production and manufacture of toys that have become classics such as Candy Land, Mr. Potato Head, and Barbie.


With the rise of the advertising era, you saw many foods, products, and gift ideas being pushed by many celebrities popular at the time.

Of course the biggest part of Christmas, aside from presents and food, is trimming the tree. In the 30's and 40's, it was especially popular to have a train set running around the base of a real tree, which symbolized the comings and goings of people during that time of year.  However, in 1950, the Addis Brush Company created and patented an aluminum tree, the Silver Pine, that came with a floodlight and a rotating color wheel.  The futuristic, Space Age look of the trees made them especially suited to the streamlined home decor of the period. Sales of aluminum trees declined after being treated satirically in the 1965 animated Christmas television special, "A Charlie Brown Christmas".


And speaking of Charlie Brown, many classic Television programs such as Rudolph, Frosty, The Grinch, and Merry Christmas Charlie Brown also made their grand debuts during the mid century and became family staples that have been continuously aired over the last fifty plus years making them every part of Christmas as decorating the tree or wrapping presents.

There were also several food traditions that stemmed from this era including cooking cutting and decorating which reached its zenith during the boomer years with cutouts of reindeer, trees, stars that became the easy neighbor gift by throwing them into Tupperware containers and taking them to parties or to the family next door. A snack hit of the 1955 holiday season was Chex Party Mix and that same year also saw the culinary debut of Green Bean Casserole.

Of course it wouldn't be a vintage christmas without all of those great Coca Cola Santa ads too!

oh.....and fruit cake.....(ick!)

Lastly, nothing is more traditional during Christmas then listening to Bing Crosby sing White Christmas along with Ol' Blue Eyes and the Andrew Sisters to chime in with those classic songs that help make the holiday truly special!

How will you be celebrating your vintage style Christmas?

Happy Holidays!


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