Our 1970s tree

We finally got the Christmas tree today and I couldn’t wait to get out all our vintage 1950s decorations. I love glass baubles with their bright colours, indentations and cosmic shapes.

I have this silly thing about it being the mans job to go and choose the tree and bring it back…the whole hunter gatherer thing I suppose! Well Mr YVL and our son Herbie went out and brought it back this year…it was very cute!

The children couldn’t wait for the decorations to come out either. They dived into the box all excited and my stress levels hit the roof. They grabbed my original 50s paper garlands and started pulling them tug of war style. They then found the baubles and at this point I started having heart palpitations!

So the 1950s decorations have been put away for now. We have covered the tree in slightly less precious 1970s decorations with some 50s unbreakable ones in between.

Panic over. The tree goes well with our retro lounge. I will hang the 50s glass ones from the chandeliers tomorrow!

For more vintage Christmas decoration advice and ideas see our blog: Deck the halls which is our article from this months Vintage Life magazine.

Here are some of my favourites hung on the tree today.

Herbies handmade decoration

An early plastic rabbit bell

Our 1950s fairy on the top of the tree


Deck the halls!

Gosh is it really nearly Christmas? Well, the festive issue of Vintage Life magazine has arrived with our latest article in.

For some ideas on how to decorate your home this Christmas, here is “Deck the halls“.

A vintage Christmas calls for vintage decorations. Add hand made touches with family tradition, to make it all the more special.

In the 1950s the tree was real with delicate glass baubles hanging next to candy, ribbons and candles. The 1960s brought a love affair with artificial trees, especially silver ones covered in cosmic shaped baubles. The 1970s look was anything goes…pile it all on..never mind if you can’t even see the tree!

Whatever your style, here are some ideas to recreate these looks, with a few of our own personal touches added. Why not go back to your own family traditional look or maybe start making your own traditions for your grandchildren to enjoy in years to come.

The Vintage Look

Keep precious glass baubles away from little fingers by hanging them from your vintage lights. They will look beautiful above the dinner table, catching the light as they move. Hang perfectly with clear fish wire or go for the craft look with silver ribbon.

Set the table with vintage crystal to create a sparkling Christmas dinner. A bowl of matching vintage baubles makes the perfect centre piece. Scatter crystal charms all over, add silver, candles and cake tazzas to finish the look.

Don’t forget to add the finishing touches with vintage silver napkin rings and crisp white linen. Everyone in our family had their own individual hand-picked silver napkin ring replacing the need for place names. This eclectic look will add character to your table.

Surprise the postman with bright paper garlands and bells adorning your hallway. Why not make your own by simply sewing a running stitch through lengths of coloured crepe paper.

Hand made touches

Create a soft, pretty effect by adding flowers to the tree. Silk cream and pink roses dipped in silver glitter will shimmer behind your vintage baubles.

Make your own crackers with personalised gifts inside. Or add sparkly vintage jewels to the outside to complement your table setting. Think brooches for the girls, cuff links for the boys. Maybe wrap the outside of the cracker in vintage wallpaper or fabric for a clashing patterned look.

Hand picked holly with red berries make an easy-to-make centre piece. Display in a vintage vase or jug and sit on a mantelpiece. Hang cards from vintage pegs on brown string to finish the look.

Create your new traditions.

Celebrate your childhood with your own children by displaying handmade treasures collected over the years. My handmade pink fairy from the 1970s sits alongside my children’s recent masterpieces to create that 70s eclectic look.

How many of you remember the Blue Peter coat hanger decoration made in the late 70s? This one is still going strong and greets all visitors young and old.

My grandma lovingly wrapped small gifts and hang them on the tree. Each present had a riddle describing the person the gift was for…we sat around guessing, appreciating the time and love that had been put into it. Year after year my riddle was: Who married Henry 3 times? Katherine of course!

Have yourself a Merry Vintage Christmas!

We know, we know.. it’s still November but here at Your Vintage Life we can’t wait ’till Christmas. We wanted to share our latest article for Vintage Life Nostalgia magazine to start to get you in the festive spirit….(and remember we have great pressies available on the site!)

Have yourself a Merry Vintage Christmas…

…by adorning your home with 1950s decorations, throwing a vintage Christmas Eve party and creating a traditional Christmas Day!

Christmas in years gone by, was more about family than today’s commercialism. Mother saved all year in saving schemes to ensure everyone could come together with peace and happiness. And every year was the same.

The dusty box of decorations came out of the loft to reveal a blast of colour, with glass baubles and strings of garlands. The tree was covered in balls and icicles reminiscent of the atomic shapes that were appearing on fabrics. The balls had indentations with crushed insides, stripes like the rings of Saturn and cigar shaped icicles which brought a modern feel. The tree was real, as artificial tinsel trees were not the fashion until the 1960s. Cards, candles, wired tinsel and coloured lights were thrown on top creating a haphazard, joyful vision. Under the tree amongst the presents, was a pile of pine needles mixed with broken glass; bauble casualties occurred on a daily basis! It wasn’t until the 1970s that plastic, durable baubles became the norm. A Barbie influenced fairy sat on the top with canary yellow hair and an organza skirt.

Multi coloured paper garlands zigzagged across ceilings with folded out paper bells hanging from the centre. Making paper chains was a family event with everyone participating. Strips of coloured crepe paper were stuck together with a running stitch sewn down the middle to create a twisted rainbow effect. There was one rule: the more the better!

The house was decorated often as late as Christmas Eve. Due to lack of transport, families spent the evening walking from house to house delivering cards and presents. This was party time when parents had a festive drink and children stayed up late, drinking lemonade. The drinks cabinet was stocked up and party snacks were laid out: men drank sherry, ladies drank Gin, Cherry Brandy or cocktails with a glace cherry on top. These were always served in the best glasses: frosted shot glasses for sherry (the schooner didn’t really take off until the 1960s) and branded champagne flutes for your Cherry B, Snowball or Babycham. Bar accessories were on display with fruit ice buckets, soda syphons and glass cocktail shakers.

Candy coloured “Little Forks” were used for nibbles. Meat was the main party food: cocktail sausages, tinned ham and scotch eggs were the favourites. The centre piece on the table was a hedgehog; a potato wrapped in foil with cheese and pineapple chunks on cocktail sticks sticking out. Entertainment came in the form of a sing-a-long and flicking through last year’s Christmas card scrapbook. Everyone enjoyed themselves but was always home before midnight….before Santa arrived!

Christmas morning, children woke up to a pillow case full of toys. A must was the year’s annual laid on top, perfect for excited eyes to read while waiting for parents to wake after the festivities of the night before.

As it is today, the dinner was the main event. The table was set, using only the best china which hadn’t been used since Easter. Candles were lit in the traditional central Christmas log. This was homemade; father would find a log, drill a hole in the middle and place candles in it.

He would stand at the head of the table carving the turkey on a huge ceramic platter. Seasonal vegetables were served in matching tureens. Mother added Bicarbonate of Soda to the sprouts to keep them green…everything had to be just so. Homemade crackers were pulled. Beer was drunk as wine didn’t become popular until the 1970s. Everyone dressed up in their best clothes. The meal ended with a Christmas pudding which had been made in November. All the family stirred the mixture in large mixing bowls, made a wish and hoped they would get the lucky sixpence.

After dinner, the family gathered around the wireless to listen to the Queen’s speech. Instead of flaking out on the sofa, everyone played board games. Pin the tail on the donkey, Lotto and the Christmas jigsaw were favourites. Cards were also played, using buttons for money when bets were placed.

Eventually, after turkey salad, cake and a glass of port at the table, the day drew to a close.

All this can be created today. Learn from the ghost of Christmas past and create a simpler festivity, holding family values high and celebrating a fun, bright look. Keep your eyes peeled all year for vintage decorations and pile them high on the tree. Dress your 1950s cocktail bar, make some old fashioned cocktails and invite people over on Christmas Eve. Wear your favourite vintage clothes. And turn off the television, play games and have a sing-a-long with the people you love!

Merry Christmas!