To say that there are plenty of Christmas decorating ideas to choose from would be an understatement to the extreme — but if you’re a diehard fan of the holiday season, you know that too much inspiration is never enough. And though Instagram and Pinterest are full of the latest and greatest decor trends, sometimes, the best place to find your next idea is the past — which is why The Zoe Report has rounded up the images of vintage Christmas decor, ahead.
A fair warning, though — these decorations aren’t for the faint of heart. Throughout the middle of the 20th century, Christmas trees and all the classic trimmings weren’t exactly subtle (though they did start to pare back a bit somewhat in the ’70s). Rather, it was typically about the glitz and glam, and involved lots — and LOTS — of tinsel.
That said, even if you love every vintage scene pictured, you don’t have to copy them item for item; a few select pieces from each will help you get the vibe just as easily — and maybe a little more subtly, too. Below, seven of TZR’s favorite Christmas decorating ideas from the past, and a few items you can shop to get the look yourself.
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Vintage Christmas Decor, Circa 1955
Though the large display of Christmas cards is certainly a highlight here, it’s the skinny red felt stockings that make this decor feel inherently ’50s (that, and the fabulous red outfit Jane Wyman is wearing in front).
Vintage Christmas Decor, Circa 1958
Scandinavian design grew to popularity in the 1950s, apparently in Christmas decor as well, as this photo proves with its Swedish Christmas apple tree mixed in with pieces featuring equally clean lines as well as some classic mid-century starburst motifs.
Vintage Christmas Decor, Circa 1959
With aluminum Christmas trees gaining popularity in the late ’50s, people often opted to decorate their trees with tons of silver tinsel to recreate the effect (though the decoration was certainly popular before that as well). It’s an easy trick you can try today to add some glam to your own — as demonstrated in this photo, the effect is timeless.
Vintage Christmas Decor, Circa 1960
This Christmas Eve table setting, featured in Vogue in 1960, was a lavish scene including an appliquéd white linen cloth and napkins, Florentine candlesticks, and other pieces like tulip goblets from Tiffany.
Vintage Christmas Decor, Circa 1968
The tinsel Christmas tree decor spanned the mid-century, though here, it was accessorized with plenty of colorful garland and ultra-shiny ornaments to amplify the effect. A simple gold tree topper finishes the look here, giving it a mod vibe that was also popular during the ’60s.
Vintage Christmas Decor, Circa 1975
And the tinsel trend continued still, though this time, just slightly more subdued — and looking quite a bit groovier, thanks to the shag carpet it’s paired with.
Vintage Christmas Decor, Circa 1979
With a more natural Christmas tree back in style in the ’70s, it seems some other less glitzy decor came right along with it. Sitting on top of this *very* busy carpet is a mantle flanked with poinsettias, a simple wreath, and a fruity garland — a stark departure from the often high shine of the ’60s.