Thursday, November 8, 2012

Mid-Century Christmas: Retro Memories

A Very Merry Retro Christmas 

A Schwinn for Christmas - can we say awesome!!! #vintage #Christmas #bike #bicycle #adsThe Mid-Century look is everywhere, in current clothing styles, home furnishings, kitchenwares and more.  Retailers are re-mixing designs, patterns and palettes from the Postwar period offering buyers a fresh interpretation of the Atomic era. But can stores really capture the nostalgia of the the 1950s.

Baby Boomers Remember1950s Christmas  

Baby boomers have clear memories of what it was like growing up in the 1950s. Thanks to sites like Pinterest,com you can capture those times in images from old magazine advertisements, vintage photographs, newspaper clippings,  store catalogs and books.

1950's Atomic Ranch House: Vintage Mid-Century 1950's Christmas Decorations! Saving Christmas Memories

I poked around this morning and put terms such as "Vintage Christmas", "Retro Christmas", "Christmas ads" in the search bar. Thanks to the wonderful gals and guys on Pinterest, I put together this post with shared images.

Enjoy a journey back to the 1950s during Christmas.

Christmas with Jayne Mansfield, 1950s.I wondered what a Mid Century Christmas might look like?  So I did some homework to offer you a glimpse of the styles and pictures that were indeed part of the holidays in the 1950s. 

A little vintage goodness to brighten your day! I love these posters for Nesbitt's Orange Soda from the early 1950s. Looks like pure sunshine in a bottle, doesn't it? The first one makes me wish I could have a white Christmas, just once... Oh, to be all snuggled up in my mittens drinking eggnog - so romantic! But I can bet it will be a touch more like the second picture... Australian summer!We colored pictures in Christmas coloring books, now our kids draw on iPads and other devices.

Women were housewives who stayed home and served coffee and home baked cake and cookies in their kitchens.(I'm not sure if that is a good or bad memory). 

Plan59 :: Retro Vintage 1950s Christmas Ads and Holiday Art :: Universal Coffeematic, 1959It was a very different time before the digital age, children played with Tinker toys and Tiny Tears dolls.

The fantastic, timeless joy of Christmas as viewed through a child's eyes. #vintage #nostalgia #child #Christmas #Santa #1950s #TVFamilies watched T.V. together as a family. Now we text at each other in the living room. Remember Ed Sullivan on Sunday evenings? 

Ed brought us new talent, now Simon Cowell is our source for an evening of 
song and dance.

Leave It To Beaver, Lassie and of course
I Love Lucy were our favorites.      

Plan59 :: Retro Vintage 1950s Christmas Ads and Holiday Art ...Homemakers sent out beautiful Christmas and holiday cards. Now families send out fancy animated  E Cards.  

Hallmark and Christmas went together
like candy canes and eggnog.The graphics were colorful, bold and saturated in primary colors of red, blue, yellow.   

retro-christmas-kittensChildren picked out toys from mail order catalogs that they wanted for the holidays. Now our kids travel to The Apple Store for the latest tech device. 

The techy among us played with chemistry sets, Lionel trains and Erector sets. Our generation predated Legos, but we were builders of Lincoln Logs and blocks.     
The 1950s were a magical time, when children were children and they  believed in an enchanted holiday. 

Vintage Christmas Card
A delightfully cute vintage Disney Mousketeers Christmas card. #vintage #Disney #Christmas #card #SantaI remember visiting sick children in the hospital  with my childhood friend Sharon. We made  a giant homemade Christmas holiday book. Remember trying to draw a Christmas tree. Trying to get the branches even?
1950s christmas cheervintage christmas ornamentsLove her festively hued outfit for a day of Christmas shopping. #vintage #fashion #1940s #Christmas #hatA charming three colour illustrated vintage ad for a "Jolly Skater" snowman Christmas decoration. #vintage #Christmas #snowman #illustration #retro #decor #decorationsI adored going to Woolworths with my mom or grandmother. I liked to look at the parakeets and bring home a cute pet toy for my poodle or more potholder loops. We usually stayed for lunch.   
Fabulously sweet Christmas image from 1945. #Christmas #vintage #photo #1940s #forties #girl #children #cat #kitten #cute #magazine

Going to Radio City Music Hall for the annual Christmas show was a special treat. Dad worked in the city and I spent many holidays going to shows and iconic department stores. 
allSuch a heartwarmingly sweet vintage Christmas illustration. #card #vintage #Christmas #SantaOh, for the days when mail carriers were cheerful, friendly, punctual folks who know you by name and always hand-delivered your packages. #Christmas #vintage #photo #1940s #forties #mailman #mail #wreath

I would love to hear what you remember about your 1950s Christmas holidays.  Please share your memories or comments.

C. Dianne Zweig is the author of Hot Kitchen &ome Collectibles of the 30s, 40s, 50s and Hot Cottage Collectibles for Vintage Style Homes. She is also the Editor of I Antique Online an actively growing internet based resource community for people who buy, sell or collect antiques, collectibles and art. You can find Dianne’s fabulous retro and vintage kitchen, home and cottage collectibles at The Collinsville Antiques Company of New Hartford, CT, a 22,000 feet antique emporium with an in-house retro café. To read more articles by C. Dianne Zweig click on this link: C. Dianne Zweig’s Blog Kitsch ‘n Stuff Email me at Visit my website, Dianne is a member of: The American Society of Journalists and Authors The Society of Professional Journalists


  1. I grew up in New Orleans, but my mother would often take me to New York for Christmas. We'd fly in a DC-3, and get dressed up just to fly. I remember Saks Fifth Avenue, Macy's, Gimball's, Rockefeller Center, and my most favorite place - The Automat! In those days we dressed to the nines just to go downtown, even at home in New Orleans. The department store windows were amazing works of art, and a real reason to plan an outing. Then we would go back home to my grandparents' farm in the countryside of New Jersey. It was a beautiful, small farm that looked like a postcard. It was filled with lovely antiques, and my grandmother was always in the kitchen preparing some heartwarming goodies for us. I long to live like that again. Thanks, Dianne for your exceptional happy post today. You certainly made my day!


  2. I'm very fortunate in that my mother did something unusual back then. She hired a photographer to come to the house in NJ each year around Christmas and take a family portrait. People always enjoy seeing them, so I'll share them with you. I hope this link works.

    I remember my Dad taking us into NYC for the Marine Square Club Christmas party. Santa always came and gave us a present. That was a big deal. We'd also go to the Automat for lunch. We always went to see Santa at one of the department stores in Hackensack or Newark. There was no mall back then.

    I always wanted snow for Christmas! I still do, but it's a rare happening here in Texas where I now live.

  3. What a fun post! Ah yes, I remember the 60's Christmases. I loved my Betsy Wetsy Doll, I still remember the smell of a new rubber doll, then I got a Chatty Kathy another year. I loved baking cookies with my mother and pumpkin and mincemeat pies. Later, Mother seemed to always stay up all night putting together doll houses, wagons, bicycles, doll strollers and I, being the oldest child, got to stay up and help her. Christmas Day, my parents both played with us with our new toys and games. Mother must have been exhausted from days of baking fancy breads and weeks of knitting mittens for gifts, and instead of cooking and entertaining we had simple meals of soup or TV dinners because we were busy just playing together, and sometimes went ice skating on the lake across the street, which doesn't seem to freeze up like it used to.
    Our grandparents came to visit with presents and we went on rides to see the Christmas lights on houses and made the rounds for visits to all our aunts and uncles over the holidays. Do people go visiting, or have company like that anymore?, where you sit in the parlor and talk, and show all your gifts, have punch and cookies, and the adults would have coffee and cake. I also remember Andy Williams, Lawrence Welk, and Charlie Brown Christmas specials. I never tire of Christmas music and the family gatherings during the holidays! The school programs were such fun,and at church we had the best choir's singing carols, cantadas, children's pageants, and stories of the Christ child's birth!