TBT: Christmas Back in the Day

Here's how to enjoy a throwback-inspired festive season

Mariah Carey in her video for All I Want for Christmas. Picture / Youtube.

1. Bake some retro sweets to get in the festive spirit, like these iced Betty Crocker cookies. You could also try a glass of old-fashioned eggnog or a truly traditional Christmas cake.

2. Give gifts that would have been on one's wishlist in earlier days – yoyos, Slinkys and View-Masters will bring a nostalgic touch to the occasion. For more mature guests, a terrible Christmas sweater, Santa-themed tie or sparkly tinsel earrings will conjure up the spirit of the 70s and 80s.

3. Think big when it comes to decor. Trees were much taller and wider in the earlier years of the 20th century, according to Have Yourself a Very Vintage Christmas by Susan Waggoner. To decorate, crepe paper streamers and hand-cast glass ornaments were the custom, and there was no need to stick to traditional colours - pastels and shades of blue were frequently used. For the table, try vintage embroidered linen and gold-trimmed glasses.

4. Play your favourite nostalgic Christmas carols – think Mariah, The Jackson 5 and John Lennon. Or, look back even further to such classics as Deck the Halls. Your loved ones won't protest.

5. Be sure to refer to Santa Claus as Father Christmas or St Nicholas (while acknowledging that these alternative names refer to two different characters who have merged into one in popular memory). And if you're dressing up as the jolly man, feel free to wear a green coat, as was sometimes seen in illustrations before the image of a friendly man in a red and white suit was popularised.

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New Zealand Herald

New Zealand Herald

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