Who’s ready to put up the tree and start playing Christmas music? My house is fully decked out for a mid-century modern Christmas.
From the aluminum tree to the felt stockings and tinsel wreath, here’s everything you need to decorate for a very mid-century Christmas.
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The Tree: Aluminum With a Color Wheel
First, I need to ask you a controversial question: do you prefer a real or artificial tree? As a child, I insisted on a real tree every year, no exceptions.
Then I moved out and had to deal with the pine tree hassle myself. Hard pass.
I love how easy it is to retrieve my lightweight artificial tree from storage and pop it together in minutes. No sap, no spiders, and it’s perfectly symmetrical year after year.
Video: Watch how easy it is to assemble an aluminum tree
Plus, if you’re an early decorator it’s a simple decision. It has to be artificial if it’s going to last until New Year’s. Luckily the aluminum tree is basically a requirement for a mid-century modern Christmas.
I found my tree on eBay. You might want to check there or your local antique shop to find a vintage one. And if that doesn’t work, try one of these new aluminum or tinsel tree options.
Find Your Mid-Century Modern Christmas Tree
How to Decorate Your Aluminum Christmas Tree
When you first make the switch from pine to aluminum, you might wonder how in the world to decorate this tree. It doesn’t hold lights in any attractive sort of way.
The sparse, modern shape calls for a simpler decorating style than that of the pine tree.
What to do? Start with a color wheel. This will turn your tree from silver and bare into a 1960s rainbow dream.
From there, you can add one or two ornaments per branch. It helps to use wire hooks, so you can hang them at different points along each branch.
Some years I stick to a color scheme, like red and green or wintery blue. Other years I go for the full color spectrum, like with these candy-colored Shiny Brite ornaments.
Read More: Decorating the tree with Shiny Brites
Spend a fun day searching your local antique shops, or get the basic tree decorations online. Look for a color wheel, retro ornaments and a mid-century modern tree skirt.
Pick up a retro Christmas tree skirt, or go the DIY route. This felt tree skirt is easy to make with a sew or no-sew option.
Read More: How to make a felt tree skirt with Sputniks
The Stockings: Retro Felt and Lit Up
The stockings represent drama, anticipation, and a little mischief if you’re doing them right. Start hiding treats in the stockings before the big day, and include some surprises from Santa.
Sometimes I also like to give coal candy to whichever family member has wronged me the worst that year.
Felt fabric will give you instant mid-century stocking style, and you can turn it into a family project. Let everyone customize their stocking with the Christmas stencils in this easy DIY Christmas stocking tutorial.
Once your stockings are ready, evenly space them out on the mantle or banister. Write or print a name tag for each stocking and tie them together with a pretty curled ribbon.
Read More: How to make retro felt Christmas stockings
Complete the look with a string of lights and garland—anything from retro popcorn to classic pine to shiny tinsel. If there’s no outlet nearby, a battery-powered string light is your friend.
And it’s not really a mid-century Christmas unless you stuff those stockings with some of Grandma’s old-fashioned hard candy.
The Front Door: Adorned With a Tinsel Wreath
I wasn’t sure what kinds of wreaths were common in the 1960s, so I turned to an expert: my mother-in-law. She said many people had the timeless holly berry wreaths, as well as rag tie wreaths.
She also mentioned computer punch card wreaths. (Apparently computer punch cards existed.)
Related: How to make a Sputnik card wreath
Back in the ‘60s, my father-in-law had leftover punch cards piling up from his college classes. And people all across the country were dealing with this surplus of punch cards, so a trend was born.
They folded the cards and attached them to a wreath form in a circle pattern like this. A little bit of red spray paint turned a few dozen punch cards into a giant poinsettia for the door.
But I don’t have any punch cards, so I opted for a mod tinsel wreath to match my tree.
Read More: How to make a DIY tinsel wreath
This is a quick and easy wreath to make. Pick up several packs of tinsel garland, glue it around a wreath form, and tie up your wreath with a festive ribbon.
Or pick up a festive ornament wreath.
More Mid-Century Christmas Decor
You might want to add a few more accessories. Bubble lights would look magical nestled in garland on the mantle.
Add a ceramic Christmas tree to a side table and spruce up your throw pillows with retro covers. Even your desk or coffee table can be festive with a tiny 4-inch tree!
Mid-Century Modern Christmas
Find more decorating ideas for a very mid-century Christmas with vintage style ornaments, a retro tree skirt and a mod “pinkmas” celebration.
- All about Shiny Brite ornaments
- Make a retro felt tree skirt (Sputnik stencils included)
- Create a mid-century Christmas village…in pink!
7 thoughts on “Everything You Need for a Mid-Century Modern Christmas”
Love the pic of Charlie with the tree. Coolest cat in the west. Also, that tinsel wreath is awesome.
Thanks! The tinsel wreath was fun and easy to make.
Tara ..you have got it down to a T for decorating mid century! Growing up we had an aluminum tree with pink balls. Prenty and I made the computer punch card wreath with all those computer punch cards..I think we may have made one for his brothers family also..it was sooo long ago. lol. We were thrilled when we stopped in Sacramento old town on our way home from Oregon 2 years ago. They have this wonderful Christmas store with every kind of Christmas thing you could imagine or want. (Talk about whimsy!!) We found the bubble lites like we had when our boys were young..we had to get them and now this is the 3rd year we are enjoying them! Your mid century Christmas is totally like stepping back into the 60’s! (Also love charlie with the tree!)
Thanks for all the expert advice! 🙂
Also loving Jane with the stockings..too cute!!
where is your tree from?
I got it on eBay. They are usually available on eBay if you search for aluminum Christmas trees. There are also newer aluminum or tinsel trees on Amazon. Hope that helps!