OK, Thanksgiving is over. It’s time to put up the tree and start playing Christmas music now!
My house is fully decked out for a mid-century modern Christmas, and experts say decorating early makes people happy, so no judging.
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.
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.
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.
If you can’t find a Christmas tree skirt that you love, go the DIY route. This felt tree skirt is easy to make with a sew or no-sew option.
The Stockings: Retro Felt and Lit Up
The stockings might be the best part. They 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.
To get the mid-century stocking style, go for red felt. You can turn it into a family project. Sew a stocking for everyone, then give them embellishments, ribbons, felt shape cutouts and hot glue for guaranteed smiles.
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.
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.)
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.
This is a quick and easy wreath to make.
Pick up several packs of tinsel in the shade of your tree, heat up a glue gun and glue the tinsel around a wreath form, then tie it up with a contrasting ribbon.
You could also make a DIY Sputnik card wreath, or pick up a modern 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 and pink tree display