Fun & fantastic 50s Christmas tree decorations
One home might have an ultra-feminine bathroom, complete with pink sinks, pink tiles and even pink toilet paper — while the house next door is all sleek and shiny, emulating what we’ve come to call mid century modern.
And, of course, these aesthetics extended to Christmas decorating preferences as well, including Christmas trees, and how they were styled.
As you can see in this collection of 1950s Christmas tree decorations (and the trees they embellished), some families stuck with old-fashioned holiday traditions, cutting down or purchasing a live tree to display, conventionally, with (or without) strings of electric lights, tinsel, garland, ribbons and ornaments.
But the popularity of artificial trees became more widespread in the 50s, and they didn’t necessarily care to make them look lifelike.
From flocking and outright painting their trees in decidedly unrealistic colors (like pink!) to the dawn of the aluminum Christmas tree trend, which would come to dominate the entire 60s — 1950s merry-makers got very creative with Christmas tree decorations.
And we especially love how they seemed to favor decorating their Christmas trees with a unifying theme. The results are stunning, and would still look lovely gracing a home today.
We’ve rounded up more than 30 dramatically different examples of 1950s Christmas tree decorations — come be inspired by these lavishly decorated Christmas trees! -BB
Indoor & outdoor Christmas trees from the fifties
Christmas tree filled with small ornaments and faux flowers (1950)
A pale pink tree with whimsical ornaments
With picnic spoons and cups, embroidery hoops, clothespins, and glow-papers, Katharine Dukes McAvoy designed Christmas tree decorations of dazzling brilliance for the Mansel Hopkins’ lofty, shell-pink tree.
MORE: Have a crafty Christmas! Retro holiday decor you can make with ideas from the ’60s
Simple, retro Christmas tree decorations, including gold and yellow ornaments
A unique tree with homemade Christmas tree decorations
One-of-a-kind Christmas tree ornaments that are both dazzlingly beautiful and distinctly your own are made from such unglamorous bric-a-brac as yarn, rope, embroidery hoops, castoff jewelry, and bathroom tank floats.
Designed by Katharine Dukes McAvoy, she’s made them sparkle with paste, paints, and artistry.
YOU MIGHT LIKE: Cute vintage Christmas decorations made with everyday items (1966)
Creative paper ornaments on this old tree
Multicolor paper ornaments give an artificial tree a gay, lighthearted look. Several shapes in an assortment of sizes are scaled to fit the branches.
Designer Gladys Herndon gives directions for making the cube, the ball, and the three-, four-, and seven-sided pyramids shown. All can be adapted to other occasions.
ALSO SEE: How to make old-fashioned paper Christmas ornaments that are easy & inexpensive
Colorful 1950s Christmas tree decorations
Trim a tree with trifles (1956)
The tree shown here is literally bedecked in household odds and ends, its ornaments happily homespun from such trifles as hairpins. toothpicks, cotton, sequins and thread, along with gelatin dessert, aluminum foil, plastic wrap, colored tissue paper and assorted candies.
Even if all the makings were bought just for this purpose, the cost of ornaments for a six-foot tree would come to less than $5, not including the lights.
Festively decorate your tree with Christmas cards
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A pink candy Christmas tree from the 1950s
DON’T MISS THIS: A collection of classic Christmas cookies from the ’50s
Bright lighted old 1950s Christmas tree decorations
A tree decorated with dozens of white doves of peace
Old-fashioned Christmas tree lights and tinsel
Sparse and artistic retro 50s Christmas tree
Edward Axman and Walter Sorenson actually built this graceful tree for the William Keuhnaman home. It was seen in Racine, Wisconsin, during the Plymouth Congregational Church “Christmas Caravan.”
They clipped and reshaped a large pine bough, fixed it in a wooden bucket, then sprayed both with flat white paint.
ALSO SEE: How did people decorate Christmas trees in the 70s? See 55 different ways
Decorating the Christmas tree in 1951
Toys and dolls become cute 50s Christmas tree decorations
A tree covered in mini cocktail umbrellas and fans
You could create a similar effect with party drink umbrellas and miniature fans like these!
A formal living room with an elegant tree
MORE CHARM: 100 vintage Christmas scenes so sweet and old-fashioned, you’ll wish you had a time machine
A beautiful white flocked Christmas tree
The generously flocked tree will always be a favorite at Christmas. This one, seen in the Stephen Coney home during the Oakland, California, “Peninsula Christmas Tour,” is decorated with “fruits” made of ribbon-wrapped plastic-foam balls and old light bulbs. The leaves are gilded buckram decorated with sequins.
ALSO SEE: Ribbony Christmas crafts that you can make for your home (1963)
A traditional 1950s tree with red bows
For an old-fashioned Christmas in a lace-curtain setting, decorate a stately tree with traditional charm.
This one is done with red ribbons, popcorn strings, and a gala parade of dolls. Even the trunk is wrapped in ribbon. Let popcorn stand 24 hours before stringing
Huge vintage 1950s outdoor Christmas tree
Half wall-mounted Christmas tree (1957)
SEE MORE: These 26 Christmas wall decorations from the 1950s have a bold mid century modern vibe
A white vintage Christmas tree with golden bell ornaments
9 vintage 1950s Christmas tree decoration ideas
MORE: 25 ideas for Christmas door decorations from the 1950s: Be inspired by doors of yore!