Here are 30 gorgeous Christmas tree decorations from the 1950s that are timeless & eclectic

Christmas tree decorations from the 1950s

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Fun & fantastic 50s Christmas tree decorations

The 1950s were an interesting era of transition. Cultural traditions from the last century still lingered, even as the decade slid into the futuristic atomic and space ages.

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.

Folded foil paper Christmas ornament crafts from the 1950s

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.

White Christmas tree in the 1950s

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

Indoor and outdoor Christmas trees from the fifties


Christmas tree filled with small ornaments and faux flowers (1950)

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

Vintage 1950s white Christmas tree (1)


Simple, retro Christmas tree decorations, including gold and yellow ornaments

1950s Christmas tree decorations (2)


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)

1950s Christmas tree decorations (3)


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

Vintage 1950s white Christmas tree (3)


Colorful 1950s Christmas tree decorations

1950s Christmas tree decorations (7)


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. 

Trim a tree with trifles (1956)


Festively decorate your tree with Christmas cards

ALSO SEE: Look back at 100+ mid-century retro Christmas cards from the ’50s & 60s

Decorating the Christmas tree with gifts in 1953


A pink candy Christmas tree from the 1950s

DON’T MISS THIS: A collection of classic Christmas cookies from the ’50s

A pink candy Christmas tree from the 1950s


Bright lighted old 1950s Christmas tree decorations

Bright lighted old 1950s Christmas tree decorations


A tree decorated with dozens of white doves of peace

1950s Christmas tree decorations (8)


Old-fashioned Christmas tree lights and tinsel

Old 1956 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.

Sparce and artistic retro 50s Christmas tree

ALSO SEE: How did people decorate Christmas trees in the 70s? See 55 different ways


Decorating the Christmas tree in 1951

Decorating the Christmas tree in 1951


Toys and dolls become cute 50s Christmas tree decorations

1950s Christmas tree decorations (5)


A tree covered in mini cocktail umbrellas and fans

You could create a similar effect with party drink umbrellas and miniature fans like these!

1950s Christmas tree decorations (6)


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

1950s Christmas tree decorations (9)


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)

Vintage 1950s white Christmas tree (2)


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

1950s Christmas tree decorations (4)


Huge vintage 1950s outdoor Christmas tree

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

Half wall-mounted Christmas tree (1957)


A white vintage Christmas tree with golden bell ornaments

Vintage 1950s white Christmas tree (4)


9 vintage 1950s Christmas tree decoration ideas

9 vintage 1950s Christmas tree decoration ideas

MORE: 25 ideas for Christmas door decorations from the 1950s: Be inspired by doors of yore!

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