But there were so many more creative ideas, too — like a tree suspended from the ceiling, as you can see below.
Take a look back here, and get a little retro inspo for your holidays!
A festive Christmas tree filled with bird and flower ornaments (1973)
Decorating Christmas trees in the 70s: De-lightful tree decorating possible
Article adapted from The Evening Sun (Baltimore, Maryland) December 18, 1973
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer may be the only perfect solution to this year’s Christmas lighting problem.
But don’t despair; there are delightful ways to decorate a Christmas tree without the usual strands of electric lights and shiny drugstore bulbs.
Leave that stuff in the box and warm up the house with an old-fashioned Christmas tree using traditional decorations everyone in the family can make.
Borrow freely from the colorful Christmas trees of other countries or revive Nineteenth-Century America with a Victorian tree or its country cousin, the pioneer’s tree.
Christmas trees in the 70s, adorned with doily holiday ornaments
Decorate a tree with cookies & candy, cranberries & popcorn
Decorate a real tree with homemade cookies and marzipan, peppermint canes, nuts, paper cornucopias of candy, and chains of cranberries and popcorn.
Also appeal to other senses. Fill your rooms with fragrant greens and hang throughout the house clusters of pungent red peppers and lots of oranges studded with cloves.
Simple 70s Christmas tree with snowflake ornaments (1976)
Retro Christmas tree with lots of red ribbon decorations
Retro Christmas tree decorations including popcorn strings (1979)
Popcorn is probably the most traditionally American decoration because it’s the only indigenous one, says Mrs. Henry Lochte, production chairman of the annual Christmas tree exhibit at the Cheekwood Fine Arts Center in Nashville, Tenn.
Ribbons & Victorian pedestal baskets on a tabletop tree
Shiny red ribbons & silvery garlands of tinsel
According to a curator at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, a collection of Victorian tree ornaments includes a white glass ball painted with delicate flowers, small wicker baskets with cloth tops that tie with a drawstring, and a variety of small toys. The curator says cornucopias made from cones decorated with lace and ribbons were especially popular then.
If you forgo colored lights, you may want to use highly reflective tree ornaments. Decorate small mirrors or fill your tree with figures cut from disposable aluminum foil pans or sheared from tin cans. Cutouts made from aluminum pans can be decorated with felt pens and clear or colored nail polish.
Cans often yield both gold and silver-colored metal, and you can use the sides as well as the lids if you cut the seams off with a wall or electric can opener. (Wear gloves when handling cut tin.)
Victorian-inspired tree with candles, a creche, and curving forms
Tin ornaments, fruit, cookies & more
Tin ornaments will be shinier if you burnish the cans with soapy steel wool. Easy-to-cut tin figures include camels, roosters, butterflies, gloves when handling cuts like a fleur-de-lis.
If you decorate with fruits and berries, a coat of shellac will help to preserve their appearance. (Pears don’t last as long as other decorative fruits.)
Since you can’t eat your coated fruit, bake cookie ornaments that are tasty and sturdy. Carl Sandburg College, Galesburg, IIl., provides these recipes from Anne Lewis:
Basic sugar cookies for ornaments: Combine 3 cups flour, 1 cup sugar, 1 cup shortening, 1 teaspoon baking powder. 1 teaspoon soda. and 1 teaspoon salt. Mix together like crust and add 2 eggs, 2 teaspoons vanilla, and 4 teaspoons milk. Make a hole with a plastic straw or insert an ornament hanger, then bake at 400 degrees for 6 to 8 minutes.
White icing for the cookie ornaments: White background icing: Beat 4 cups powdered sugar into 3 egg whites until light and fluffy. Thin with water to the consistency of enamel. Apply to cookies with a 1-inch paintbrush. Let dry before decorating with colored icing.
No matter what kind of decorations you choose to make, consider a trip to the library to consult the many how-to books often available on Christmas decorations.
Christmas tree in the 70s in mod living room
Bright flowers and red yarn swags (1970s)
Favorite fantasy characters join in a toyland show of Christmas colors and merry spirit
Toyland tree, beautiful girl- and boy-land tree (below), bending with a burden of goodies every child hopes Santa Claus will bring.
It’s an eye-popper, this rollicking profusion of delights for the young, a veritable animal kingdom of soft, cuddly creatures riding the silver balsam tree along with Santas, fire engines, drums, doll babies, clowns, angels, trinkets, and trifles to defy a toy shop inventory, all radiantly spotlighted with the gleam of shining ornaments.
It’s the quintessence of Christmas, seen through the eyes of a child, the stuffed animals (most of them handmade), the long-time accumulation of Walt Disney memorabilia by Lenny Meyer, cartoon animator and illustrator of children’s books.
It’s not exactly a tree trim you can go out and buy all at once. The designer was James K. McNair, an author and horticultural designer, who punctuated the toy trim here with wooden tops, cherries and apples lacquered a merry red.
Burlap bows & dried flower sprays
Christmas trees in the 70s: Sewn fabric ornaments and papier-mache doves
Family scrapbook Christmas tree – Tinsel and embroidered animal ornaments
Gingham and bread dough figures – White tree with colorful globes and Japanese fans
Golden pear Christmas tree – Pastry tree decorations
Hanging tree suspended from ceiling – Tree with antique ornaments
Mini berry tabletop tree – painted dough ornaments, poinsettias and ribbon bows
Tree adorned with decorated cookie ornaments
Fun fabric Christmas tree decorations
A pretty tree all in red, white and pink
Decorating Christmas trees in the ’70s: Childrens’ toys and dolls plus fabric ornaments
A toy-filled retro Christmas tree
For the creative decorator, a joyful holiday mood can be established with traditional bloom and greenery or with stylistic mood-makers
Artist Bill Polito wraps up unique holiday gifts the boxless, paperless way, using natural straw suitcases, hampers, and baskets all tied with bright red velvet ribbon bows.
Robert Webb designed the assemblage of gifts with a prancing silver horse from Christopher Chodoff around a carved wood, black marble-topped console table that stands beneath one of Polito’s paintings in his dining room. Gifts are given as a postprandial treat.
Designer Dick Ridge of Ridge-Hill Interiors dresses up a classic entry hall with traditional Christmas symbols (below left). Black-and-white checkerboard tiles and ivory walls hung with mounted prints and horns are transformed into a festive interior with holiday flora — a circular evergreen wreath amid the prints and poinsettias blooming beneath the table. A paper Santa greets arriving guests from his own special perch on a champagne cooler.
Short Christmas tree with plaid taffeta bows, candy canes, and pine cones (1973)
Vintage 70s Christmas tree with salt dough ornaments
Any objects dear to the heart can turn a tall green tree into a Noel beauty
An impressive 12-foot Douglas fir stands in the California living room of Mr. and Mrs. Michael Chumo (below). Lyn Chumo of Combs and Combs Studio of Design designed the tree without electric lights.
Instead, lively ornaments are a marvelous collection of dolls gathered in the Chumos’ travels around the world and clothespin dolls made by friends. Snowless though Pacific Palisades may be, the jolly snowman makes his appearance in the form of a woven basket.
Interior Designer David Laurence Roth loves flowers no matter what the season. So, for his living room, Jack Bangs of The Gazebo embellished a tree with natural-look artificial blooms in hot pink, red, and orange. Tiers of heavy yarn festoon the branches, replacing glittery tinsel but offering the same swag effect.
Packages in brilliant hues to match the paper flowers and tied in multicolored ribbons add up to a charming holiday setting.
Retro Christmas tree in the 70s with silver tinsel
Celebrity Christmas: Actor Michael Landon and family
Two pretty 1970s Christmas trees with gifts beneath
A simple vintage Christmas tree with homemade decorations
Vintage 1970s Christmas tree with blue & white fabric ornaments (1975)
Origami animal ornaments from shiny foil (1975)
A Danish Christmas tree
On the Danish tree hang stars and clusters of cone-shaped bells made from bright gold paper. Colorful paper peacocks and other birds nest in the Polish tree amid chains of bright paper circles.
Candies wrapped in tissue paper with fringed ends hang among elves and angels carved from lightweight wood on the Swedish tree.
You can copy the Scandinavian custom of decorating with small flags. Try a melting pot of flags or use only one flag, stringing the miniatures together or tying up just a few together.
In Scandinavia and parts of Eastern Europe, straw is widely used to recall Christ’s birth in a manger. You can use straw or paper drinking straws to fashion stars tied with red twine. The Lithuanian tree features small straw angels and is topped with a whisk-broom angel with burlap wings.
Christmas tree with toy stuffed animals & big red bows (1973)
7 more cute retro Christmas trees in the 1970s