Flourishes of festivity: Vintage Christmas trees from 1974

Note: This article may feature affiliate links to or other companies. Qualifying purchases made via these links may earn us a small commission at no additional cost to you. Find out more here.

Christmas tree decorations


On the limbs of a ceiling-high evergreen, favorite fantasy characters join in a toyland show of Christmas colors and merry spirit

Toyland tree, beautiful girl- and boy-land tree (above), 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.

Vintage Christmas trees

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. We thought the button-eyed cat and a chenille-ball Bugs Bunny deserved their own close-up photograph (right).

the quintessence of Christmas


Flourish of festivity

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 these unique holiday gifts the boxless, paperless way (left), 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.

MORE  See the retro melted plastic popcorn Halloween decorations popular in the '70s

Turn a tall green tree into a Noel beauty


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 (right). 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.

charming holiday setting

More stories you might like

See our books

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Pin It on Pinterest