When tradition and memories unite
“Maybe Christmas, he thought...doesn't come from a store. Maybe Christmas, perhaps...means a little bit more!”
-- Dr. Seuss' “How the Grinch stole Christmas”
The most magical time of the year is upon us, where family comes together and wonder fills the air. This year we’re dreaming of a vintage farmhouse Christmas, an old traditional Christmas where Grandma’s quilted tree skirt and mercury glass ornaments adorned the tree, and presents were wrapped with twine.
Let’s take a look at vintage decorations that are coming back and ways others are re-using vintage pieces for their holiday decor.
Repurposing at its best
Vintage tins bring back so many memories of the treasures they once held inside. Social media influencer Heather Pekarek from @FarmhouseFor8 uses old marshmallow tins to tie in elements of her decor and on her hot cocoa bar each year.
Other decor favorites are vintage chocolate tins, Coca Cola tins, and nostalgic Christmas tins. You can find old tins at just about any secondhand store (or simply by digging into grandma’s cupboards.)
Wrapping it all up
“Brown paper packages tied up with string, these are a few of my favorite things!”
— “The Sound Of Music”
Wrapping paper didn’t become commonplace until after WWI, and gifts were wrapped in plain thick paper and tied with string. This simple tradition has evolved over the years and has definitely come back in a lot of fun, imaginative ways.
Craft paper is easy to find online or even in the paint section of your local hardware store. Plus, it's a blank canvas that puts the focus more on the ribbon, tags, and other adornments.
To make your gift to stand out, add your own personal touch with stamps, a simple ribbon, twine, or a variety of fun toppers that would make Julie Andrews smile.
“The stockings were hung by the chimney with care…”
-- “Twas the Night Before Christmas” by Clement Clarke Moore
There are many stories behind the tradition of Christmas stockings. In France, they use shoes or boots instead of our traditionally-hung stockings to hold small gifts. This has always appealed to not only my family but many others living on acreages.
Each year Julia Terpstra, a farmhouse decor influencer and blogger, hangs up firefighter boots in lieu of stockings. Her husband is a firefighter, had both of their children follow in his footsteps becoming firefighters as well. “The fire boots were hung by the chimney with care,” just doesn’t have the same ring, but this fire family is sticking with tradition!” says Julia.
Meanwhile, in Washington State On Shoo Fly Ranch, we have a similar tradition that was inspired by Julia—but instead of firefighter boots, we use new muck boots. The little loop in the back makes for an easy to hang, and the boots serve a practical purpose for the year to come.
Visions of St. Nick
“They err who think Santa Claus enters through the chimney. He enters through the heart!”
--Charles W. Howard
The history of Santa Claus can be traced back hundreds of years. Whether you know the “Jolly Old Elf” as Old Saint Nick, Father Christmas, Santa Claus, or Kris Kringle, he is a symbol of the holiday.
Vintage Santa figurines have made their way back and can be found in several different shapes and styles—display them all together or scatter throughout your house. The twinkle in his eyes makes this charming old man the perfect home decor item this Christmas Season.
What’s your tradition?
We have only scratched the surface of vintage pieces coming back this year, but a few noteworthy pieces returning as decor include: Snow shoes, vintage skis, ice skates, vintage sleds, mercury glass ornaments, bubble Christmas lights and—depending on your vintage—flocked Christmas ornaments.
Christmas is the time of year when old traditions are revisited and new ones created, making life seem a little more cheerful.
About the author
Jessica Dilger writes from “Shoo Fly Ranch,” a homesteaded acreage in southwest Washington state where she lives with her family, 30 or so chickens, 14 cows, two calves, and two bottle-fed calves named Ben and Jerry. She also operates FM Farmhouse, a quarterly decor subscription box program.
Here’s some holiday farmhouse inspiration