12 daze of Kitschmas — favorite photos and ideas from readers

Midcentury modern Christmas Not only are Retro Renovation readers inventive and inspirational decorators, but quite a few of you are darn good photographers, too. From our recent spree uploading photos of our vintage holiday decorations, I curated some delightful photos. Above: No name contributor for Northern California — fabulous photo! You may identify yourself and receive your applause, dear reader. Click on through for 11 more twinkly happy holiday photos from around our retro wonderland. –>

Imperal Arctic Star Christmas treeGeorge Nelson bubble lamp (with levitating ornaments) meets 1960s Imperial Arctic Star aluminum Christmas tree.

Uncle Atom's aluminum Christmas trees and Christmas albumsThis is super clever from that super clever Uncle Atom: Get out those Christmas albums (or: ANOTHER thing to collect) and hang ’em behind the tree. I WANT A MERRY BRADY CHRISTMAS album. P.S. Luv the knottyish pine.

Betty Crafter retro christmasBetty Crafter’s living room is so much fun. Why do I think there is never a dull moment in this household?

Bradford tree topperBradford Tree Topper. These are i-phone images, right? Lord help me, really, I can barely work the computer and the camera I have much less learn i-phone apps.

Santa cookies by LouisaOverall, Louisa gets my prize this year for her photo submissions (she had a few more lovely photos). WISH I could bite right into one of these. I could NEVER do this!

Christmas pixiesThis one just made me laugh. Pixies are the best. To anyone who says kitsch is silly, I say: “Bite me.” Seriously, I want to run for President, just so I can say, to opponents and media when they try to get me with their gotcha’s: “Bite me.”

Christmas elves and reindeerYes: Buy one or two of something and it’s clutter. Buy 3 or more, and it’s a collection. I love how color unifies all of these Arctic creatures.

Vintage Christmas cards from estate sales from Jenny OThis is a great collection idea from Jenny O: Vintage Christmas cards from estate sales.

Retro Christmas with cookiesYikes! Yum! And don’t miss the ornaments strung from above. This reader has it goin’ on! P.S. Love the knotty on the ceiling.

Felt elves from BethBeth gets props for her vintage elves and for her i-phone photo, too.

All in, these friend and family photos are always my favorites. Folks at home, mile-wide smiles. Oh my word, this is what it’s all about.


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  1. puddletown cheryl says

    This collection of pictures makes me so happy and nostalgic. Some of the best Christmas presents I got was when I was six or so in the late fifties. My grandparents had visited Japan and sent me dolls, a kimono, a book of traditional stories and origami paper with instruction books. I still get a flutter of excitement when I remember it. No one else had gotten anything like it. The rest of the year I drew a Japanese girl over and over, each with a colorful kimono.

  2. says

    Hi Pam,
    Thanks for featuring my photo! WHat a great idea to showcase how others decorate vintage for holidays. I’ve been collecting Christmas-related LPs for a few years, and the nearly invisible hangers are great for displaying them on the wall. Someone asked about the hangers on my blog, and FYI for others, you can find these through ebay seller “dsmyser” – I don’t have any relationship or make any commission or profit from it, just passing along the info for any who are interested.
    Merry Christmas!

    • pam kueber says

      Indeed, Uncle Atom, I was wondering about that — I’ll do a story soon about these. Thanks! Also, I was working on this post late last night — I will be adding links to bloggers and also checking attributions in case I missed anyone today! xoxo

  3. JKaye says

    Thanks to everyone for putting so much effort into their decorations. Those elves in Beth’s photo look like they have some secrets regarding what they are up to when everyone else in the house is sleeping. The Kohlhepp photo surely is in the running for Best Expression of Christmas Happiness 2011. And Betty, if you’ll call Uncle Atom to bring his records and player, I’ll call Louisa about the cookies, and the rest of us will be over for the party.

  4. linda Blackmore says

    Did you get any of nativities? My niece and i did a cute “putz” for our ladies Christmas dinner on a 3 tiered pie holder with all vintage figures. I have a few photos, but they aren’t nearly as impressive as these.

  5. Wynonna says

    OH I remember those creepy little elves…..they came with a purchase of a bottle of dishsoap…..Elf on a shelf I think…..My mother had a dozen or so and she used to put them in the tree and told me that they were there to keep me from peeking under the wrapping to see my gifts…….

  6. njw says

    OH — those ornaments hung from above — stealing! I’m a crazy cat lady and had reluctantly decided no ornaments again this year but I can rig something like *that*! YAY!!

  7. Michael says

    I love seeing others’ retro yuletide decor. I submitted three photos myself, but for some reason it looks like they didn’t get uploaded or approved… 🙁

  8. Winslow G. Fox says

    Great Collections! I too like the knotty pine. But where, in all this, is the Christmas Story???? Whose Birthday is it, anyway??

      • Just another Pam says

        And a very holly jolly Kitchmas it is too!

        Growing up in the time of “The Christmas Story” movie, lamp aside, it was closer to reality than most Christmas movies.

  9. Kimberj says

    Merry Christmas Pam and all you other mid centers! Wishing all of you a Happy, Healthy, Prosperous, Fun 2012 and may all your Retro Treasure Hunting bring you exactly what you want!!!

  10. nina462 says

    very nice – love the dog picture. I still like my picture on last years submission of my kitty looking over baby Jesus in the outdoor nativity.

    I was thinking of my Dad today (RIP) and how he loved Yogi Yorgerson music. So I had to go to youtube and find, I yust go nuts at Christmas and the Yingle Bells. Laughed till I cried! The Christmas Party by Yogi also good (quite Mad Men sexist, if you know what I mean, wink,nod).

    Thanks for sharing the retro love!

  11. Nina462 says

    oh – I forgot to mention, thanks for posting the pictures from last year – I forgot how my house was decorated. Yikes, had to find a few things – now, I’m all set.

  12. Jay says

    Love the blown up pamovision pictures with commentary. I wish all the pictures in the gallery could be enlarged while viewing, I like to see all the ornaments that are on the trees. I guess you have to call it kitsch but to me it’s Vintage, I grew up with so much of this stuff in the 60s and still have the tree ornaments plus other stuff I have collected. Heck I had to go out and buy a big blow-mold santa at the hardware store. I thought it was appropriate for a 57 ranch, along with the plastic ivory colored candoliers in the windows. The new stuff in the big box stores don’t cut it. I still mourn the passing of Woolworths – great Christmas items. Happy holidays to all. This is my favorite stop on the web.

  13. Sherree says

    Pam, thanks for posting my photo as well! Those are my pixies on the square shelves/green wall. I get so many ideas from your site! Thanks for all your hard work; Merry Christmas to you!

  14. James J (aka Jim the Nog) says

    Hey Pam – Nor Cal Mid Mod Xmas here . . . glad you like my photo! I am the photographer and proud owner of the “Imperial Arctic Star” aluminum tree (as well as the lovely lab & turquoise sofa). I used hipstamatic on my iPhone & just started taking random shots after the tree was up.Thanks for your great site and for posting all the wonderful retro modern holiday decor! Living and loving the Mid Mod life style in Nor Cal! Happy Holidaze!

  15. Steven Hollifield says

    Hi Pam, Wonderful photos! Makes me remember when I was a kid in the 50’s. They make me feel like I’m there again!

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