sundance catalog coverWhether you are mad for Mad Men or simply love to mix the old with the new, finding retro style holiday decorations has never been easier. Case in point: The cover of this season’s Sundance holiday catalog (above). They give their vintage reproduction light-up snowman a “10 on the retro-hip coolness scale.” This holiday season I am seeing more products than ever to bring a little of the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s into your home. From sweet and nostalgic to sleek and atomic, mid-century is really hot – and guaranteed to put a big smile on the worst Scrooge in the family. Ready to deck your halls? Here are some of my top finds for retro-style holiday decorations this season. Readers – send me your finds to add to our list! Picks so far:

1. Decorations from Vermont Country Store: Woah, Rudolf, this place is the motherlode of exact reproductions and all the Xmas stuff you remember from your childhood. The elves above – reproductions from 1940s and 50s ornaments. Vermont Country Store’s holiday decor here.


2. Christopher Radko gets major snaps for making these reproduction Shiny Brite ornaments – and so does reader Anne Blackwell for sending me the suggestion.

ornament hanger box

Radko even reproduced the ornament hanger box. What attention to detail!


3. Duh. Of course you must also have an aluminum Christmas tree. Now is the time to buy a vintage tree on ebay — everyone who has one to sell has slammed it on the auction site by now, for sure. Another way up-market alternative: The vision from Hammacher Schlemmer, made from aluminum rather than tinsel. Need a color light wheel? Go to Vermont Country Store.


4. I am all about these vintage Vera Neumann table linens, “Poinsettia.” You can buy them at Macy’s — or you can by them right here on my Amazon store. The prices are great. Tip: The tablecloth is actually available in five sizes – look for the selection box right on the listing page. Also: Go for the half apron. You will match!


5. Here’s what the Sundance catalog has to say about their light-up plastic snowman:  “So over-the-top tacky that he scores a 10 on the retro-hip coolness scale, our kitschy light-up snowman is an enduring testament to neighborhood folk art.” … “A 10 on the retro-hip coolness scale?” That’s all of us here at Retro Renovation! hahahahahahaha. Thanks for Nancy B. for this tip! Link here.


6. I’ve always been a fan of these Land’s End needlepoint Christmas stockings. I’m not sure how to “date” them exactly, but they sure are classics. We have these at my house. Land’s End.


7. Bethany Lowe is another artist who has some mid-century inspired decorations to consider. I found these Snowman hat boxes, inspired by vintage wrapping paper, at

8. We used to live in Michigan. Every holiday season, our across-the-street neighbors would add a new Lionel train to the tracks that they set up circling their Christmas tree. Which means that in this holiday round-up, I can show this reproduction of the 1955 Lionel “Congressional” set, the train that ran between New York and Washington, D.C. This Lionel set was top-of-the-line in its day, and at $1299.00 today, it’s no slouch either. Whether you start small or big, I love love love the idea of this choo choo Christmas tradition. Lionel’s Congressional here.


9. And last (for now) but CERTAINLY not least, Urban Outfitters brings us … as an exclusive… that everlasting classic, A Charlie Brown Christmas, by the Vince Guaraldi Trio, 1965. And in vinyl, can you believe it? I got so excited when I saw this, that I ran upstairs to tell Mr. Retro Renovation, who has an “in” with Santa.


But gosh, there’s more. UO also has an exact reproduction of Charlie Brown’s sad little Christmas tree.

linus blanket from urban outfitters

And, they’ve copied Linus’ blanket – with sales benefitting the Linus Project, an organization that creates and distributes handmade blankets and afghans to children in need. Homemade afghans? You know how I feel about those. But did you know that I also love love love love Charlie Brown. And I adore this Urban Outfitters tribute. Well done, Urban Outfitters.

  1. Detroit Janice says:

    I scored a vintage aluminum xmas tree MINT IN THE BOX – all the branches still in their little paper sleeves – at an estate sale over the summer (only $30!!!). PLUS a color wheel at the same sale. I am so excited to put it up this xmas – as soon as we move into our renovation in the next couple weeks. I have before pics of the renovation, but no after pics because my camera broke. I’ll have to borrow a camera from someone and post the pics here!

  2. Kersten says:

    I grew up with this snowman faithfully guarding our front porch. My parents still put it in the same place. On the other side of the porch is always Mrs. Claus. Someday, it will sit on my front porch. But, I don’t mind waiting.
    I’d LOVE to see some pictures of retro decorating! Inside or out! We have a ’57 ranch, and I’m a bit perplexed as to how to arrange outdoor lights. Following the roofline is an option, but I don’t know if it gives full justice though. Any ideas?

  3. pam kueber says:

    Kersten, I don’t know that I will do a “call for holiday photos” this year. I am super busy with work and these always take a lot of time.

    One suggestion, if you’re into Facebook: Join the Retro Renovation Facebook group. You can post photos there….Link is in center column… If you’re an RR junkie, I also try to post additional content on the Facebook Fan page….

  4. LuLu says:

    I am so jealous of Detroit Janice and how she scored the aluminum xmas tree! And the color light too. That is my fondest childhood memory….seeing that aluminum tree with the different colors at my Grandma’s house every time I would visit her at Xmas.
    Enjoy Detroit Janice….you lucky duck!

  5. Rebecca Prichard says:

    I wanted to thank you for posting that about Vera Vintage Poinsettia. I got them at Macy’s for half off, plus another recession-driven discount, and they are wonderful! My Christmas was definitely better because of them. 🙂

  6. Margaret Boyer says:

    Please advise if the -3- little elves will be available again for purchase this Christmas, and if so, when might we order them.

Leave a Reply

Commenting: Information

All comments are moderated, generally within 24 hours. By using this website you are agreeing to the site's >> Terms of Service, << which include commenting policies, and our >> Privacy Notice. << Before participating, read them in full.

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.