21 Dec 2010

Getting Into The Spirit of Things

For some people, the holiday season doesn't quite feel like it's arrived until they do a few things:

  1. Cram as much candy and cookies and eggnog down their gullets as they can
  2. Crank up the holiday music
  3. Fight the crowds at the mall for gifts
  4. Deck the halls with an assortment of holiday decor
  5. Start drinking hot rum and Baileys and scotch ... before noon
  6. Go to church
 We're usually pretty minimalist when it comes to holiday decorations, but as this is the 50s Housewife Does Christmas, I figured it was best to start there. Hopefully having all the holiday cheer visually around me would give me the inspiration to go through with the other 50s-era holiday plans.

I recently gave you a sneak peak of some 1950s Christmas decor - the putz house. Darling! Well, here is the whole village set up on our counter, atop polyester snow and lit from behind with holiday lights:

I admit, it could look better had I had the patience to prop the homes up a bit more, but because they are so light, the putz homes tend to float on the batting rather than nestle into it, and the lights that I popped into their backs were a bit too heavy for some of the little homes, causing them to tip. A true 50s housewife would have stayed up until the crack of dawn making these just so, but as I am not insane there was much more to do, I moved on to the next project.

Putz Village: 1950s Christmas Checklist
Tiny details
Highly flammable
Presents an obvious danger to small children, pets and idiots

Confidence growing from having completed the putz village, I tackled something more crafty: paper ring garland. Being frugal and wanting to keep the project as flammable as possible, I made the rings from crepe paper (streamers) rather than construction paper. This also made it look more authentic to the type of garland you could buy in the 1940s and 50s.
 It was very easy, but obviously rather tedious. A great deal of zoning out was involved. But 120 green, white and red rings later (I counted), I was finally done. I strung the paper ring garland from corner to corner of our living room, and where the garland crossed, I hung a big, red honeycomb bell that I found at the dollar store (I was grateful they had it - I would have otherwise had to trek to one of those gaudy wedding stores in Little Italy to get some).

Paper Ring Garland and Honeycomb Bell: 1950s Christmas Checklist
Tiny details 
Highly flammable

Hey! It's time for more holiday cheer - a drink!

Yes ... so I whipped those eggs and ... nah, just look to the bottom part of that recipe, "Quick Christmas Eggnog." Get eggnog, add booze. Boom - done! It's not cheating if it's in my vintage cookbooks (in this case, Good Housekeeping's Christmas Cook Book circa 1958).

Quick Christmas Eggnog: 1950s Christmas Checklist
Highly flammable

Feeling instantly cheerier, I turned to my December 1959 edition of Better Homes & Gardens and it was chock-full of relatively easy make-at-home decorations with materials that are still largely available today - I'll tell you about more of those tomorrow, but here's the last craft I did that day:

Wire hangers: not just for abortions. All you do is take some coat hangers, bend the hooks into circles and bend the bottoms to form gradually more pronounced 'M's. Connect them to one another and hang ornaments from their ends. I happen to have some vintage mercury glass ornaments (you'll see more of them later), so I used those to create this:
Well ... it sort of looks like the picture in the magazine, right?

Holiday Hanger Mobile: 1950s Christmas Checklist
Tiny details 
Presents an obvious danger to small children, pets and idiots 

Seeing as there's eggnog that needs to be drunk, I'll sign off for now. More 50s-era Christmas decor and crafts tomorrow!


Brassy 9:55 pm, December 21, 2010  

So first I saw the wire hanger ornament picture and I thought, "What the hell is that? The abortionist Christmas tree?!" and immediately felt ashamed that the thought even crossed my mind, as obviously that makes me a horrid excuse for a human being.

And then I read your very next comment: "Wire hangers: not just for abortions." and instantly felt better. Maybe I'm going to hell, but at least I won't be alone! ;)

Anonymous,  11:05 pm, December 21, 2010  

I thought the exact same thing as Brassy. Good to know we all have dark senses of humor! Love the 50s holiday checklists!

Jen 3:27 pm, December 30, 2010  

Haha, Brassy and Anon. There will be good company in hell for sure!

Sam 8:41 pm, October 11, 2013  

Oh my god, I just love all this so much. I love this project, and I LOVE your writing! I have been reading for the past several days (and not commented) and I am so sad that I am about to be done. This project and your writing really are something special.

jasha,  3:59 pm, April 02, 2015  

Oh my god, I just love all this so much. I love this project, and I LOVE your writing! I have been reading for the past several days (and not commented) and I am so sad that I am about to be done. This project and your writing really are something special.
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Need words? I'm a Toronto-based freelance writer who injects great ones into blogs, websites, magazines, ads and more. So many services, one lovely Jen (with one 'n').

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