8 Retro Holiday Traditions that Deserve a Comeback

Create a charming, old-fashioned holiday this year with these 1950s Christmas traditions.

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Holiday cookie platter filled with homemade treats ready for gift wrapping
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Christmas Cookie Exchange

Exchanging holiday cookies with neighbors has been around for centuries, but the cookie swap party saw a rise in popularity in the early 1960s. The way it works is all the attendees bake a set number of their favorite holiday cookies. At the party, everyone divvies up the cookies evenly and gets to go home with everyone’s delicious creations. Here’s how to host a sweet cookie exchange.

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Vintage jello cookbook page

Elaborate Jell-O Salads

In the 1950s, people dared to ask the question, “Can a salad also be a dessert?” We love this lime and strawberry Layered Christmas Dessert, but don’t miss these other jiggly Jell-O salads perfect for your holiday spread.

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Red Christmas balls on a Christmas tree on a background of blue old doors in the New Year's room decorated.

Popcorn Garland

In the 1950s and 60s, it was popular for families to create the popcorn garland together, munching on the leftovers as they worked. Combine your own popcorn garland with these food-related ornaments for a fun food-themed tree.

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Christmas Stocking filled with fruit and gifts, Christmas decoration
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Orange Stocking Stuffers

You, your parents, or your grandparents probably have memories of waking up on Christmas morning to find a fresh orange in the toe of their stocking. Along with small toys and sweet candies, an orange is a refreshing and wholesome surprise. Here’s what Christmas looked like the year you were born.

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Man With Remote Control Watching Television And Relaxing By Fire

Watching the Yule Log

The TV broadcast of the burning “Yule Log” began in 1966 when the program was created by the general manager at New York’s WPIX. He wanted to give his employees time off for Christmas, and bring the traditional fireplace experience to viewers. Today you can play a version on Netflix.

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Vintage Aluminum Christmas Tree with blue ornaments
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Aluminum Christmas Tree

The Aluminum Specialty Company manufactured more than a million aluminum trees between 1959 and 1969. Ready for your own shimmering silver tree? You can buy a modern day version, which are made from PVC plastic, and available at most retail stores. Pair it with these other vintage Christmas decorations.

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Holiday Green Bean Casserole
Taste of Home

Making a Casserole

The 1950s was a booming time for casseroles. The famous Green Bean Casserole debuted in 1955, created by Campbell Soup Company in order to promote its cream soups. Try this Jazzed Up Green Bean Casserole for something a little different this year.

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Roasted ham with trimmings
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Old-Fashioned Pineapple Ham

Forget the turkey—1950s Christmas dinner was all about ham. Spiral sliced ham glazed with sugar, adorned with canned pineapples and maraschino cherries was the preferred method. Hawaiian tourism and the rise of the luau party were part of the craze. Recreate it with our classic baked ham recipe.

Erica Young
Erica is a cleaning and home décor expert. She knows exactly how to tidy a filthy kitchen and straighten out a mixed-up pantry! When she's not writing you'll find her organizing a closet, buying more bins she doesn't need or bingeing her latest TV show obsession.