Vintage Christmas Decorations


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I like vintage decorations. As a kid I remember we had some pre-war Christmas tree lights. They were really big compared with modern ones. The problem was that you couldn't get spares and they were mains voltage (220/240) connected in series. So any that failed meant none worked. Of course you could shorten the wire and reduce the number of lamps, but that pushed up the voltage of each lamp which was highly dangerous!
 
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My best memory was making popcorn strings for the Christmas tree. After Christmas we would hang the strings out in the front yard and watch the sparrows brave the snow for an easy meal.
 
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As little kids we did the popcorn on strings, also colored paper garland.
https://blog.retroplanet.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/retro-paper-garland-450x247.jpg


We also put Suet (beef fat) out for the birds.



Interesting little walk down memory lane,...
 
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somewhere in our basement, we have the little old fashioned hooks that they used to use on the tree to set the real candles in them. have to look for them. unless husband took it up to an auction house. try to look for them.
 
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I used to use tinsel but not anymore. Don't have any vintage Christmas decorations, all from a few years ago, led lights and white and clear baubles and ornaments for the tree. When i was a lot younger, used to make decorations with the crepe paper in different colours.
 
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As a kid I was fortunate to grow up in Grand Rapids, Michigan. This was a Christmas destination for most of Michigan because of the department stores downtown. The two big department stores decorated like crazy and of course they had Santa Claus for the kids. If you want to get an idea of what it was like you can watch the movie featuring Tom Hanks called Polar Express.
 
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The thought of vintage decorations reminded me of something from my past.
In the seventies I managed a large departmental store, this was before I moved into superstores. Christmas was really big in those days, particularly toys. Long before on-line shopping and specialist stores, like Disney, Toys R Us (in their hey day), took the bulk of the sales.

We devoted a third of the furniture department to toys and Christmas decorations at one end of the floor, from the middle of November. The "Toy Fair," was simply created by situating a line of wardrobes across the middle of the floor with their backs facing the toys and fixtures placed along their length. More fixtures with multiple shelves around the other two sides of the perimeter, a couple of aisles down the midle and two checkouts at the front. The windowdressers really went to town with decorations, lights (big mains voltage ones), Christmas trees etc,. Lots of posters, (we had an instore signwriter). Big banner over the entrance. At a few thousand square feet it always looked impressive.

The sales in this department were massive. We also had Father Christmas in his ghetto, sorry! grotto. Animated figures lined the entrance to "the ride." This was in a big side room off the sales floor next to the fair. This took the form of either a sleigh with two animated reindeer at the front appearing to pull the sleigh into the "blackness" ahead of it, with moving painted canvas screens at the side you really got the impression of movement as the sleigh itself moved up and down and tilted from side to side. You could get a dozen kids on it .
One year curiously, we had Noah's Ark because the sleigh was unavailble. This was a cabin that moved in the same way, more screens to the side and real water cascading past the several windows which looked like torrential rain. The kids then got out, went to see Father Christmas and got their toy.
The price of admission I pitched at a price that just about covered Father Christmas's wages and the cost of the toys. I didn't believe in ripping off kids and their parents. The gross margin on toys in those days was high, no discounting.
I never had a grand opening, it would have been chaos, so we opened it piecemeal, taking many thousands before we advertised that it was open. I think that sort of "magic" for kids is long gone

What always amused me was that some of the directors liked to see the Toy Fair in the first week when it was fully open. They were always scheduled to visit when Father Christmas had "gone to feed the reindeer," This was so they could have a "go" on the ride!
It used to kill me. Seeing grown men and women sitting on small bench seats.
.
 
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