In the last post I showed you our dining room, with its mix of vintage Shiny-Brite ornaments, silvery trees, and rustic and snowy things. My other favorite style of Christmas decor is kitschy midcentury stuff, which has gotten really popular on Instagram and everywhere. It just doesn’t mix that well with the snowy woodland stuff, so it goes in different rooms (a benefit of not having an open floor plan).
Here’s the top of my dresser, which needed some Christmas cheer:
The piece of art was actually a new sheet of vintage-inspired wrapping paper framed by The Barn Door (an awesome shop in downtown Franklin). I chose the red frame, which the owner Kevin made and finished himself. I am so happy with how it turned out!
Here’s a picture of some midcentury decorations in the kitchen, where they are fun and festive and safely tucked away from the non-coordinating stuff in the dining room (which is just fine when it comes to Christmas decor).
The wreath was my favorite estate-sale find from a couple years ago. It’s a vintage bottle brush wreath with plastic holly. Oh-so-exciting to midcentury fans and probably ordinary to people who grew up in the ’50’s when stuff like this was normal. Now they’re hard to find, though I’ve seen lots of smaller imitation ones with ornaments that are really cute.
The deer are from eBay last year, and are so fun. They are plastic but fragile, so even though the kids wanted to adopt them to play reindeer games, they are permanently parked on the shelf. Last year, World Market had some reproductions of things like this, which sold out pretty quickly or I’d have some of those too. The Santa on the left (that doesn’t show up very well) was a popcorn tin from Target two years ago. I couldn’t resist even though my kids don’t like Santa.
I think some of you are freaking out right now, so let me explain.
When I was a kid, there were two parts to Christmas (as I perceived at the time). The 80%, which was full of toys and excitement and treats and decorations, and the 20%, which was the boring “vegetables”, that is, the Christmas story about Jesus. The Jesus part was the drab images of a dusty stable and lots of robes and long hair, which you had to “enjoy” first if you were going to have “dessert” (the Santa, snow, toys, and fun). Yet we were taught at church that the Jesus-story was the point, and that somehow we were supposed to prefer that story to the colorful, sparkly story where you get lots of stuff. And of course, the Jesus story was going to lose every time.
I found the Santa story incredibly appealing, and believed it until my friends at school broke the news to me. It didn’t help that I asked my mom after that, who assured me that Santa was real, and I believed her because Santa did bring us a lot of awfully nice stuff that I didn’t think she would give us on her own. But once I finally found out for good, it took away a lot of the “magic” of Christmas (as well as explained to me why my sister never got coal in her stocking).
Fast forward like, 15 years (see, I told you I believed in Santa for a long time): we have our first baby and have to decide for ourselves how we’re going to train our kids to get excited about the real meaning of Christmas when there are lots of pretend things that vie for their attention. The first year it didn’t matter, as our baby was dressed up in a candy-cane-striped pajama suit and laid under the tree for pictures. But once he got older, we had to choose how we were going to present Christmas to this little bundle of diapers with his finger up his nose.
We told him that all the magic of Christmas is because a much-needed Savior named Jesus came into the world. We told him that we celebrate with parties and gifts and candy and lights because Jesus is that big of a deal. Light of the World. Treasure of the Nations. Reason to Celebrate.
We chose to tell him the real story of St. Nicholas, and how God used him to bless people in need. And Santa Claus? That’s actually “Pretend Santa Claus”, who through centuries of traditions mimics Saint Nicholas, who did what God called him to do. Is he real? Well, he was, a very long time ago. Just a guy who loved Jesus and did what he could with what he had.
Do we still enjoy Santa things? Of course, because they’re cool midcentury decorative items (well, I do, but my kids think Santa is useless). We have some awesome retro Santa mugs and a really cool potholder, which someone probably made in the ’50’s while toddlers named Tommy and Sue were at her feet:
Here’s another midcentury staple: Shiny Brite ornaments! These were just normal to people who lived during the 1940’s-1960’s but so cool to us now.
Here are some more in a jar!
And the packaging they came in was equally awesome. I wish the glass company who made them was still in business! Look at these cute midcentury graphics!
Here’s a vintage silver tree with Shiny Brites on it (while we were still decorating apparently, because it isn’t very full yet)
Here’s a real-life example of a midcentury building, with its midcentury sign, and midcentury Christmas decorations to boot! (We took this picture while in Texas to meet Holly Mathis of Holly Mathis Interiors, which I will blog about later!):
Hubs and I love to spot and enjoy midcentury buildings…it was the last time there was any real style and design in buildings and houses!
Hope you all have a Merry Christmas, if I don’t get a chance to say hi to you until afterwards!