The Christmas tree is one of the most popular festive additions; once we have put up our tree it really starts to feel like Christmas! Trends and fashions appear to change every few years, with people opting for different types of decoration and style. Often there is a particular theme that people latch on to, and here we thought we’d look at some of the retro Christmas trees that been around over the last 100 years! Maybe if you’re lucky, you’ll even find some Retro Sweets under your tree this year.


retro christmas tree

Large, mismatched ornaments were a big trend during this time, along with pierced tins to create lanterns. This created the same twinkly glow as the electric lights we have today. Trees also became gradually bigger as people became enamoured with the idea of having their own fir tree in the house. During the 1920s, tree toppers such as a star or angel became more popular.


Decorations used on trees in the 1930s were sparse and consisted of mainly handmade items such as popcorn strung on to a thread, pine cones and paper decorations if plastic ornaments were too expensive.


Natural trees became a popular choice in the 40s, particularly for Americans. Trees such as Balsam Fir, Black Spruce and White Spruce were the preferred choice. Popular ornaments at the time included illuminated figures and candy containers.


Tinsel and tinsel garlands were highly popular during the 50s. In fact, they were used more than lights – mainly because they were less of a fire hazard. It was perhaps more about the tree itself than the decorations in this particular decade.


The futuristic look of fake trees came into fashion during the 60s, but it didn’t stop there. Artificial tree branches were coated in flocking; a chemically-created substance that resembled snow! The white trees suited the streamlined home décor of this decade.


During this period of time, natural trees returned to favour and mismatched ornaments were back. This time, it was a mix of family traditions and personal taste, sometimes including homemade ornaments that had been passed down through generations.


In the 90s, department stores began selling decoration ‘theme’ sets with matching textures, ornaments and colours. People even began to employ professionals to decorate their trees! The 1990s saw an influx of themed Christmas trees and other decorations around the house.

2010 onwards

New technology has brought innovative Christmas trees that go above and beyond the simplicity of what they used to be when the custom was invented in the 16th century. Wireless lights and modern designs will no doubt continue to thrive in the years to come.