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Have Yourself a Very Vintage Christmas: Crafts, Decorating Tips, and Recipes, 1920s-1960s Hardcover – November 1, 2011
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About the Author
Susan Waggoner has written numerous fiction and nonfiction books, including STC’s It’s a Wonderful Christmas, Under the Tree, Christmas Memories, and, with Robert Markel, Cocktail Hour, Vintage Cocktails, and Make Mine Vodka. Waggoner lives in New York City.
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She explains about this 2011 book, "[The book] came about after several years of looking at old Christmas catalogues, old Christmas cards, and old family photos... What I saw was a wonderful world of memory, loaded to the gills with decorations no longer made. I wanted them badly. And I didn't want the tattered, torn, and faded items that had survived in someone's attic. I wanted to see them as they might have looked when they were new. To I decided to try to make them for myself. This book is the result of those efforts..." (Pg. 7)
She notes, "Trees of the '20s were round and fat, so full that to get the desired girth people often bought a tree that was taller than the room it was intended for and lopped off the top. The practice was so common that tree toppers played no part in many homes, which were expensive and consumed large amounts of electricity. Despite the lack of lights, trees of this era had impressive dazzle and a distinctive charm all their own. Balls and glass ornaments were less numerous but more distinctive than those of today. Almost all had been hand-cast and hand-painted in Germany, and were sold as expensive individual items rather than by the box or the dozen." (Pg. 14)
She observes, "Many Christmas decorations of the 1930s---especially the expensive ones---were holdovers from the 1920s. When they broke or wore out, they were not replaced in kind, but gave way to something far less costly. Yet people still found ways to make Christmas seem fresh and new, and Christmases of the '30s were as festive as any others, even on a shoestring budget. A key player in all this was Woolworth's. Not only did the famous dime store sell premade decorations for less, but it also fueled a craft boom by selling ribbons, embroidery thread, patterns, fabrics, sequins, glue, and other items at low prices. One could go into the store with little to spend and come out with all the items needed for a Christmas that his all the right style notes..." (Pg. 34)
She says, "In 1931, Santa's popularity got a huge boost, when the first of Haddon Sundblom's ads for Coca-Cola appeared. Santa had been around for years, of course, but the European Santa was thin and somewhat frightening, and the pre-Sundblom American version, while rotund, oftenn looked weighed down by his responsibilities. But Sundblom painted Santa as an overgrown child, and he was an immediate hit with adults and children alike." (Pg. 35)
She suggests, "Previously, the fireplace mantel had often been the focus of the room, with the tree standing to the side. Modern homes frequently lacked fireplaces or, if they had them, featured low ledges rather than mantels. Without a stocking-bedecked mantel to compete with, the tree was the most important decoration in the house, and homeowners often framed the tree in the picture window for the whole neighborhood to admire." (Pg. 76)
She points out, "Two trends shaped the tree of the '60s. The first was the continued movement away from natural trees. The aluminum tree of the late '50s was still to be seen, but the signature tree of the decade was definitely the flocked tree. SInce trees had first been brought indoors, people had looked for a way to give them a touch of snow... Then, in the '60s, professionally flocked trees became available. They were beautiful, lush, and came in a variety of colors." (Pg. 96)
This book probably won't appeal to as many readers as Waggoner's other Christmas books (because so much of it is devoted to "How-To" explanations of making decorations by hand), but it's still most interesting reading for all lovers of Christmas.
Most of the decorations are for small items made of paper. There are lots of paper templates and simple craft ideas.
The book is OK, but I was not terribly impressed. Most of the decorations are things that can be purchased for a reasonable price flea markets or low-end antique shops, so why make it yourself?
I expected more display ideas and there were not many. This is mostly a crafts book.
In the candy recipes I found the cornflake candies! The only difference was Grannie dotted hers with candied cherries.
If you're a bah humbug, this book will lift your spirits and allow you to remember what it was like to be waiting on Christmas.
is not my idea of Vintage Decorating Tips.