Do you notice how, when talking about the holidays, people toss around the words vintage and retro like they're things to be revered? While I know those German blown glass birds, circa 1910, may be fine things, they just don't have that much company.
Does anybody remember those Christmas corsages that women used to wear pinned to their coat lapels? I don't know when they died out but they were alive and well when I was a very young child in the early sixties. Understand these were not fresh flowers from the florist. Oh, no. They came from the dime store and were made up of beads, bells, ornaments, glitter, and little springs of fake greenery. Tacky though they sound, I know they could not have been considered so at the time because my grandmother, mother, and sister wore them and they didn't do tacky stuff.
In this golden age of glitter, we did not stop at decorating our persons with corsages. Oh, no. There was the glitter in the hair. Not that I personally had any, though I begged and begged. I'm not talking spray-in diamond dust. Hairdressers would spray lacquer onto freshly teased bouffant hairdos, sprinkle on honest to god glitter, and lacquer the whole thing again. One has to wonder why the hair didn't break like shattered glass. Maybe it did but, if so, it looked mighty festive as it met its end.
Maybe back then people felt compelled to decorate their persons because they didn't have so many house decorations. When I was a child, our inside decorations consisted of a tree, a centerpiece on the dining room table, and Christmas cards taped around the door. Outside, the front door had a cover that looked like a wrapped present and big colored lights around the windows. The lights had to be perfectly straight and they could not blink. (My mother said she would not have her house looking like honky-tonk.)
And that was all the decorating we did. It was all anybody did. Ours fit in two cardboard boxes that lived on the shelf of the living room closet.
In the early days, our tree was spruce pine, purchased at Namie's Market and put up one week before Christmas. Then came the dark, dark day when my mother decided she wanted an aluminum tree with a revolving color wheel, which she decorated exclusively with perfectly matched red glass balls. How I hated that thing. We didn't use it many years. I think I finally wore them down with my whining.
It's a wonder I survived childhood Christmases unscathed, what with being denied glitter in my hair and having to look at an aluminum tree. Of course, there was the corsage for consolation.
Do you have any holiday memories that make you cringe--even if you are smiling a little too?