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55 Old Fashioned Christmas Ideas

55 Old Fashioned Christmas Ideas will help fill your holiday with magic and find some of the enchantment experienced when you were young.   

If you’re looking for more ways to make your holiday more meaningful, 21 Hygge Christmas to Warm Your Soul and Creative Inexpensive Christmas Decorations will help you on your journey.  

55 Old Fashioned Christmas Ideas - Rustic background evergreen with plaid bow and star cookies
55 Old Fashioned Christmas Ideas & Tips

“He who has not Christmas in his heart will never find it under a tree.”

Roy L. Smith

Getting everything done can make your holiday season feel like a whirlwind of activity, but sometimes the whole reason we celebrate this time of year can get lost in to-do lists.  

I want an old fashioned Christmas, and I’m guessing you do too. The stress of everyday events has us yearning for a more simple life. Looking at our holiday traditions is a step in the right direction.  

What is an Old Fashioned Christmas?

It’s finding old fashioned values in a modern world. Instead of worrying about fashion labels and the latest trends, you look to create a Christmas that touches the hearts of your family and friends. 

What does an Old Fashioned Christmas look like? 

An old-fashioned Christmas looks like anything you want it to be. It’s everything you want to see, experience, and feel.  

It’s finding old fashioned Christmas activities that bring your family closer together, using old world Christmas recipes in your meals, finding old time Christmas traditions that everyone loves, and giving the perfect gifts that speak to the recipient’s soul. 

55 Old Fashioned Christmas Ideas
Old Christmas Traditions

Creating a Cozy Life

Since you found this article on old fashioned Christmas ideas, I’m guessing you like all things cozy living. I created a Facebook group called Creating a Cozy Life with over 122,000 like-minded souls.

It’s a group where we share recipes, pictures of things that leave you in awe, and ideas on how to make your life just a little bit more snug. Join here to be part of the virtual cozy cabin.

Here are the Old Fashioned Christmas Ideas

Old Fashioned Christmas Decorating Ideas Outside

Old Fashioned Christmas Decorating Ideas Outside - Door with Christmas Wreath
Old Fashioned Christmas Decorating Ideas Outside

1. Window Dressing

Window boxes are the perfect place to decorate for Christmas. Create a base of greenery and add sleigh bells, pinecones, mistletoe, Christmas lights, bows, and ornaments to dress up your windows.

2. Welcome Home

A sled or red wagon looks great on the front porch to welcome visitors and remind you of careening down those snowy hills. Hang a small wreath from the sled or put a small tree in the wagon for a festive touch.

3. Mr. Postman  

Decorate your mailbox to celebrate being the vessel to hold your greetings from family and friends. Add garland, bows, pinecones, and Christmas lights to dress your mailbox for the season.

4. Line the Path

Create ice lanterns to dot your walkway or driveway. Add sprigs of holly for a fun touch.

Old Fashioned Christmas Decorating Ideas Inside 

Old Fashioned Christmas Decorating Indoor

5. Walk Down Memory Lane

Replace all your family photographs around the house with pictures from previous Christmases. It’s a great way to surround your home with fond memories in your holiday decor.

6. Santa’s Visit

Put some flour on the fireplace and use boots to make prints. If you get up right before the kids, putting a bit of crushed ice inside the hearth would be a fun way to show Santa Claus visited your home. The Christmas season is an opportunity to add a little magic to your days.

7. Letters From Home

Have a small Christmas tree set up in your entrance way and add the Christmas cards you get by punching a hole in the corner and hanging them on the tree with ribbon.

Old Fashion Christmas - Paper Snowflakes in Window with Twinkle Lights
Old Fashion Christmas – Paper Snowflakes in Window

8. Let it Snow

Make paper snowflakes to decorate the whole house. Add some snowflakes to the Christmas tree, place some on the window, and string some together on the strand to make a garland. Snowflakes are a simple decoration to use that you can leave up throughout the winter season.

9. Canopy of Joy

Add white Christmas lights to each of your bedroom’s ceilings. White twinkling lights are pure magic remembering them as the last thing you see before going to sleep will ensure sweet dreams.

10. Nativity Set

Make the nativity set take center stage in your living room by placing it in a place of honor. Make sure you don’t put baby Jesus in the manger. Place one piece of straw on the cradle every day in December. On Christmas morning, before the kids get up, add baby Jesus to the manger and take some time to celebrate his arrival.

11. Chestnuts Roasting

When was the last time you gathered your family together and roasted chestnuts? They taste delicious if you slather them with butter and sugar. It’s time to bring that tradition back to your life.

Old Christmas Traditions - Christmas Mantle with Greenery
Old Christmas Traditions – Christmas Mantle with Greenery

12. Mantel Love

Add greenery all along your mantle and fresh red and green apples and pears peeking out among the branches. By using fresh fruit in your decor, it will give your rooms that old fashioned feel you crave.

13. Toasty Warm

Have a large basket filled with warm blankets to grab while relaxing on the couch. Nothing says cozy during the holiday season, like having blankets to snuggle in while watching Christmas movies.

14. Festive Words

Spell out “Merry Christmas” with alphabet wood blocks. They still make those blocks today. You can find a set here.

15. My Very Own

Each person in your family has a small Christmas tree in their bedroom decked with ornaments that reflect their hobbies or interests. You can also hang Christmas crackers on the tree.

16. Stocking History

Have a patchwork Christmas stocking made from a deceased loved one’s ties. You can add tie tacks or cuff links to bejewel the trim.

Old Fashioned Christmas Decor - Christmas Cactus
Old Fashioned Christmas Decor – Christmas Decor

17. Bloom Where Planted

There’s a bit of magic when you see a plant that blooms during the coldest part of the year. How about having Christmas cactus hang in your window? Paperwhites are gorgeous flowers and can be forced to bloom at the perfect time. Holiday flowers add a touch of glamour to your home.

18. Artistic Side

Why should your windows miss out on all the fun? Let each family member decorate a window. You can use tempera paints for easier removal if someone decides to use their painting skills to celebrate the season.

19. Dinner’s On

Display your Christmas menu on a large chalkboard so everyone knows in advance what tantalizing recipes to look forward to eating.

20. Well-Dressed Chair

Add a small green wreath and bow to the back of all your kitchen chairs to create a festive touch.

21. Mother Nature

Place a small living cedar tree for each place setting.

22. Where’s My Seat?

Instead of placards, how about designating where each person sat with a photo of them when they were little during Christmas? You can make a copy of the photograph and put it on cardboard paper and fold it into a tent. You could also put each photo in a small frame.

“My idea of Christmas, whether old-fashioned or modern, is very simple: loving others.”

Bob Hope

How to decorate an Old Fashioned Christmas Tree

Old Fashioned Christmas Tree Ornaments
Old Fashioned Christmas Tree Ornaments – Bake Cookies

23. Choo-Choo

Set up an electric train underneath the Christmas tree. There’s nothing more fun than a train racing around the base of a holiday tree.

24. Natural Instincts

Stringing cranberries and popcorn for the garland of the tree never gets old. You could also dry apple and orange slices and hang them as ornaments. Old-fashioned Christmas cookies will give your tree a homespun look.

25. Days Gone By

Why not bring your past to the present? Hang your children’s baby spoons, rattles, and children’s mittens on the tree to remind you of such a treasured part of your life. Grandpa’s pocket watch, grandma’s brooch, or mom’s handkerchief are other ideas to add a little history to your tree.

26. Christmas Pickle

The Christmas pickle ornament is a lessor-known tradition that started in America. Most people think it started in Germany – but that is a myth. The Christmas pickle is hidden in the Christmas tree. The first child that finds the ornament receives an extra gift to open.

To find out more about the Christmas pickle tradition, I wrote an article about it.

Old Fashioned Christmas Recipes

Photo of Old Fashioned Christmas Baking Cookies
Old Fashion Christmas Baking Cookies

27. Chocolate Dreams

Make your own hot chocolate from scratch. Why not try making homemade marshmallows while you’re at it? You can add a hot chocolate bar to your kitchen.

28. Heritage Nourishment 

Bring those delicious recipes from the past back to life by giving them a place of honor on your table.

If your heritage is Norwegian, then Kringla cookies added to your baked goods would be a great tribute to your family history. Tamales for Christmas is a yummy tradition that would be a delicious way to salute your Hispanic background.

Using heirloom recipes is an easy way to enjoy an olde fashioned Christmas through flavors.

29. Breakfast-in-Bed

Gingerbread pancakes with maple syrup and freshly squeezed orange juice are just some ideas to create the ultimate breakfast-in-bed experience. It’s a fun Christmas celebration that everyone will love.

Old Fashioned Christmas Presents

Old Fashioned Christmas Present with Brown Wrapping Paper and Evergreen Sprigs
Old Fashioned Christmas Present

30. Star Magic

Put a star on the one gift each person can open on Christmas Eve. Opening one gift early is one of the favorite old-fashioned Christmas traditions everyone loves.

31. Naturally Festive

Small trees are the perfect gift to give to neighbors. Have the kids create homemade ornaments to hang on the trees by drawing pictures of birds, bird nests, squirrels, acorns, and pinecones

32. Perfectly Personalized

Who wouldn’t love monogrammed pajamas to wear on Christmas Eve?

33. Angelic Thoughts

For that special someone who has always been your angel, get her an angel to let her know how grateful you are.

34. Gift of Time

Finding moments to spend one-on-one time with your children can be challenging. Create coupons for your kids that will give them those special moments. The coupons could include teaching them something, taking them somewhere, or giving them a gift of an experience.

Old Fashion Christmas Ideas - Family Christmas Recipes - Waffles with Sprinkles
Old Fashion Christmas Ideas – Family Christmas Recipes

35. Culinary Magic

Compile all your favorite family recipes and make a book to give to all your family and extended family members as a gift.

36. Sweet Thoughts

Hang a single mitten filled with goodies like truffles, hot cider mixes, and candy canes on your neighbor’s front doors. Sometimes simple Christmas gifts can have a big impact on neighbors and friends.

37. Jewels for the Tree

Give each family member and your friends an ornament that marks an accomplishment for the year.

38. Four-Legged Friends

Make homemade dog biscuits for your family and friends with furry family members.

Old Fashioned Christmas Traditions

Old Fashioned Christmas Toys
Old Time Christmas Decorations

39. Holiday Lights

Find out where all the best displays of Christmas lights are and tour the areas equipped with hot cocoa and hot apple cider.  

Decide as a family which house was the best dressed and send them a thank you note for the enjoyment you received because of the care they took to decorate it.

40. Bubble Queen

Treat yourself to a Christmas bubble bath complete with Christmas scented candles and gingerbread sugar scrub.

41. Wishful Thinking

Write your wishes for the future of each family member and have each person wrap up their thoughts. Open these unique gifts in front of a roaring fire on Christmas Day.

42. Picture Perfect

Take a family photograph every Christmas. Stretch your creativity by changing the family picture each year with a different theme.  

For instance, one year you can take a picture of the whole family building a gingerbread house, another year building a snowman, and another year of the family making snow angels.

Old Fashioned Christmas Traditions - Christmas Movie Night
Old Fashioned Christmas Traditions – Christmas Movie Night

43. Home Not Alone

Watch your favorite family Christmas movie every year. Make a big production out of the night by all wearing Santa hats, munching on peppermint bark, and sipping hot cocoa.

44. Being Campy

Camp out under the Christmas tree one night every year. Lay out the sleeping bags and sleep together as a family near the twinkling lights of your holiday tree. Talk about your favorite Christmas memories.

45. Fresh Air

Create a tradition of snowshoeing on the morning of Christmas Eve. There is something so serene about being out in nature and taking in all her wonder.

46. Family Memories

Inspire older family members to include one Christmas holiday memory in their Christmas cards to family members every year. Sharing your memories is a wonderful way to document your family history and family traditions experienced in the past.

Old Fashion Christmas Activities - Ice Skating
Old Fashion Christmas Activities – Ice Skating

47. Ice Crazy

Start an annual tradition of going ice skating as a family. Everyone has to pick out a crazy hat to wear for this outing.

48. Holiday Guests

Use a special tablecloth reserved for an old fashioned Christmas dinner. Have everyone at the dinner sign their name on the tablecloth. Embroider each signature as a distinct reminder of Christmas pasts.

49. Christmas Tradition of Good Thoughts

Place all the Christmas cards you receive together in a basket. Every evening, take one card out and have the family pray for the family that sent it.

Old Fashioned Holiday Traditions - Christmas Seafood Dishes
Old Fashioned Christmas Traditions – Seafood Dishes

50. Feast of Seven Fishes

This Italian-American tradition involves serving a meal of seven different seafood dishes on Christmas Eve. It symbolizes the vigil before the birth of Jesus.

51. Spread Love

There are so many people who have a difficult time during the holidays. Ease the burden of others by making it a family tradition to show kindness throughout this magical season.

As a family, shovel an older neighbor’s driveways and sidewalks, offer to run errands for those having a hard time leaving their home, or volunteering at a soup kitchen are just a few ways to make the world a better place.

52. Time Capsule 

Why not make this year the year you created a Christmas Time Capsule?  

Some of the items you might want to include are wish lists, letters to Santa, a written menu of what you had for dinner, and each person’s favorite thing they did this year.

53. Child in Need  

One of the ways you can teach your children not to accumulate too much stuff is after they open all their presents, they are to find the same number of used toys to donate to children that would love to have their gently used items.

Old Fashioned Christmas Ideas - Reading with Christmas mug
Old Fashioned Christmas Ideas – Reading

54. 12 Days of Reading  

Why not read a different Christmas book each day, counting down the 12 days of Christmas? As a family, you could snuggle in the same bed and read the text out loud.

55. Phone Caroling

Who says you have to go door to door to sing Christmas carols? Bring a smile to out-of-state relatives by starting a phone caroling tradition.  

Pick one or two of your favorite Christmas songs to sing together as family carolers and practice before calling.

Where to buy old fashioned Christmas lights? 

You want to use something other than vintage lighting because of the fire hazard. Thank goodness manufacturers now make Christmas lighting that recreates the lighting of yesteryear.  

Here’s a string of old fashioned Christmas lights on Amazon.

Where to buy old fashioned Christmas hard candy? 

Old Fashioned Christmas Candy
Old Fashioned Christmas Hard Candy

Why not try your hand at making old-fashioned Christmas hard candy yourself? It would be a fun Christmas tradition to add to your schedule.  

The good news is if you don’t have the time to make it – there are lots of candy makers that can help you give sweetness during this magical holiday.  

Where to buy old fashioned Christmas decorations?  

Have you ever seen an old fashioned Christmas bubble lights for the tree? They are simply stunning.

They also have clear bubble lights with silver glitter. You can find some here on Amazon.

FAQ about Old Fashioned Christmas Ideas

What are some traditional Christmas decorations and ornaments from the past?

Traditional decorations included handmade paper chains, popcorn strings, candles in clip-on holders, and hand-blown ornaments. Natural elements like ivy, holly, and mistletoe were also used for decorating.

How did people exchange gifts in the past during Christmas?

Gift-giving was often a simple affair in the past with homemade gifts such as knitted items, baked goods, and handcrafted toys. It was common for families to exchange one or two meaningful gifts rather than the abundance of presents seen in modern times.

What were some classic Christmas recipes and meals from the past?

Classic dishes like roast goose, chestnut stuffing, figgy pudding, and mince pies were all recipes from yesteryear. These dishes were often made from scratch with seasonal ingredients.

What were the typical Christmas traditions and activities in the past?

Christmas traditions from the past included caroling from door-to-door, hanging stockings by the fireplace to be filled with small gifts and fruits, and gathering for festive meals and storytelling. Families would also often participate in community events and church services.

How did people decorate Christmas trees in the past?

Early Christmas tree decorations included candles, which were lit for a short time during the holiday season, along with handcrafted ornaments like paper ornaments, and gingerbread cookies. Tinsel made of real silver or lead was used before the introduction of modern metallic tinsel.

Congratulations, you made it through all 55 Old Fashioned Christmas Ideas!

With the bustle of the holiday season, slowing down and incorporating new traditions in your life is the best way to spend quality time with friends and family.

Put the Christmas music on and grab a pen and paper and outline how you can turn your Christmas into the holiday you’ve always dreamed about.  

It’s important to remember all the simple things in life and create happy memories for both friends and family.

Be sure to join the Creating a cozy life group. You’re not going to believe how amazing it is!

I created a pin for you below to add to your Christmas Pinterest board to refer back to this article.

You can follow me here on PINTEREST. If you use any of these ideas and take a photo, be sure to tag me here on INSTAGRAM.

We wish you a magical old fashioned Christmas that warms your heart.

Related Old Fashioned Christmas Posts

For more ideas on how to have an old fashioned Christmas – check out these 75 Easy Christmas Craft Ideas to keep your home feeling merry and bright on Country Living.

55 Old Fashioned Christmas Ideas - if you're looking for creative Christmas decor and traditions, this article will help you on your journey. / Traditional Christmas Ideas / Warm Christmas Aesthetic / Xmas Ideas / Christmas Decor Ideas / Old Time Christmas Ideas
55 Old Fashioned Christmas Ideas

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Jackie

Monday 11th of December 2023

These Christmas decor ideas are so cute! I still need to get my tree up! Thanks for sharing these amazing ideas!!!

Musical Pipes

Monday 27th of November 2023

We love playing pipe chimes on Christmas Eve. Think bell choir but way easier. No musical talent needed and the kids and grandparents can all play together. So much fun and sounds really pretty (if you can get through the song).

Betsy

Wednesday 2nd of November 2022

I love this. Good job. One thing I might mention…the 12 days of Christmas begin on Christmas and end on Jan 6 at Epiphany. It’s a common misconception that the 12 days lead to Christmas Day.

Kelly

Friday 4th of November 2022

Thank you for letting me know Betsy!

Yvonne

Thursday 25th of November 2021

Wonderful ideas; thank you so much!! I can t wait to share them with my daughter as she and her new husband start their family!

Kelly

Friday 26th of November 2021

Thank you so much Yvonne! I'm so glad you enjoyed them. Kelly

Old Fashioned Outdoor Christmas Lights - ChristmasGift

Friday 19th of November 2021

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