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24 Ideas For A Nostalgic Christmas

These 24 ideas for a nostalgic Christmas are sure to bring back the beautiful memories of Christmases past, and even better, create new, nostalgic memories for years to come!

Old fashioned Christmas decor
Nostalgic Christmas

What is a nostalgic Christmas?

Simply put, it's going back to the simple, old fashioned values of generations past. A nostalgic Christmas strives to capture a memory or a feeling of the Christmases you, your parents and your grandparents, grew up with. It's really about incorporating the traditions of simpler times, that are important to you and your family.

What does a nostalgic Christmas look like?

A nostalgic Christmas is going to look differently for each of us. There is no specific way to celebrate, or decorate for it. The key to a nostalgic Christmas though, is about not getting caught up in the materialism of our modern day society. Rather than making Christmas about adhering to the latest trends and styles, it is about embracing the timeless traditions that speak to the true meaning of the season.

"Gifts of time and love are surly the basic ingredients of a truly merry Christmas." Peg Bracken

Family Decorating An Outdoor Christmas Tree
Family Christmas

I believe that, at it's core, the desire to embrace a nostalgic or old-fashioned Christmas, is really, the desire for a simple, authentic celebration of the season. It's about saying "no" to the materialistic, and chaotically busy Christmas of modern day society that leaves everyone feeling overwhelmed and under appreciated. And, it's about saying "yes" to a slower, more intentional Christmas where everyone feels connected and valued. Most importantly, it's about making room for the true meaning of Christmas to settle deeply within our hearts.

For unto us a Child is born
Isaiah 9:6

At the end of this post I've included a little preview of few of my Christmas favorites;

My all-time favorite Christmas tree

My favorite Christmas cookie recipe Toblerone Shortbread! (You HAVE to try these!)

24 Ideas For A Nostalgic Christmas

Ideas For A Nostalgic, Old Fashioned Christmas

How to decorate for a nostalgic Christmas

1. Cut down your own tree.

A truly nostalgic Christmas needs a fresh cut tree. While you can purchase fresh cut trees at your local garden centers or grocery stores, your best bet for that old fashioned Christmas feeling, is to head out into the woods and cut down your own. Just be sure to pick up a permit!

Fresh Cut Christmas Tree
Fresh Cut Christmas Tree

2. Decorate your house and your tree with hand-crafted ornaments and nature's bounty.

  • popcorn and cranberry strands

  • Christmas cookies cutouts

  • paper chains

  • paper snowflakes

  • pinecones

  • birch logs

  • pine boughs

Hand-crafted Christmas decor
Hand-crafted Christmas decor

3. Incorporate your grandma's vintage ornaments.

I have a lovely collection of vintage ornaments and many of them are from my late grandmother's tree. Some of them are faded and chipped but I'm not bothered by that. They graced her tree once upon a time, and now they grace mine. It doesn't get more nostalgic than that.

Vintage Christmas Ornaments
My Grandmothers Vintage Christmas Ornaments

4. Use live plants like paperwhites, amaryllis and poinsettias in your decor scheme.

5. Line your outdoor pathway with ice lanterns.

6. Hang real stockings by the fireplace.

I just really love this idea! It's simple and sweet and very much in keeping with a nostalgic Christmas!

7. Consider setting up an old fashioned choo choo train around the base of your Christmas tree.

Nostalgic Gift-giving

8. Make, instead of buy Christmas gifts for loved ones. Here are a few ideas;

  • knitted hats, scarves, mittens, socks

  • hand crafted wooden toys

  • home baked or home canned goods

9. Wrap gifts in brown paper.

Brown Paper Packages Tied Up With String
Brown Paper Packages Tied Up With String

10. Send cards/letters in the mail. Handwritten, not typed.

Nostalgic Christmas Activities

11. Listen to "old-fashioned" Christmas music.

We're talking all of the old style Christmas crooners like Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, Nat King Cole, Ella Fitzgerald etc..... If you're really looking for that vintage vibe, you could invest in the old style vinyl record players and search out a some vintage Christmas records. Listening to Christmas music this way will up the nostalgic feelings bigtime!!

12. Go for a walk in a winter wonderland or

13. Go ice-skating together! (Preferably at an outdoor rink or on a river or lake.)

Simple, old-fashioned outdoor activities are a wonderful (and free!) way to creating a nostalgic feel to your Christmas holidays.

Ice Skating On A Lake - Christmas activity
Ice Skating On A Lake

14. Go caroling.

I know. This is on every single list you'll ever read about trying to create a nostalgic, old-fashioned Christmas. But when was the last time you actually did it? It really can feel a little intimidating to share your voice with your neighborhood, but I promise you, they will love it! It doesn't have to be fancy and you don't have to know a bunch of different songs. Rotating between three or four songs that your family is familiar with will suffice for an evening of caroling. You could also invite a family or two or more! to join you for the evening.

15. Take advantage of the (often free!) activities hosted in your community.

  • Check out Christmas lights displays.

  • Get yourselves to the Christmas parade!

  • Check out the local Christmas markets where community members share their local wares.

Christmas Market Vintage Ornaments
Christmas Market

16. Roast chestnuts over an open fire.

After coming back home from your outdoor adventures, light up the fire in your fireplace or in your backyard firepit. Roasting chestnuts is wonderful way to add to those nostalgic Christmas feelings.

17. Read a classic Christmas story aloud to your family, AND

18. Share your favorite Christmas memories.

Who doesn't love a good story? Whether it be a Charles Dickens classic, or your grandma's and grandpa's favorite childhood memories, there is nothing like sharing a story together to bring out all the nostalgic feels. Gather your family together around the Christmas tree. Make it super cozy with blankets and glowing candles and popcorn and hot cocoa.

19. Do a Christmas puzzle as a family.

(And be sure to listen to your old-fashioned Christmas crooners while you do!)

20. Host a nostalgic Christmas party.

It doesn't have to be fancy or large unless you want it to be! Here are few ideas to consider;

  • make it a potluck where everyone brings an "old-fashioned" style dish

  • host a breakfast or brunch; again, this could be a pot-luck

  • keep it simple and host a Christmas Tea; serve old-fashioned sweet treats like plum pudding, mince meat tarts, shortbread cookies and gingerbread.

  • maybe skip the "ugly sweater" party if you're looking to keep it nostalgic

  • and of course, DO play your nostalgic Christmas music!

Family Christmas Party
Family Christmas Party

21. Go to a Christmas Eve service.

Nostalgic Christmas Food

22. Bake "old-fashioned" Christmas desserts and cookies.

Old Fashioned Christmas Cookies
Old Fashioned Christmas Cookies

23. Make hot chocolate and homemade eggnog from scratch.

24. Make a special Christmas meal from scratch.

I'm not referring to the traditional turkey dinner served on Christmas day, here. This would be a meal served on a regular day of the week but made extra special, just because. Take your time as you prepare this made from scratch meal. Light a candle in your kitchen as you cook. And play your favorite Christmas music. Get the whole family involved in the process. Consider making a special recipe from your grandmother's kitchen. And of course, eat this special, made from scratch dinner by candlelight!

The most important aspect of embracing a nostalgic Christmas is about keeping it real, and keeping it simple. Let go of the unrealistic expectations of perfection, and strive instead, for authentic connection. Decide what's important for you and your family, and do your best to keep to those values!

If embracing a more intentional, nostalgic Christmas is important to you, you might like this post,

My Christmas Favorites

Setting up a Hot Cocoa Bar is a great way to gather friends and family together!

 Hot Cocoa Bar
My Hot Cocoa Bar

These Toblerone Shortbread Cookies are a staple on my Christmas cookie plate.

Toblerone Shortbread Cookies
My Toblerone Shortbread Cookies

This Nature Inspired Christmas Tree will go down as one of my all-time favorites!

Nature Inspired Christmas
My Nature Inspired Christmas

For more inspiration;

Join our Cozy Christmas group on Facebook and share your favorite ideas and inspiration for Christmas!

And follow Holiness & Hygge on Facebook for daily encouragement and Biblical truths.

May your Christmas be blessed!

Love Melinda


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Your most important ministry Beloved, happens within the walls of your home. Homemaking is about so much more than cooking and cleaning and doing the laundry. While it does include those things, homemaking is also about creating a home atmosphere of peace and security. It is about cultivating a place where you and your loved ones can experience grace and forgiveness, and grow in relationship with Jesus.  Holiness & Hygge is really about holy homemaking. Because what better place is there for you and your family to experience and extend, the love of Jesus?

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