It is well known that from 1946 to 1964 America experienced a baby boom. These post-war years showed an increase in U.S. babies like never before. A time of increased optimism and stability, the population explosion during these years expanded the middle class and helped define the suburban dream. Savvy manufacturers were quick to get new and exciting products to market for this new, large group of consumers; and there was no better time of year than Christmas to do it.
As a result, Christmastime is the one time of year that we try to trigger the excited nostalgia of childhood holidays. Year after year, the same stockings are hung by the chimney with care- while dusty and battered ornament boxes with their torn cellophane covers, are brought down from the attic.
Sure, savvy marketers have tried to capitalize on current trends over the years; with their Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle ornaments and Disney themed Christmas stockings; but to baby boomers, holiday decorations are sacred and very few new-age holiday decorations make the cut.
Here are 5 Holiday Decorations Baby Boomers Treasure
1) Tree Lights: Every year Dad would bring out a giant jumble of large, egg-shaped, brightly colored
beauties. Because they became hot to the touch, at least one child would become physically and mentally scarred while hanging ornaments. Extra fun could be had because these lights were designed so that if one bulb was burnt out, the entire string went dead.
2) Gurley Christmas Candles: These dime-store novelties graced end tables and mantles beginning in the 1930s. Though each one was made with a wick, using a Gurley candle as a practical candle turned these adorable little signing choir kids into the stuff nightmares are made of. This is why most folks chose to place them on a shelf to collect dust for a month instead.
3) Christmas Elves: Beginning in the late 1950s and long before “Elf on a Shelf” hit the bookstores, these tiny “knee hugger” felt-bodied elves with devilish grins delighted children of all ages. Imported from Japan, these wildly popular pixies could be hung on a tree on posed on a mantle. Oh, and back then, they stayed put and minded their own business.
4) Blow Mold Lawn Ornaments: Popularized by Don Featherstone’s Pink Flamingo craze in the late 1950s, plastic lawn ornaments are still sought afterand displayed today. These vintage, toddler -sized candles were wildly popular and held the tacky title until inflatable lawn ornaments made the scene.
5) Shiny-Brite Ornaments: By far the leader in Christmas Tree ornaments, Shiny-Brite began mass producing these in 1937. These delicate baubles broke easily and the glass slivers reminded us that maybe we should ask Santa for slippers too.
6) Tinsel: This decorative garland was first manufactured to resemble icicles hanging from a tree. First produced using slivers of silver, they began producing them in lead to prevent unsightly tarnishing. Of course, that came with another set of problems. Today’s tinsel is made using PVC coated with a metallic finish. Not to worry, your cat will find it to be just as delicious as the original.
7) Aluminum Christmas Tree: Never meant to replace a live tree, these novelty décor trees made the scene in 1958 and were popular until the mid-to- late 60s. Aluminum Specialty Co., which made housewares and toys, marketed the “Evergleam” trees as safer, inflammable trees. Light enough for women to lift and assemble without help from a man, this tree is considered prophetic of the 1970’s by some.
Do you have a favorite Christmas decoration or tradition that you still enjoy?