10 Nostalgic Holiday Traditions from the 70s That’ll Bring Back Memories

Do you ever find yourself longing for the Christmases of the 1970s? The decade was full of unique holiday customs that hold a special place in many hearts. This article will take you on a nostalgic trip through some of the beloved holiday traditions from that colorful era.

From funky decorations to homemade treats, 70s Christmas celebrations had a distinctive charm.

Get ready to revisit those joyful memories and perhaps even find a few traditions to rekindle in your own holiday festivities this year.

1) Making Popcorn Garlands

Making popcorn garlands was a popular holiday activity back in the 70s.

It brings a homemade touch to your Christmas decorations and is a fun project for the whole family.

Start with some freshly popped popcorn.

Air-popped works best since it doesn’t have any added butter or oil.

Let the popcorn sit for a day so it becomes a little stale.

This makes it easier to string without breaking.

Thread a needle with sturdy thread or dental floss.

Tie a knot at one end.

Push the needle through the center of each popcorn piece, carefully pulling it through to the end of the thread.

You can mix it up by alternating popcorn with cranberries for some festive color.

Other fun additions include cinnamon sticks or dried orange slices.

This simple craft not only adds a charming, old-fashioned look to your tree, but it’s also a great way to spend time together during the holiday season.

So gather your supplies, put on a Christmas movie, and enjoy this nostalgic tradition.

2) Caroling with Neighbors

Back in the 70s, one of the best parts of the holiday season was caroling with your neighbors.

You’d gather a group of friends, bundle up in warm clothes, and go door-to-door singing Christmas songs.

It didn’t matter if you were good at singing; it was all about spreading cheer.

You might remember the crisp winter air and the decorated houses lit up with colorful lights.

Sometimes, people would invite you inside for hot cocoa or cookies.

It was a simple, joyful way to connect with the community.

Caroling brought everyone together, young and old.

You’d sing classics like “Jingle Bells” and “Silent Night.” The songs made the cold nights feel warm and bright.

Taking part in this tradition made you feel like you belonged to something special.

The tradition of caroling has ancient roots in Europe but became a significant holiday activity in the United States by the 19th century.

By the 70s, this practice was a staple in many neighborhoods across the country.

It was a time to forget about everyday worries and just enjoy the music and laughter.

Rekindling this effort to share joy through song could bring back a sense of community that feels lost today.

Give it a try this holiday season—you might just start a new-old tradition in your neighborhood.

3) Baking Gingerbread Houses

Baking gingerbread houses was a fun and creative holiday activity in the 70s.

Families gathered in the kitchen to mix, bake, and decorate these sweet structures.

The smell of gingerbread filled the house, bringing everyone into the festive spirit.

You started by mixing the dough, rolling it out, and cutting it into various shapes.

Classic gingerbread houses had walls, roofs, and chimneys ready to be assembled.

There was something magical about seeing plain pieces transform into a charming little house.

Decorating was the best part.

You used colorful candies, icing, and other sweet treats to give your house character.

Gumdrops lined the roof, candy canes framed the door, and icing became icicles and snow.

This activity wasn’t just about making a pretty house.

It was about spending time with loved ones and creating memories.

Even if your house collapsed or didn’t look perfect, it was the laughter and love that mattered most.

Baking gingerbread houses became a cherished tradition, bringing generations together every year.

The gingerbread house symbolized the warmth and joy of the holiday season, making it a beloved part of holiday celebrations in the 70s.

4) Watching ‘A Charlie Brown Christmas’

In the 70s, one of the most cherished holiday traditions was gathering around the TV to watch “A Charlie Brown Christmas.”

You’d hear the familiar piano notes of Vince Guaraldi’s music and instantly feel the holiday spirit.

This classic special was a must-watch for families every year.

Charlie Brown’s quest to find the true meaning of Christmas resonated with everyone.

You couldn’t help but root for him as he brought home that tiny, sad-looking tree, hoping to make it special.

The messages about friendship and the simple joys of the season made it a beautiful way to kick off your holiday celebrations.

You probably remember quoting lines from the show with your friends.

With its charming story and iconic characters, “A Charlie Brown Christmas” became a timeless tradition that brought a bit of magic to your living room every December.

5) Building Snowforts

During the 70s, building snowforts was a classic winter pastime.

You’d bundle up in your warmest clothes and head outside for a day of fun.

You’d start by gathering as much snow as possible, usually by shoveling it into a big pile.

Then you and your friends would hollow out the inside, creating a cozy little fort.

To make the walls stronger, you might pack the snow tightly or even sprinkle some water on it to freeze.

Some kids would get creative, adding small windows or decorating with colorful water.

You’d collect a bunch of snowballs to stockpile inside your fort.

This was key for snowball fights or games like capture the flag.

Building snowforts was not just about construction; it was about making memories with friends and staying active during the cold months.

6) Decorating with Tinsel

In the 70s, tinsel was a huge part of Christmas decor.

You’d find those shiny strands on just about every tree.

It added a glittering, shimmering effect that made everything feel a bit more magical.

Tinsel was super easy to use.

You simply draped it over the branches of your Christmas tree.

It reflected the lights beautifully and made the whole tree sparkle.

People loved tinsel for its old-world charm.

It was traditional yet still felt fresh and exciting back then.

Plus, it was cheap and cheerful, making it a staple in many homes.

Whether you went for silver, gold, or even colored tinsel, it was all about creating that dazzling, festive look.

It wasn’t just for the tree either.

Folks often used tinsel to decorate mantels, doorways, and even wrapped it around stair railings.

Handmade ornaments paired great with tinsel.

The glitter combined with homemade touches added a personal and unique feeling to holiday decor.

7) Sending Handmade Cards

In the 70s, sending handmade holiday cards was a popular and heartfelt tradition.

You would gather around the table with your family, spreading out colorful paper, markers, and glue.

Everyone got a chance to showcase their creativity.

Handmade cards stood out because they were unique and personal.

You could draw, add glitter, or even paste family photos.

The effort put into each card made them special to the recipient.

There was no need for fancy materials.

Simple supplies from the local store were enough.

Sometimes, you might even use recycled paper.

The focus was on the time and care invested.

Sending these cards was more than just sharing holiday wishes.

It was a way of connecting with loved ones.

You would spend hours making each card perfect and then excitedly drop them in the mail, hoping they would bring joy.

Even though digital cards have become more common today, the charm of a handmade card from the 70s remains unmatched.

It was all about the thought and effort rather than just the message.

8) Attending Midnight Mass

Midnight Mass was a cherished part of holiday traditions in the 70s.

Families would bundle up and head to their local church together.

The service often began around midnight on Christmas Eve.

The church was beautifully decorated, filled with the scent of pine and candles.

Christmas carols echoed through the building, creating a magical atmosphere.

The choir would lead the congregation in singing well-loved hymns.

Many people have fond memories of this spiritual time.

It was a moment to pause and reflect on the true meaning of Christmas.

For kids, staying up so late was part of the excitement.

The anticipation of Santa’s visit added a special thrill to the night.

After the service, families might share a warm drink or dessert at home.

It was a comforting way to end an enchanting evening.

9) Wrapping Gifts in Newspaper

Back in the 70s, many families wrapped their holiday gifts in newspaper.

This practice wasn’t just budget-friendly; it was also a way to reuse materials that were already on hand.

You might have seen gifts wrapped in the Sunday comics or the sports section.

Wrapping gifts in newspaper gave presents a unique, homemade touch.

It added a personal flair that fancy wrapping paper often lacked.

You could make it even more special with colorful ribbons or handmade bows.

Some families made this a fun tradition.

You could use specific sections of the paper that matched the recipient’s interests, like the crossword page for puzzle lovers.

Adding small decorations like stickers or hand-drawn doodles made the gift extra festive.

This simple wrapping idea was also eco-friendly.

It’s a great way to reduce waste, which was particularly fitting during the 70s when environmental awareness started to grow.

Families felt good about saving money and being kind to the planet.

Try wrapping your gifts in newspaper today for a nostalgic throwback.

You’ll find it’s an easy, creative, and sustainable way to share holiday cheer.

10) Hanging Stockings by the Fireplace

Hanging stockings by the fireplace was a big deal in the 70s.

Kids would excitedly hang their stockings on Christmas Eve, hoping to wake up to small treats and gifts from Santa.

The tradition goes back centuries, but it was pretty special in the 70s.

Stockings were often handmade or personalized, making them unique for each family member.

You’d find a mix of candy, small toys, and even fruit stuffed inside.

Opening stockings was usually the first thing kids did on Christmas morning before tearing into the bigger presents.

Sometimes, families would buy matching stockings to hang as a set.

It brought an extra touch of holiday spirit and looked festive hanging on the mantle.

If you grew up in the 70s, you probably remember the excitement of seeing a filled stocking.

It was a simple but joyful part of the holiday season.

Holiday Music and Carols

The 70s brought a mix of traditional and modern holiday tunes with unique sounds.

From popular hits to special instruments, each song had its distinct feel.

Popular Songs from the 70s

During the 70s, some Christmas songs became instant classics. “Merry Christmas Darling” by The Carpenters touched many hearts with its sweet message.

Elton John’s “Step Into Christmas” offered a rock vibe, making it a festive favorite.

José Feliciano’s “Feliz Navidad” spread joy with its bilingual lyrics, blending English and Spanish.

And who could forget John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s “Happy Xmas (War Is Over)”? This song combined a holiday tune with a strong anti-war message.

Each of these songs added something special to holiday celebrations.

They brought cheer, reflection, and a touch of novelty to the season.

Unique Instruments and Sounds

The 70s weren’t just about catchy lyrics.

Many holiday songs featured interesting instruments and sounds.

The Jackson 5 used a blend of vocals and instruments to create lively Christmas tracks.

Their songs had the funky beats typical of that era.

Acoustic guitars played a big role too.

José Feliciano’s “Feliz Navidad” is a great example, showcasing lively strumming and upbeat melodies.

Synthesizers also became popular, giving some Christmas songs a modern twist.

Elton John used them in “Step Into Christmas,” adding an electronic flavor.

Traditional carols got new life with these fresh sounds, making the 70s a memorable decade for holiday music.

Decorations and Ambiance

Decorations in the 70s had a distinct charm with their unique mix of vibrant colors, DIY projects, and classic holiday cheer.

From vintage ornaments to hands-on crafts, you could feel the spirit of the season in every detail.

Vintage Ornaments and Lights

Ornaments in the 70s were all about glitter, bright colors, and unique shapes. Shiny Brite ornaments were especially popular, coming in various styles like teardrops, icicles, and balls with intricate designs.

You might remember the iconic glass bulbs that shimmered on Christmas trees, reflecting the twinkling lights.

Bubble lights were another favorite.

These lights were filled with a fluid that bubbled when heated, adding movement and sparkle to the tree. Tinsel was a staple, draped generously over branches to catch the light and give the tree an extra shimmer. Garlands made from popcorn or cranberries also added a handmade touch to the decor.

DIY Holiday Crafts from the 70s

DIY crafts were a big part of holiday fun in the 70s.

Many families enjoyed making their own decorations, creating memories along the way. Paper chains made from colorful construction paper were simple yet festive.

You might have also made salt dough ornaments, which could be painted and personalized.

Another popular craft was felt Christmas stockings, often decorated with sequins, glitter, and beads. Pinecone ornaments were a hit too, either left natural or painted and sprinkled with glitter for a snow-kissed effect.

These DIY crafts not only added to the decor but also brought families together to create something special with their own hands.

Traditional Foods and Recipes

Christmas in the 70s was all about comforting home-cooked meals and festive beverages that brightened up holiday gatherings.

These recipes bring back the flavors and traditions of the past, creating a sense of nostalgia and joy.

Classic Dishes

7-Layer Gelatin Salad – This colorful dish was a hit during the holidays.

Each layer is a different flavor, and the bright colors make it a standout on any table.

You can switch up the flavors to fit other occasions too.

Shrimp Pasta Primavera – While pasta dishes might not scream Christmas, this well-seasoned shrimp pasta was a favorite.

It’s easy on the budget and packed with flavor, making it a great option for holiday dinners.

Brandy Slush – This refreshing drink was a Midwestern party staple.

It combines citrus and brandy, but you can get creative with other spirits like blackberry brandy or berry vodka.

It’s a perfect blend for a festive toast.

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