Retro Christmas decorations: 10 ways to embrace kitschmas this year

Let this retro Christmas decoration ideas fill you with nostalgia and go with a slightly different scheme this festive season...

Retro Christmas decorating ideas
(Image credit: Sainsbury's)

Retro Christmas decorations are HUGE right now, you could literally pick a decade and you’ll be able to find enough decorations to fill your tree and have some left over for your mantel and festive table. Glass is also back, which is great as they are more eco than plastic baubles so that makes us happy here! We love this trend, because retro means you’re invoking happy memories of past family Christmases with family and friends and creating new ones with your children and that’s what it’s all about, especially with the... unprecedented times we are living through, everyone could do with some festive nostalgia.

Keep scrolling to get inspired to go for something a little different this year, and for more inspiration head over to our Christmas decorating ideas gallery too. 

1. Pick a 70s vibe for your retro Christmas decs

Retro Christmas decorating ideas

(Image credit: Carpetright)

A mirrored glass wall, plush carpet, squishy streamlined sofas, a cube pendant light and cocktails - what does this mean? The Seventies are here! Source a shimmery white tree and cover it in rich jewel toned baubles, add in some warm gold accessories with some glitzy cocktail glasses, pop on some old Christmas crooners and enjoy.

2. Look out for unusual decorations

Retro Christmas decorating ideas

(Image credit: Cox & Cox)

You don’t need to opt for conventional baubles, check out these charming retro shaped spaceships from Cox & Cox. You could decorate your whole tree with the same decorations instead of doing what most people do which is choosing multiple designs of all shapes and sizes. Choose a theme and make your Christmas tree decor a design statement this year.

3. Go for a glamorous 20's vibe

Retro Christmas decorating ideas

(Image credit: John Lewis)

Glitz and more glitz from the decade that brought us uber cool Art Deco style. Peacock feathers and gold by the bucketfull, this is perhaps one of the most glamorous eras we’ve had and it’s a big trend this Christmas. Decorations are fan-shaped, tear drop and round, you’ll see birds, painted faces and peacocks. The colours are navy, gold and teal and you can never have too many decorations on your tree, this is all about excess so pile them on! 

These decs are from the Art Nouveau range at John Lewis so check that out if you love this look. 

4. Make like the Victorians with tapers 

Retro Christmas decorating ideas

(Image credit: Ikea)

In the Victorian times they used to attach taper candles to their trees - real ones - and light them. Today, we can use these VINTER beauties from Ikea instead - the modern version of the Victorian craze - and a whole lot safer of course. They are made from glass which is what traditional decorations were made from and you can clip them on to individual branches - how cute do they look?

5. Be inspired by the 80s and go bold and bright

Retro Christmas decorating ideas

(Image credit: John Lewis)

Colour is everything - go wild and multicoloured to recreate the eighties in your living room this Christmas. In fact, why not copy this fabulous tree and have a rainbow effect design using your baubles? It will be the focal point of your festivities and it will invoke all those happy endorphins. Wrap your presents in colourful prints and use lots of ribbons and bows to complete this fun look. 

Check out John Lewis' Pop Art theme for all the retro Christmas decorations you need. 

6. Pick out nostalgic Christmas decorations  

Retro Christmas decorating ideas

(Image credit: Argos)

Original decorations were all hand made - mostly from wood of course, aren’t these reindeer from Argos gorgeous? With a nod to Scandi Christmas this style of decorations are wholesome and earthy, and if you find the consumerism of Christmas too much then designs like these will tick your boxes. They will last forever and you can hand them down to your children too. 

7. Add a retro feel with nostalgic motifs 

Retro Christmas decorating ideas

(Image credit: Sainsbury's)

Fancy a xbox controller decoration? Or a vintage car? Or some big juicy red lips? There’s a huge array of decorations you can get these days that nod to many different eye-catching eras. You could have a multi decade theme and incorporate David Bowie style lightning bolts with glass baubles depicting retro gin bottles and the odd glittery lobster.

8. Adorn a mantle with a classic nutcracker

Retro Christmas decorating ideas

(Image credit: Matalan)

Originating from Germany in the early 19th Century, the standing wooden soldier nutcracker had a handle in its back that when pushed down would cause the nutcracker’s jaw to move up and smash the nut placed in its mouth. During World War II American soldiers returning home from Germany bought them as souvenirs from Christmas markets and of course Tchaikovsky’s ballet, The Nutcracker Suite became popular too. They are highly decorated and come in various heights, they look fab grouped together on a mantel or in the centre of your Christmas table

9. Make your own memories with your Christmas decs

Retro Christmas decorating ideas

(Image credit: Gisela Graham)

Christmas decorations can become part of your memories - those times from the past when you visited your favourite city, like this old fashioned telephone box for example, or a decoration that was passed down from your grandparents. Or one that you saw on holiday that now brings back happy memories of a sunny few weeks on a beach - or staying in a wood cabin on a ski trip. 

10. Bring back tinsel!

Retro Christmas decorating ideas

(Image credit: Rockett St George)

Hands up if you remember Christmas trees covered in various coloured strands of tinsel!? Well, you can recreate that look with this smashing rainbow multicoloured bauble tinsel garland from Rockett St George. You could weave it in and around your tree’s branches - or pop it on your mantelpiece for extra dazzle and decoration. 

Sophie Warren-Smith

Sophie has been an interior stylist and journalist for over 22 years and has worked for many of the main interior magazines during that time both in-house and as a freelancer. On the side, as well as being the News Editor of indie magazine, 91, Sophie trained to be a florist in 2019 and launched The Prettiest Posy where she curates beautiful flowers for the modern bride.