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10 Best Christmas Ideas Borrowed From the Past – Vote for Fave

Festive feather trees, classic cocktails, decorative popcorn garlands… revelers of yesteryear really knew how to embrace the holiday season. Borrow these 14 vintage ideas from Christmases gone by to bring some old-school charm to your celebrations this year. Vote for your favorite old-fashioned Christmas idea, add your own to the list, and come back to see which one wins the vote!

#1 Send Christmas Cards in the Mail

Virtual Christmas greetings get the job done, but they aren’t nearly as sentimental as old-fashioned handwritten cards. Crisp stationery and seasonal stamps never fail to spread holiday cheer. Take a picture with your kids (or pet!) and incorporate it into a personalized greeting for everyone on your mailing list.

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#2 Have a Spot of Christmas Tea

Christmas teas aren't just for the British. This traditional activity, which came to America in the 1830s as part of the temperance movement, brought families together to converse while drinking a variety of teas at long communal tables. So, put on a pot of boiling water, make some fancy finger sandwiches, and enjoy a warm mug of tea with your loved ones.

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#3 Display a Feather Tree

The first artificial Christmas tree, the feather tree has origins dating back to mid-19th-century Germany. The thin-branched trees became popular in America in the 1920s, when European immigrants carried their holiday traditions to their new homes. Add a tabletop feather tree to your holiday decor for a touch of whimsy and historical charm.

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#4 Bake Old-Fashioned Christmas Cookies

With the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, it’s nice to unwind by baking cookies with family and friends. Whip up a batch of homemade sugar cookies, gingerbread men, or Jim Dandies, an old-fashioned classic that features maraschino cherries, chocolate, and marshmallows. While you're at it, bake a few batches—remember, cookies can be scrumptious gifts for relatives and neighbors!

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#5 Mix a Classic Christmas Cocktail

Classic cocktails have made a grand resurgence in bars around the country. Learn how to make your own versions of these boozy beverages so you’ll have something to keep yourself warm—and impress your guests—over the holidays. Old-fashioned favorites include the hot toddy (made with a bracing spirit like brandy, rum, or whiskey, mixed with honey, spices, and boiling water) and the Tom and Jerry (a concoction of eggnog, brandy, and rum).

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#6 String a Popcorn Garland

Before people adorned their trees with lights and ornaments, they decorated with homemade popcorn garlands. The string of popped kernels was budget-friendly and simple to construct. This year, spend quality time with your kids, parents, or grandparents making your own vintage popcorn garland.

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#7 Give Your Letter Carrier a Thank-You Gift

In the past, people traditionally thanked their loyal letter carriers by giving them a small Christmas gift. Though we often don't have the chance to develop relationships with our letter carriers today, you can still give them a token of appreciation around the holidays. Just remember that federal guidelines stipulate that postal employees can't receive gifts worth more than $20.

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#8 Stuff Your Stockings With Oranges

Stockings overflow with chocolates and toys on Christmas morning, but in simpler times children were excited and grateful to find oranges in their stockings. Put an orange in your child’s stocking this year to remind your family of its good fortune—and also get a healthy dose of vitamin C!

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#9 Hang the Tinsel

Tinsel became extremely popular in the United States during the 1950s as people sought a way to add shimmer to their Christmas trees without using Christmas lights, which were considered a fire hazard . Re-create this vintage trend and give your tree a shiny, icy look by draping strands of tinsel on the branches.

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#10 Go Christmas Caroling

With roots in solstice celebrations of ancient times, caroling is one of the oldest holiday traditions in the world. So, channel your jolly ancestors, and spread holiday cheer throughout your neighborhood by taking your family Christmas caroling this year! Don’t worry if your singing voice sounds nothing like Beyoncé's—this tradition is more about having fun than showing off your vocal chops.

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