Ahh, the 1970s! Most will remember it as a time for many things … The infectious tunes of the Beatles, flared trousers that were just a bit snug up top, some pretty questionable hairstyles, but can you recall the Christmas celebrations back then? We’ve taken a step back into the vault and pulled out a few nostalgic morsels that confirm the ’70s also had some pretty great Christmas traditions.
Unlike today’s lead up, Christmas was truly restricted to one month of the year — December! Rather than drag things out so that by the time Christmas Day arrived everyone was over it before the first present had even opened, 40-odd years ago you and your family were eagerly awaiting the celebration.
You were something of an outcast if you put up your Christmas decorations before December 1 (a tradition that is still adhered to in many family homes today, I’m sure) — and decorations came down on January 6. When it came to your Christmas tree, the more decorations the better! The designer trees of today are really taking a lot of fun out of Christmas, which is why we’re so thankful they weren’t around in the ’70s.
Netflix, Amazon Prime and Disney+ are proof that today’s Christmas lovers have an overabundance of festively themed movies to choose from. That certainly wasn’t the case in the ’70s. There was just one Christmas movie. Just one! And unlike the Christmas movies of more recent years, that have been watched every year (probably in the same order) for the last 10 years, the Christmas movie brought out in each year of the ’70s had never been seen before.
There was anticipation and excitement about what that movie would be and you looked forward to sitting down with your family to watch and enjoy it together. Some of the best include ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas, Scrooge with Alec Guinness and Albert Finney and A Christmas Carol.
If, like me, you’re a sucker for a Christmas tune or two, you probably miss the proper festive tunes played at this time of year. The trend more recently seems to be an output by the most recent winner of The Voice or X Factor or whatever other reality television musician that has been ‘discovered’. Either that or Mariah Carey’s ‘All I Want For Christmas (Is You)’ is placed on high radio rotation and ohh… that cold shiver down my spine has nothing to do with the weather outside.
It’s a fact that Christmas tunes actually got their start in the ’70s and you didn’t seem to tire of hearing them. Anyone know why?
Some foods were only served at Christmas time. If you’re looking for Yuletide inspiration, consider a menu that includes a Yule log (aka Buche de Noel, a rolled sponge cake frosted with buttercream to look like bark and decorated with meringue mushrooms and marzipan holly), Christmas trifle, a bowl of nuts that never seemed to end, cheese balls and crackers, chocolate coated nuts and sultanas and a Christmas turkey or ham. If you want to tick off a relative, bring a green bean casserole.
It also feels as though the 1970s avoided all of the special dietary requirements. Your Christmas lunch (or dinner) would have unlikely needed to have worried about someone’s gluten allergy or that cousin who doesn’t eat any animal products.
Parents, did you put your children in coordinated red and white numbers at any time during the festive season? It’s a fashion trend that is making a comeback.
Regardless, Christmas was also a time where you wore your absolute best on the big day.
Christmas today is always different and everyone does their own thing. Families are living further apart so it can mean Christmas celebrations don’t have that same tradition of ‘coming together’ that it did in the ’70s. Your children probably have children of their own, plus there’s the age-old debate about whose family you’ll be spending Christmas Day with. Back in the ’70s there was much less option when it came to Christmas celebrations.
On Christmas Even you probably went off to midnight mass, indulged in some carolling, and left out a treat for Santa and his reindeer before tumbling into bed. The kids would throw themselves on you in the morning and you’d gather round the Christmas tree on Christmas Day for the unwrapping of presents. You’d eat too much at lunch, need to have a lie down and and repeat the process again in the evening.
Christmas in the ’70s really was so much better.