DIY Table Decor: A Nostalgic 1960s Christmas
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Southern Living®. The opinions and text are all mine.
One of the things I really look forward to every holiday season are the beautiful Christmas magazines that hit the stands right around Thanksgiving. Although I’m a Yankee, born and bred, Florida has been my home for more than two decades, and the Southern Living Magazine has become a favorite of mine, particularly around the holidays.
The December 2016 issue had a large focus on holiday traditions and, flipping through the pages, I began thinking about the holiday celebrations of my childhood – the style of decorating, the food and the table decor, and I decided it would be fun to re-create a few of those memories for this year’s Christmas celebration.
Christmas Memories from the 1960s
Being of Hungarian descent, our holiday get-togethers always included a delicious array of Hungarian baked goods for dessert, but the meals themselves were decidedly American. Growing up in the 1960s, our dinners always included classic entrees like turkey and ham, but the side dishes often reflected the recipes that were trending at the time (likely what was featured on the pages of the most popular homemaking magazines of the decade).
The 1960s were a time of new-found conveniences in the kitchen like frozen vegetables, ready-made whipped topping and instant coffee, and this trend ushered in an era of “quick to fix” style recipes that became incredibly popular. One of these easy and popular dishes that graced every Christmas table I can remember was a Waldorf Salad.
Without sacrificing simplicity or ease, I’ve updated the ’60s version with a few extra ingredients and added a bit of a Southern twist by adding toasted pecans in place of walnuts.
Another effortless little extra plate to add to your holiday table is a pickle dish filled with pimento-stuffed olives, gherkins and everyone’s favorite, cream cheese-stuffed celery dusted with paprika.
Retro-Inspired Table Decor
To follow through on my nostalgic theme, I dug out my Grandmother’s Fostoria glassware for my holiday table. If you’re not familiar, Fostoria was made by the Fostoria Glass Company, which produced the American pattern of glassware seen here for nearly 70 years. It was very popular throughout the ’50s and ’60s, and its trademark facets are the perfect choice for adding extra sparkle to a holiday table setting.
I also decided to make a retro-style Christmas centerpiece by arranging ornaments and bits of tinsel garland on two stacked glass cake stands. It’s such an easy concept, yet it makes a stunning presentation in the center of the table.
Southern-Style Waldorf Salad
For our modernized version of a Waldorf Salad, we’ve added dried cranberries and freshly grated orange zest for added flavor and lightened up the dressing a bit by replacing some of the mayo with plain yogurt.