Old-Fashioned Christmas Greenery Decorating Ideas

18-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today: 

Monday, December 1, 1913:

The very last, December comes

That month that is held so dear

With a shout of mirth

We welcome the birth

For the month that dies the year.

It seems to me that old father time must be running a race with something or other, the days spin ‘round so swiftly.

1913-12-81.c

Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:

Were the Muffly’s starting to decorate for Christmas as the days spun by? Here’s some ideas for using greenery that were in the December, 1913 issue of Ladies Home Journal.

1913-12-81.e

1913-12-81.d

1913-12-81.aYou might also enjoy several previous posts that showed hundred-year-old Christmas decorating ideas:

Christmas Tree Decorations a Hundred Years Ago

Christmas Table Decorations and Centerpieces a Hundred Years Ago

One Hundred-Year-Old December School Bulletin Board Ideas

Old-fashioned Mistletoe and Candy Kiss Decoration

Monthly Poem

Grandma begins each month with a poem.  For additional information about them see:

Monthly Poem in Diary

45 Responses

  1. Love all that real greenery. Probably something that is not done today to such an extent.

  2. Absolutely gorgeous pictures. I think now a little greenery will be added to our Christmas decorations this year!

  3. Love the use of the real greenery! That was a nice poem Grandma wrote for the first of December.

  4. Love this post! Love seeing what houses looked like decorated 100 years ago! : )

  5. The natural greenery is wonderful, and the decorations beautiful. I was also struck by her comment that the days pass swiftly. I somehow think of this as a modern day thing … I’m very much enjoying the 100 years ago posts!

    • I’m glad you enjoy the posts. It is interesting how, back the old days, in “slower times” that people apparently felt like the days spun by.

  6. I have just started to deck the halls in the Poste Residence and find thee gorgeous illustrations inspiring! What a sweet poem too!

  7. It almost seems scary to have branches by the fireplace. But my grandmother had candles on the Christmas tree!

  8. Grandma hit the nail on the head when she “the days spin round so swiftly!” The older I get the faster they spin.

    • I agree–the older I get the faster they spin. I’m a little surprised that a teen would also have the sense that they were spinning by.

  9. So pretty to see the natural ways of decorating. Like stringing popcorn . . . .

  10. I love the simple greenery! Very nice!

  11. They had a way of making the greenery look so elegant.

  12. Decorating with just greens is so much more natural. I like the ways she puts it – the month that dies the year. The years do come around faster!

  13. I like the photo of the greenery on the staircase. Very festive decorating ideas, Annie

  14. Sheryl besides the diary , were there any stories passed down from your Father about Christmas as a child? It would be interesting to know if the magazine drawings were similar to his memories.

    • hmm. . . I’m not sure if Dad told me or it it’s just my imagination, but I picture them going out on the farm and cutting a Christmas tree when he was a child.

  15. I like all the greenery, I am certain they collected it themselves along with their tree. What fun! But messy too needles all over:(

  16. The house must have had a marvelous pine scent with all that greenery spread around.

  17. I wonder how long they left all that greenery up. With no water it must have started drying out amazingly fast. Even with houses being cooler than they are now.

  18. I bet it didn’t dry out quickly because without central heating, the house would have been chilly except by the fire, right? And it’s so Victorian! Everything looks like a pineapple — all pointed into big fans. Pineapples were the ultimate Victorian decoration in Britain. You could rent them for a centerpiece. Again — homes were cold. That pineapple would last! I just love your blog. Happy holidays.

    • It makes sense that greenery would have stayed fresh longer in the days before central heating. In central Pennsylvania I think wood or coal stoves were the primary means of both heating the house and cooking.

      • I’ve only ever been in England in the winter with homes without central heating but BRRRR!!!! No — I’ve been in Vermont in the winter in a farmhouse with just a woodstove. You could have kept plenty of greenery green in that house!

  19. I just wanted to tell you that I have that side board in the third pictures. Mine has 3 draws in the center.. Mine was bought about 1919 so furniture styles must have had a long run then. The furniture and house must not of been the imagination of the artist. You can’t see it very well the illistration but it has a mirror back board about 6 inches high to reflect light on the glass dishes that everyone had for their dinning room. It is quarter sawed oak. The details is just like mine.

    • Wow, it’s amazing that the side board in the drawing is just like yours. It’s a beautiful piece.

      My mother-in-law had a lovely side board–it wasn’t exactly like the one in the picture, but I always think of it when I look at this picture.

  20. I had some health issues that took a lot out of me. It took a while to catch up after I felt better.

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