2023 Holiday Decorating Trends Go Nostalgic at the White House

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Grand Foyer of the White House. Photo provided by White House Facebook page.

First Lady Jill Biden recently unveiled this year’s decorations in the White House, which have a classic look inspired by the theme “Magic Wonder, and Joy.”  First Lady Biden noted on ABC news, “Each room is designed to capture this pure, unfiltered delight and imagination — to see this season, this time of year through the wondrous, sparkling eyes of children.”

The White House décor, put up by more than 300 volunteers, has a very old school look with more than 140,000 twinkling lights, 98 trees, 72 wreaths, and lots and lots of greens bringing a sense of the outside inside. All of this décor has the styling that is popular around the country this year, as nostalgia is the name of the game. Those who were born in the 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s will be seeing a lot of familiar holiday decorations. Both vintage and reproduction pieces are finding their way onto trees, tables and mantles. 

Trees and Ornaments 

It has been a long time since anyone has seen a flocked tree, but they are coming back in style. Flocking is a faux snow. In the sixties, real trees were painted colors like pink or pale blue or sage green, then treated with spray-on fluff. The flocked tree was then adorned with shiny bright glass ornaments in jewel tones and/or mercury glass. 

White House trees were treated to a light flocking to give the look of snow-covered branches and then traditional balls in colors like green, red, silver and gold were hung on the branches. 

“The Blue Room,” Biden explained, “…features the official White House Christmas tree, a stunning creation covered in holiday cheer from across the country. A vintage passenger train weaves around the tree’s base. I know the kids are just going to love it when they visit.” 

Another mid-century tree trend that is seeing a resurgence is the tinsel tree. The silver trees are also being festooned with colorful ornaments. 

Handmade paper ornaments are returning, like pinwheels and snowflakes. Paper chains could be found on trees everywhere in the late 1920s, and they came back into vogue during the shortages created by World War II according to Better Homes and Gardens. Paper ornaments were found in style once again in the 1960s, made out of repurposed paper doilies. 

Table and Home Décor 

If you can find one of those kitschy 1970s ceramic Christmas trees with lights in your attic, bring it back out because the once-upon-a-time DIY project of every craft class is back in style. As a matter of fact, all kinds of ceramic trees are hot items this holiday season. 

Perhaps because this year is the 200th anniversary of the writing of “’Twas the Night Before Christmas,” Santas in all shapes and sizes are finding their way onto shelves, tables or flying through the Grand Foyer of the White House. 

Another comeback is Christmas villages. Some people collect pieces by specific companies, like Ree Drummond, Department 56 or Lenox Villages according to Country Living. Others collect or make houses out of wood, like the pre-cut ones that can be found at World Market this year. While traditionally these villages are Victorian, now they can be found in mid-modern and farmhouse styles. 

The Gingerbread house is a must this year. The one adorning the White House was made of 40 sheets of gingerbread and ginger cookies along with 50 pounds of icing. 

Vintage pieces found at thrift stores and antique malls are also making a comeback, like creamy white linen table cloths and mix and match plates from the 1970s and 1980s, like those made by Pfaltzgraff and Spode. 

Color Combinations 

According to tendancesmeuble.com, the most popular color combination this year is classic green and red, followed by silver and blue. But also returning from the 1960s is pink and gold and from the 1980s burgundy and emerald green.

These color combinations can be used with home design of all of the most popular styles — including traditional, contemporary, mid-century modern, bohemian, rustic and farmhouse. 

See many of these trends being used in the White House holiday décor on video here from Fox 17 News.