I like to tie candy canes on my presents for friends, or put them on their Christmas cards. To me there is something nostalgic about a candy cane. I like to use Spangler Candy Canes. (The Spangler company started in 1906).
Sending out Christmas cards. Sometimes I wonder if Christmas cards will become a thing of the past. I work at Hallmark, and I've already had someone tell me that they refuse to send them out because of postage. I understand, but sitting down and writing out Christmas cards — even if it's just to your close friends — puts you in a Christmas mood. Here is a website where you can buy reproduction vintage cards.
Putting money in the Salvation Army bucket. It goes to a good cause, and you have to admit — you feel good putting it in and being wished a "Merry Christmas". That bell has been ringing since 1901. It's featured in the opening scene of "Holiday Inn" with Fred Astair. Dropping your spare change in their red kettle is such an easy way to be a blessing this holiday season. You can read the complete store about the red kettle here.
Baking Christmas cookies. Put on some swingin' Christmas music, and tie on an apron! It's especially fun if you do it with a friend or family member. Christmas cookies also make nice gifts. My mom used to tell me how baking Christmas cookies was such a big deal when she was little. Her mother used to make tons of them and store them in tins in the bedroom — because it was one of the cold rooms and it kept the cookies fresh. And when company came over, my grandma would bring out Christmas cookies, and also send some home with the guests. I'm going to try and post some cookie recipes from my vintage magazines.
Foil wrapping paper. It's classic. It's also hard to find. Hallmark does have a style of wrapping paper this year that is somewhat close to foil. It has deep gold, cranberry, and green stripes with large snowflakes printed randomly. It's not the real thing, but it's close. There are other papers and gift bags in that line that have a 60's feel.
I know that some of these things aren't necessarily authentic "vintage", but they add nostalgia and whimsy to the holiday for me. Stopping to write cards or bake cookies with my mom — it's a pause in the hectic way Christmas has become. It's a little "homemade" in the "store bought" world. It's memories that will stick with me when the materialistic things fade.