Christmastime is all about nostalgia — we all harken back to some sort of vision of Currier & Ives, even if we live somewhere where it doesn’t snow (Austin), and even if we’ve never ridden in a sleigh (me, and probably a whole lot of y’all…) Nonetheless, this time of year makes me ponder wonderful items of yesteryear that have some how fallen out of public favor. So let’s bring back! Here is my retro top 10:
1. Hot water bottles. There is a reason why your grandmother uses them — they are a delight to tuck into bed and a cure for the common foot cold. Especially nice when you are missing your husband and two puppies.
2. Writing in cursive. I love writing in cursive! Before the digital age, penmanship was an important expression of self. Everyone’s handwriting is terrible now, I hardly know anyone who can print legibly, let alone write script in beautiful hand.
3. Men wearing hats in public. My mother told me that when she first came to London in the 1960’s, men still wore bowler hats in public. What a delightful sense of formality — imagine respecting strangers so much that you actually gave a damn how you appeared to them.
4. Inviting friends over [to your home] for tea/coffee. We’re always meeting people for a latte at Starbucks. Wouldn’t it be nice to use wedding china for something?
5. Big bathtubs (and baths). For the first time ever, I live in a place with a deep, freestanding tub, and it’s amazing. Showers are for getting clean, and baths are forgotten ways of luxuriating and relaxing.
6. Carolers. I admit, that in this day and age I would be very wary to opening my door to a bunch of strangers singing (I would probably think they were drunk), but there is something so festive and charming and mood lightening about going about with friends singing Christmas songs! Funny how the tradition of going door-to-door trick-or-treating has remained, however.
7. Phone books. Wait a minute. Nope, not nostalgic for these. Thank you google!
8. Nokia cell phones. This might show my age, but once upon a time, before the iPhone and the Android, and even the flip phone, there were these short, squat phones that never, ever broke, and were absolutely brilliant for texting. That and the ringtones were so pleasant.
9. Long gloves for dressing up. Again, gloves give dressing up a wonderful sense of formality and occasion.
10. Knowing poems by heart. Before the internet, sometimes you had to memorize certain things to appear cultured. I suppose that lines of poems have been replaced by pop song lyrics.
For more fun retro-love reading, check out Let’s Bring Back by Lesley M. M. Blume.