Vintage Christmas Ornament Kits

A friend found a box full of these delightful little kits at a garage sale. I love finds like that, and not just because at $10 for the whole box it was a serious score. It makes me feel connected to this crafty lady who bought up a bunch of glittery Christmas ornaments, maybe just for herself to keep her hands busy, or maybe to create with friends. Not to mention the Lee Wards packaging, which bring me back to my Midwestern childhood.

Whatever use they were originally intended for, we used them as raw materials for an ornament making party (craft parties are the best kind of parties). I like to think that the original owner would have approved.

Tiers of Garnet

Tiers of Garnet vintage Christmas ornament packaging
Vintage Christmas ornament


Elegance vintage Christmas ornament packaging

Panorama Santa


Tiers of Garnet Instructions

Tiers of Garnet vintage Christmas ornament instructions

Elegance Instructions

Elegance vintage Christmas ornament instructions

Try a Mexican Dinner

Try a Mexican Dinner!

from Sunset’s Hostess Handbook, 1937

The imperative in this title makes me laugh. Try a Mexican dinner! Try it! You must try it!

I’ll leave out the worst of the casual racism (although the full article is worth a read for sure), but did calling something “crude food” and “typical of the peon’s love of bunched, smashing color” ever sound ok? Apparently it did, since that’s the appeal to serve your guests tamale pie and decorate your table with peon-appropriate flowers. Just like in “Old Me-hick-o”! (NB: it really was written out like that. I shudder to think of how she’d describe her recipe for fried chicken.)

On to the menu!

Fruit Cocktail
Endive Salad
Tamale Pie
Monterey Jack Cheese

As bizarre as this menu is, it at least sounds mostly edible. It’s a tough call which is weirder, the salad or the tortillas.

Salad ingredients:
Green onions
Green peppers

Tortilla ingredients:
Baking powder

She calls these tortillas “Americanized”, which I guess explains the milk? I’m almost tempted to try them and see what happens. I feel like they would turn out like tortilla-biscuits, which strikes me as a waste of two delicious foods.

The “pie” is basically a beef stew thickened with a LOT of cornmeal. To its credit, it does contain a small amount of chili powder, plus about 5 grains of cayenne. But the crazy thing is that it’s served with the salad, not the tortillas. So you’re stuck eating this under-seasoned stew with a fork when there are warm tortillas just waiting in the oven. And then when you’re done with the stew, you get served biscuit-tortillas, slices of Monterey Jack, and little cups of raisins and figs.

So I think the tortillas win for “most bizarre”, but the most horrifying is definitely the coffee which is put on to perk BEFORE the guests arrive. So with the biscuit-tortillas, you get hour-long perked coffee.


“Your guests play with raisins, then, and coffee, and they are likely to light cigars or cigarettes right there and keep on talking until nine or ten o’clock about the lost San Saba and hunks of Yaqui gold, while the cheap candles gutter grease down on the cheap, coarse crash of the table cover, and the evening becomes a most pleasant memory.”