If you’re already a big fan of vintage and retro style, then the idea of celebrating holidays like Hallowe’en and Christmas with a large dose of nostalgia will be nothing new to you. Depending on which generation you fall into, you’ll either remember the classics from your own youth, or you’ll have experienced them through your parents. The great thing is that, with every year that passes, new movies, songs and TV shows are made to add to the roster.
From Elton John’s upbeat ‘Step Into Christmas’ to Mariah Carey’s ‘All I Want For Christmas’, there are festive bangers from every decade; there’s also plenty of choice for a Hallowe’en movie night, with films ranging from Halloween to Gremlins to Hocus Pocus. New Year’s Eve and Easter are a little harder to pin down, but blockbuster romcoms tend to cover that slot, with favourites like When Harry Met Sally and Sleepless in Seattle revolving around the start of a new year.
Nowadays, it’s easy to access all your old favourites (and discover some new ones) using the internet. Streaming services such as Peacock TV often have vintage titles available, Spotify and YouTube Music host thousands of playlists and full albums, and gaming sites like PokerStars Casino get in on the action with themed slots titles and scratch cards. So, whichever your preferred type of media, there’s something for you to enjoy and celebrate with online.
With all this in mind, we’ve written a guide to the top classics that you should indulge in this holiday season, from the 1970s right through to the 1990s. And keep an eye out for any potential new classics from the current decade!
There are an awful lot of classic Christmas songs that many people don’t realise hail from the 1970s; from the gloomy ‘Lonely This Christmas’ by Mud, to the loud and proud glam rock of Wizzard’s ‘I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day’, there’s a certified hit to suit every mood and help you put together a retro-themed playlist. You might not want to indulge in the skin tight metallic leggings of Slade or the crazy Christmas face paint of Roy Wood, but you can certainly get in the festive spirit through their classic music.
There isn’t much in the way of festive films from this period, but it more than makes up for that by basically inventing the modern Hallowe’en movie genre. Titles like Dawn of the Dead, The Exorcist, Carrie and The Omen paved the way for a whole new approach to on-screen scares and, of course, we can’t forget the eponymous Halloween, which spawned a long-lived and successful movie franchise that is still running to this day.
The 80s was a golden age for Hollywood, and that included special holiday titles that have become part of the very fabric of Christmas and Hallowe’en all over the world. Movies like A Christmas Story, Santa Claus: The Movie, Scrooged and, perhaps controversially, Die Hard still make it onto much-watch lists every year. Audiences still love their farfetched storylines, special effects, heart-warming endings and, well, action sequences as well. In complete contrast to these warm and fuzzy festive offerings stands A Nightmare on Elm Street, An American Werewolf in London and The Fly, with their boundary pushing special effects and make-up, and their deeply disturbing, unsettling plotlines. Horror movies really moved up into a league of their own during the 1980s, with the pinnacle represented by Stanley Kubrick’s, masterpiece, The Shining.
Music-wise, the 1980s has a massive back catalogue of Christmas hits; it seems like everybody wanted to cash in on the festive spirit during this decade, with some of the biggest names in pop trying their hand at penning a new Christmas classic. Some of the most successful include Wham!’s ‘Last Christmas’, The Pogues’ ‘Fairytale Of New York’, Shakin’ Stevens’ ‘Merry Christmas Everyone’ and Queen’s ‘Thank God It’s Christmas’. The 1980s also saw the birth of the charity single with the star-studded Band Aid release, ‘Do They Know It’s Christmas?’.
Although it barely seems possible that the 1990s can now be viewed as vintage, we ushered in the new millennium 20 years ago so that decade certainly counts as retro. The 90s saw an influx of ‘cool’ Christmas hits that eclipsed the wacky style of the 70s and 80s chart toppers. ‘8 Days of Christmas’ by Destiny’s Child, ‘Early Christmas Morning’ by Cyndi Lauper and N*Sync’s Christmas album were all popular choices, but the runaway hit of the decade and best-loved festive single of all time was Mariah Carey’s phenomenally successful, ‘All I Want For Christmas’.
In terms of movies, the 90s gave us classics like Home Alone, Jingle All The Way, The Santa Clause, Miracle on 34th Street and The Nightmare Before Christmas. Actors like Mara Wilson, Macaulay Culkin and Tim Allen made their names with these much loved titles, and the world was first introduced to Tim Burton’s unique combination of Hallowe’en and Christmas all wrapped up in one impressive stop motion picture. New spooky films like Casper, Hocus Pocus, Beetlejuice and The Witches joined the stable of fright night viewing, bringing with them a friendlier type of horror. Which, of course, was entirely eclipsed by the truly terrifying It and Scream.