These bizarre vintage holiday recipes are best left to the ghost of Christmas past

Kids, time to decorate the Meat Tree!

Christmas with the family means home-cooked feasts. Platters of grandma's cookies, the recipes of which have been passed down for generations, pile atop kitchen tables. Steaming mugs of hot cocoa and wassail greet carolers. Peppermint is everywhere. 

However, some traditional dishes have not made it through the decades. Aspics and "meat trees" have been shunned like lumps of coal. The midcentury holiday menu was filled with mysterious molds and strange creamy lumps. We dug around the internet, and flipped through some old issues of Ladies' Home Journal, to find some Christmas meals that would have Santa saying, "No no no!"

Tuna Christmas Tree with Parsley Tinsel

Image: badanduglyofretrofood

You know how that old song goes: "On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me… a pylon of canned tuna meat."

Christmas Candle Salad — Cherry and Banana Mold

Image: vintagerecipecards

At least you can set this one on fire.

Shrimp Christmas Tree

Image: Bon Appetit

Is that what made those 1950s pink Christmas trees pink — krill?

Holiday Meat Tree

Image: kookychow

Note the fine print: "the tree (which is not eaten)." Well, yeah, that goes without saying.

Frozen Fruitcake Salad

Image: vintagerecipecards

Everyone's favorite food, fruitcake, finally in cold, salad form.

Noel Glazed Ham


"What's this glazed with?" your guest will ask. "Noel," you'll say.

Sea Food Stillmeadow and Lime Cottage-Cheese Ring

Image: Ladies' Home Journal /

Two essential parts of Gladys Taber's Christmas Eve Supper. The Stillmeadow is the mysterious white stew, if you're wondering. We'll stick with the rolls and the snowman, thanks.

Turkey Fruit Salad

Image: Ladies' Home Journal /

Don't forget the heaping dollop of mayo on top!

Do-Ahead Cranberry Souffle Salad

Image: Ladies' Home Journal /

I think they make an ointment for that.

"Sugar Plums"

Image: Ladies' Home Journal /

Or "Plastic Bags of Frosting Wads Hanging from a Tree." Roll cake frosting in ball. Dangle in your living room. Wait a week or so before eating.

Christmas Bell Fluff

Image: Ladies' Home Journal /

Isn't this what Richard Dreyfuss made with his mashed potatoes in Close Encounters?

Snow Cap Spread

Image: Ladies' Home Journal /

Sounds better than "Creamy Ham Mound."

Blushing Bowl

Image: Ladies' Home Journal /

"Blushing Bowl" sounds like some sort of archaic cosmetics and/or torture device.

Tutti-Frutti Date Pudding in Honey-Lemon Sauce

Image: Ladies' Home Journal /

Wop bop a loo bop a lop bam… Ewww!

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