Lots and lots of Jinglebells, on the float and the people. Make a large 3D tree(corrugated cardboard or plywood-cut two simple shapes and slot at base so they can slide into each other and lock-glue on old rock albums and covers of the same era as Jingle Bell Rock to cover, add tinsel. Have a Santa that looks like Elvis playing a cardboard guitar. People on float dress 50's (poodle skirts, leather jackets and rolled up jeans for extample) Some could line up as if to talk to Santa. I would do a general malt shop setting(real or fake small tables, juke box etc)
Love the previous post! However, one more idea...the classic 50's theme with a Christmas tree.
A few years ago we had a float with the theme "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree". It was for our retirement housing community. Not exactly the same, but we put a tree in the middle of the float (decorated with popcorn our school class did along with paper chains also) then had several rocking chairs that the residents sat in as we drove along the route. It was quite cute!
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