20th Century Christmas Shopping

Updated on Dec 23, 2020. Originally added on Dec 15, 2016 by Kathy Pinna
Now 2 decades (wow!) into the 21st century, online shopping is beginning to equal the shopping at brick and mortar stores. But in the 20th century, people had to go out and shop - in great numbers. A part of everyone's Christmas tradition was going to the stores and enjoying the sights and sounds: The beautiful window displays, the Christmas lights, the newest toys and clothes, visiting Santa, sometimes hearing carolers . . . and the crowds. Always the crowds.

These are photos of those days of physically shopping during Christmastime. Do you miss some of it? Do you still at least go to a mall to experience Christmas sights and sounds? Or are you happy that with a click of your mouse, your shopping is done?

20th Century Christmas Shopping

Not a war . . . shoppers!

1948 New York City

1948 photo of a NYC store after Christmas shoppers have left.

1939 London

London, 1939

Notice the sandbags lined up against the building. This was the first Christmas of World War II in England. The sandbags were supposed to protect the stores against bombs.

Window shopping

Los Angeles, 1941

1941 Los Angeles


Christmas dolls, 1934

London, 1934

A little girl window shopping for her Christmas wish!

The Bishop's Wife

Loretta Young, 1947

Loretta Young in the 1947 movie - one of the great Christmas movies. Cary Grant was a wonderful angel!

1910 New York City

1910 New York City

From tip to toe, they're loaded down!

Macy's Santa, 1924

Macy's Santa Claus

Look closely, the details are great!


Macy's Santa, 1942

Macy's Santa Claus, 1942

Oh, a Christmas train!

Christmas train, Omaha

The Brandeis Department Store in 1960's Omaha.

1939 New York City

New York City, 1939

Those are crowded sidewalks!

Christmas shoppers, Chicago

Chicago Christmas Shoppers

Looks like the 1940's - what do you think?

Street Christmas card display

Christmas Card Display
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