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Christmas Trees Over The Years

Updated on Dec 13, 2019. Originally added on Dec 22, 2015 by Daniel Pinna
Do you remember the Christmas trees of your childhood? Everyone does - my grandmother used to tell stories of her family's tree in England. After she and her siblings went to bed on Christmas Eve, her parents would decorate the tree. Then on Christmas morning, her parents would open the door of the parlor. There, in all of its glory, would be the decorated tree, awash in the light of the candles on the branches. (Sounds dangerous, doesn't it?)

Queen Victoria famously celebrated Christmas with a tree - a tradition in her German husband's homeland. Today, nearly everyone who celebrates Christmas has some kind of tree, real or artificial - remember the silver plastic trees of the 1960's? Remember the tons of tinsel in the 1950's? What are your memories of and traditions around your Christmas tree? Do any of these photos bring back memories? Or do some of them give you ideas?

History: As far back as the Romans, Druids, and Vikings, evergreen branches have been used to decorate homes at this time of year. Celebrated under many names, the time around the Winter Solstice has always been considered sacred to people. The early Christians borrowed from these traditions to create their own Solstice celebration - the birth of the sun/son, Jesus. (Most Biblical scholars agree that Jesus was actually born in the early Spring, perhaps March - the Bible doesn't mention a date or even a time of year and early Christians didn't celebrate Christmas.)
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1908 - toys on the tree and presents all around!

D.T. Burrell's Christmas 1908

Aren't those children precious?

The horse Christmas tree

Christmas Tree for Horses, 1918

In 1918, they provided trees for horses. The trees were hung with apples, ears of corn and other "horse dainties"!

1919 Horse Christmas tree

Horse Christmas tree, 1919
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Jail Christmas tree, 1919

Jail Christmas tree, 1919

Flathead Native Americans, 1910

Flathead Native Americans

Family gathering before Christmas in front of their outdoor tree.

Hospital tree, 1921

Garfield Hospital, [Washington, D.C.], Christmas tree

Surrounded by nurses!

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Santa carries his own trees

Gilbert photo, Christmas 1913 Iowa

In 1913 Iowa, Santa's car is all decked out - and he has two trees!

1919, Baker family

Baker Family

Is that a ham radio that the boy is listening to?

Koo family, 1919

Koo children

Those kids are SO cute!

Small tree . . .

Mrs. Keen's Christmas tree

Big train set!

The City of Paris tree

 City of Paris Store, San Francisco

From 1850 to 1976 there was a store called The City of Paris in San Francisco. Their tree was centered in the rotunda in the middle of the store and rose several stories. It was absolutely spectacular!

Christmas tree & train

1920's Christmas tree

The 1920's

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The Hauk family tree

Hauck Christmas tree

Wow! It looks wider than it is tall!

1943 - a wartime tree!

Washington, D.C. 1943

The Dickey family, 1918

Dickey family

Another wide tree

Dickey Christmas tree in 1923

This is the Dickey family in 1923 - perhaps wide trees were a fashion in the 1920's?

Tree hiding behind the family?

Unknown family

In contrast, this 1921 tree is so small that the family dwarfs it.

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