U.S. President John F. Kennedy (1917 - 1963) (C) and First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy (1929 - 1994) pose with their family on Christmas Day
John F. Kennedy Library/Stringer/Archive Photos/Getty Images

Vintage Christmas Photos: A Century of Celebrating the Holidays

View Slideshow
U.S. President John F. Kennedy (1917 - 1963) (C) and First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy (1929 - 1994) pose with their family on Christmas Day
John F. Kennedy Library/Stringer/Archive Photos/Getty Images
Santa Claus visits the 9th Regiment Armory on 14th Street, New York City
Paul Thompson/FPG/Stringer/Archive Photos/Getty Images

1910

Giving to those who often go without during the holidays has long been a Christmas tradition for charitable organizations like the Salvation Army. In New York City, Santa Claus dropped in on a gift giveaway for needy children. Also in attendance: a bonnet-wearing, sash-draped Evangeline Booth, commander of the Salvation Army from 1934-39.

Related: 35 Reputable Charities to Help This Holiday Season

New York's Christmas tree for the homeless waiting to be erected in Madison Square.
Topical Press Agency/Stringer/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

1913

The tradition of erecting and lighting a public Christmas tree in New York City's Madison Square Park was just a year old in 1913. It had begun the previous year after socialite Emilie D. Lee Herreshoff had proposed a public holiday display to delight rich and poor, young and old alike.

American author F Scott Fitzgerald (1896 - 1940) dances with his wife Zelda Fitzgerald (nee Sayre) (1900 - 1948) and daughter Frances
Hulton Archive/Stringer/Archive Photos/Getty Images
Grace Coolidge (1879-1957), First Lady of the United States, making a selection of Christmas gifts made by World War One veterans
FPG/Staff/Archive Phots/Getty Images

1926

First lady Grace Coolidge visits veterans at Walter Reed Army Hospital in Washington, D.C., and looks over some of the handicrafts the vets made for the holidays.

American oil magnate and philanthropist, John Davidson Rockefeller (1839 - 1937) handing out Christmas presents to a group of children.
General Photographic Agency/Stringer/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

1930

Tycoon John D. Rockefeller was known for his philanthropy, especially in his later years when he made a habit of giving dimes to children and adults wherever he went. During the holidays, Rockefeller distributed toys as well.

Related: 26 Companies That Are Doing Good Deeds With Your Dollars

A man wearing a model of a box camera on his head takes a photograph of Mrs George Peterson Jnr
Archive Photos/Stringer/Archive Photos/Getty Images

1935

Wealthy Philadelphians celebrated the season in 1935 with dancing and elaborate holiday-themed headdresses at a charitable soiree.

The Marx Bros L-R: Harpo Marx, Groucho Marx, Chico Marx at the Santa Claus Lane Parade
Michael Ochs Archives/Stringer/Getty Images

1938

The stars turned out in 1938 for the annual Santa Claus Lane Parade in Los Angeles (now called the Hollywood Christmas Parade). Among the celebrities on parade that year were Harpo, Groucho, and Chico Marx, looking remarkably normal without their usual comedic attire.

American Ambulance Unit With The Yuletide Spirit
Hulton Archive/Stringer/Archive Photos/Getty Images

1940

With war raging on the European continent, American medical personnel arrived in Great Britain to assist victims of German bombing attacks. During the Christmas season, volunteers celebrated the holiday with balloons and decorations.

AMERICAN W.A.C'S PREPARE FOR THEIR FIRST CHRISTMAS IN ENGLAND
Hulton Archive/Stringer/Archive Photos/Getty Images

1944

American military personnel served in Great Britain throughout World War II. In 1944, a group of Women's Auxiliary Corps (WACs) brightened a corner of the hostel where they were staying with a tree and presents.

Related: Gifts for Veterans and Service Members

American GIs provide some Christmas cheer for the children of an Italian village
Brandt/Stringer/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

1945

In a scene repeated throughout war-torn Europe, American soldiers in Italy dipped into their own supplies to distribute gifts to local children.

Related: Great Gifts to Buy Your Grandkids

James Stewart And Donna Reed In 'It's A Wonderful Life'
Archive Photos/Stringer/Moviepix/Getty Images

1946

"It's a Wonderful Life," starring Jimmy Steward and Donna Reed, was a box-office flop when it debuted in 1946. But it has become a Christmas movie classic in the ensuing decades, thanks in no small part to being broadcast endlessly on television during the holidays.

Related: 18 Holiday Movie Locations Across America and Beyond

Members of The Rockettes precision dance company with a fan backstage at the Radio City Music Hall
Graphic House/Staff/Archive Photos/Getty Images

1950

The annual Christmas Spectacular at Rockefeller Center, starring the Rockettes dance troupe, has been a New York City holiday tradition since 1933. During the 1950 holiday season, the Rockettes welcomed fans backstage for a behind-the-scenes look at the show.

A Chanukkah window is decorated at the Hebrew Institute of Far Rockaway
Al Barry/Stringer/Hulton Archive/Getty Images
A view of the Roxy Theatre Marquee as the 1952 Christmas Show of "Toast of the Town"
Michael Ochs Archives/Stringer/Getty Images

1952

TV host Ed Sullivan's "Toast of the Town" show celebrated Christmas in 1952 with a special episode filmed at the Roxy Theater in New York. Among the guests was figure skating champ Sonja Henie.

Related: Fun Places to Go Ice Skating in Every State

Happy Christmas shoppers happily gaze at the window displays of the shops of Washington DC.
Orlando/Stringer/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

1955

Year in, year out, nothing beats the joy of gawking at holiday window displays, something these two women in Washington, D.C., took great delight in.

Related: 30 Holiday Gifts to Buy Early

A parade float advertising the Broadway musical 'Let It Ride' during the Macy's Day Parade
Archive Photos/Stringer/Archive Photos/Getty Images

1961

The annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade kicks off the holiday season with floats, balloons, and lots of song and dance. The cast of the Broadway play "Let It Ride" joined in the fun in 1961.

Related: The Best of Macy's Black Friday Deals

U.S. President John F. Kennedy (1917 - 1963) (C) and First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy (1929 - 1994) pose with their family on Christmas Day
John F. Kennedy Library/Stringer/Archive Photos/Getty Images

1962

Kids and dogs made the Christmas celebration a boisterous affair in the White House for President John F. Kennedy, first lady Jackie Kennedy, her brother-in-law Prince Stanislaw Radziwill, sister Lee Radziwill, and their children.

Beach Boys With Santa Clause
Michael Ochs Archives/Stringer/Getty Images

1963

The Beach Boys (from left, Al Jardine, Dennis Wilson, Brian Wilson, and Mike Love) celebrate the season with Santa and his little deuce coupe. The following year, the band would release their iconic Christmas album, which contains their holiday hits, "Little Saint Nick" and "The Man with All the Toys."

Related: Classic Cars That Have Inspired Memorable Songs

A family opening gifts on Christmas Day, circa 1970
FPG/Staff/Archive Phots/Getty Images
First Lady of the United States Rosalynn Carter holding a doll under the Christmas tree
Pictorial Parade/Staff/Archive Photos/Getty Images

1978

First lady Rosalynn Carter welcomes members of the press into the Blue Room of the White House to get a glimpse of the holiday decorations and presidential Christmas tree.

Peter Billingsley In 'A Christmas Story'
Archive Photos/Stringer/Moviepix/Getty Images

1983

"A Christmas Story" starred Peter Billingsley as Ralph Parker, a boy determined to tell Santa he wants a BB gun for Christmas. Like "It's a Wonderful Life," this film wasn't a huge hit when it came out in 1983, but a seemingly endless run on TV has given it a healthy second life as a holiday classic.

Related: 21 Famous Movie Homes That Will Bring Back Memories

Chevy Chase In 'Christmas Vacation'
Archive Photos/Stringer/Moviepix/Getty Images

1989

A parade of obnoxious relatives, nasty neighbors, combustible Christmas trees, and one gift-wrapped cat. "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation," starring Chevy Chase, is about as irrelevant as a holiday movie gets. But there's a sweetness, too, about Clark Griswold's quest to give his family a merry Christmas, no matter what.

Related: 20 Most Iconic RVs From Movies and TV Shows

Fisher Price Sesame Street's Let's Pretend Elmo Can Talk Pretending To Be Five Different
Getty Images/Stringer/Hulton Archive
U.S. President George W. Bush Lights Menorah at White House
Stefan Zaklin/Stringer/Getty Images News/Getty Images North America

2002

President George W. Bush lights a menorah to commemorate the sixth night of Haunukkah at the White House as members of the Ramaz Chamber Chorus from New York City perform.

Children wait with shopping bags inside Macy's department store on "Black Friday" shopping day November 26, 2010 in New York City.
Chris Hondros/Staff/Getty Images News/Getty Images North America
Mariah Carey Performs Her Holiday Smash Hits At The Beacon Theater In NYC
Dimitrios Kambouris/Staff/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images North America

2014

It's no secret that Mariah Carey loves Christmas. In 2014, she kicked off what would become a five-year stint at New York City's Beacon Theater for an annual holiday concert. Her "Merry Christmas" album, first released in 1994, is one of the best-selling holiday albums of all time and features the contemporary classic "All I Want for Christmas is You."

Post Offices Brace For Busiest Mailing Day Of The Year
Joe Raedle/Staff/Getty Images News/Getty Images North America

2015

Although the overall volume of first-class mail sent through the U.S. Postal System has declined for years, Americans still love sending cards and gifts in the mail at holiday time. In 2015, an estimated 612 million pieces of mail was delivered during the holiday season.

Related: Don't Miss These Important Holiday Shipping Deadlines

Preschoolers Attend Menorah Lighting At Washington Synagogue Ahead Of Hanukkah
Alex Wong/Staff/Getty Images News/Getty Images North America

2018

It wouldn't be Hanukkah time without a lesson for preschoolers in how to light the menorah at Adas Israel Congregation in Washington, D.C. — and maybe a playful attempt to blow out the candle afterward.

President Trump Participates In 97th Annual National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony
Drew Angerer/Staff/Getty Images News/Getty Images North America

2019

The White House Christmas tree is an annual holiday tradition that dates back to. The 2019 tree, a Colorado blue spruce, soared 30 feet into the sky and dripped with more than 50,000 lights and 450 stars.

Related: 50 Best Christmas Light Displays in America