A Century of Magical Holiday Photos

U.S. President John F. Kennedy (1917 - 1963) (C) and First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy (1929 - 1994) pose with their family on Christmas Day

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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
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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: Reputable Charities to Help This Holiday Season

New York's Christmas tree for the homeless waiting to be erected in Madison Square.
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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.

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

Related: Fun Facts About the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

American Ambulance Unit With The Yuletide Spirit
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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.

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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
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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'
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"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
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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
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A view of the Roxy Theatre Marquee as the 1952 Christmas Show of "Toast of the Town"
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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.
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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
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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
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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
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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
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First Lady of the United States Rosalynn Carter holding a doll under the Christmas tree
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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'
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"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'
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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
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U.S. President George W. Bush Lights Menorah at White House
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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.
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Mariah Carey Performs Her Holiday Smash Hits At The Beacon Theater In NYC
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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
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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 were delivered during the holiday season.

Related: Don't Miss These Important Holiday Shipping Deadlines

Preschoolers Attend Menorah Lighting At Washington Synagogue Ahead Of Hanukkah
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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
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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

Young Caucasian woman welcoming her African American friend to her home