Vintage Christmas Tree Photographs

Just for the fun of it, presented here are a few vintage photographs of some timeless Christmas trees of the late 19th and early-to-mid 20th centuries...

A family Christmas photo of the very late 19th century. Notice the tree is lit with candles, and that the lighting chandelier is gas powered. Even the ceiling is wallpapered in this charming Victorian home. This photo is from the collection of Marshall


Kindly shared with us from the collection of David Neely, this circa 1900 photo show a pre-electric tree
lit with beeswax candles. Apparently this was the tree of a fairly wealthy family, as evidenced by the large number of store-bought glass decorations and garlands used on it, and the expensive dolls and Schoenhut child's piano under the tree. This is a beautiful example of an early twentieth century American Christmas tree, and is unusually well decorated.


Here is another interesting picture from the collection of Marshall Gulbranson, and is from the very early 1900s. Notice the elaborate Putz scene under the tree, and the almost life size doll sitting between the children at the bottom of the photo. The tree appears to be lit with exhaust tipped carbon filament lamps, and sits on a covered table, a practice typical of the times.


This 1907 British hand tinted postcard shows a rather slender Santa with the Christmas tree in his bag. A long standing early tradition in many homes both in America and Great Britain, Santa would bring the tree with him on Christmas Eve, where he would set it up, decorate it and load it down with gifts to surprise the family on Christmas morning. The tree in this scene is lit with candles. The excellent restoration of this photograph was undertaken by Lee Lowry.


The back of this 1912 photograph states that it was "hand colored from life", meaning the hand tinting was executed according to the colors of the actual scene. Turn of the century photographers would often make notes during an in-home picture session, so as to more accurately colorize the picture after it was processed. In this case, the artist was a bit over zealous in colorizing the packages beneath the tree, as they were all wrapped in white paper with red ribbons-traditional in the days before commercial wrapping paper was introduced by the Hallmark company. This tree has no electric lighting...







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