What Christmas Trees Looked Like 100 Years Ago

The Christmas Tree didn’t become a popular tradition in the U.S. until the mid 1850’s. At that time, many of the trees were lit with actual candles. After quite a few fires, people shifted to tinsel, ornaments, and eventually artificial lights.

In the late 1800s and early 1900s, there wasn’t wide-spread agreement on exactly what a tree should look like, which made for lots of creativity. Here are a few of our favorite photos…

Christmas tree in the Orson Reynolds House, ca 1880. (Credit: Reynolds Genealogy).
xmas-tree-100-years-ago-1

Here we see some tinsel coming in to the picture in the late 1890s. And also a star on the top.
xmas-tree-100-years-ago-2

One of the only known photos of a tree glimmering with those actual candles! This photo is from a party in the year 1900.
xmas-tree-100-years-ago-3

In this photo, it appears as though the candles weren’t lit, but the photographer added some flickering light afterwards.
xmas-tree-100-years-ago-4

Christmas tree from a house in Dayton, Ohio in 1910. Here we see more developed ornaments and even some popcorn tinsel! And look at those dolls and the little buggy. Big Christmas!
xmas-tree-100-years-ago-5

Another early 1900s photo of a big tree with lots of presents. Isn’t it neat to see the presents all wrapped like ordinary packages? The colorful paper wouldn’t become the norm for many years after.
xmas-tree-100-years-ago-6

This photo from 1933 shows a popular child actor screaming in delight at his Christmas haul.
xmas-tree-100-years-ago-7

This 1910 photo shows an early view of the flapper fashion, but she’s definitely lighting those candles with a match.
xmas-tree-100-years-ago-8

Many families opted for smaller trees that they put on a table as part of a Christmas display.
xmas-tree-100-years-ago-9

This is a look inside the Brown family home in 1904. What a beautiful scene.
xmas-tree-100-years-ago-10

The early 1900s tree here shows some handmade ornaments and a few gifts ready for the kids.
xmas-tree-100-years-ago-11

Here is a more traditional small tree from New South Wales.
xmas-tree-100-years-ago-12

H/T OldPhotoArchive

SHARE this with your friends!