There’s no question that the holiday season is a special time of year. It brings out the best in all of us. The streets are filled with twinkling lights, the stores are full of festive jingles and the air carries hints of cinnamon, ginger, and first snowfall. If we think back to Christmas time from our childhood, we’re bound to feel a sense of warm nostalgia of memories gone by, and history in the making.
In honor of this sentiment, let’s take a step back in time to remember what Christmas was all about through the years. As we remember these important moments that helped shape our holiday cheer, we can use it as inspiration to embrace the holiday merriment that’s to come.
In 1995, Coca-Cola Brought a Little More Light to Our Holiday Season
It’s almost impossible to talk about iconic Christmas commercials without bringing up the Coca-Cola Christmas Caravan, which made its first television debut in 1995. The commercial, which featured three 40-foot semi-trucks decked out with more than 30,000 festive light bulbs was brought to life by ad agency W.B. Doner.
The ad featured special effects from the same company responsible for bringing Star Wars, Raiders of the Lost Ark and Forrest Gump to the big screen. The trucks featured images of the now well known Coca-Cola Santa, illustrated by artist Haddon Sundblom. Since the first appearance in 1995, the Coca-Cola Christmas Caravan has continued to make appearances around the holiday season both via TV commercials and real life tours.
In 1994, Mariah Carey Debuted her Christmas Album
Ever since the 1994 release of her Merry Christmas album, Mariah Carey has maintained her position as the celebrated Queen of Christmas. Since then, her upbeat and festive holiday tunes have become synonymous with Christmas cheer, right up there with Santa, mistletoe, and wine.
The album features covers of popular Christmas songs as well as never before heard original tunes. The track “All I Want for Christmas Is You” went on to become one of the best-selling singles of all time. The album sold 5.6 million copies in the US and 15 million worldwide.
In 1993, Tim Burton Released One of the Most Iconic Christmas Films
The Nightmare Before Christmas was a holiday film that set itself apart from all others, to say the least. The stop-motion animated musical took a dark twist on the regular Christmas theme and in true Time Burton fashion, he was ready to pull all the quirky stops to bring his vision to life. The film originated as a three-page poem written by Burton almost a decade prior to its release.
The acclaimed filmmaker was always fascinated with the holiday season during his childhood and the poem was highly inspired by popular holiday classics such as Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and the poem A Visit from St. Nicholas. Production for the movie took about three years before its debut in 1993. It grossed over $76 million during its initial run.
In 1992, the Muppets Taught Us the True Meaning of Christmas
The Muppets Christmas Carol was the fourth theatrical film to feature the Muppets. It was also the first feature film following the passing of the man behind the Muppets, Jim Henson. Instead, it was directed by Henson’s son, Brian Henson, giving him his directorial debut.
In addition to the cast of fun-loving Muppets, the movie also starred a 59-year-old Michael Caine, playing the role of Ebenezer Scrooge. Caine did an impeccable job at portraying the angry anti-Christmas money-lender. The actor has even stated that the role was once of his most memorable.
In 1991, The Super Nintendo was on Everyone’s Wish List
The first Super Nintendo Entertainment System was released in 1990 in Japan. The console then made its way to the North American market just a few months before Christmas in September 1991. This was Nintendo’s second programmable home console. And everyone couldn’t wait to get their hands on one!
The system featured full digital stereo sound and advanced graphics that no one had ever seen before. As part of the 1991 bundle with the console, buyers also received a copy of the Super Mario World game. Incidentally, this brought worldwide fame to one of the most recognized video game heroes ever.
In 1990, Macaulay Culkin Outsmarted the Bad Guys
These days, it’s almost impossible for a Christmas season to pass us by without a rerun of one of the most timeless Christmas films, Home Alone. The movie not only gave millions of families something fun to watch every year, but it also earned a young Culkin a Golden Globe Award nomination for Best Actor.
Not only that, but the movie also earned two Academy Award nominations and became the highest-grossing Christmas film of all time. It managed to hold on to this record up until 2018, with the release of The Grinch. Home Alone also managed to produce a successful film franchise, coming out with four sequels since the original 1990 release.
In 1989, Hershey Sold us Chocolate in the Most Whimsical Way
Each year, when this timeless Hershey’s kisses commercial airs right around the winter season, viewers can’t help but hold onto the feelings of warm nostalgia. It evokes all the memories of holiday past. With just 16 seconds of stop-motion animation and a seemingly simple concept, the famed chocolate company managed to change the holiday commercial game.
The commercial, which consists of 11 chocolates “ringing” the tune of “We Wish You A Merry Christmas,” somehow manages to convey its message without a single spoken word. To this day, the ad which debuted in 1989, still airs every holiday season and stands as Hershey’s longest-running product commercial ever.
In 1988, Prince Harry Showed Off His Acting Skills
A four-year-old Prince Harry looks adorable as ever as he heads to the stage to take on the important role of the shepherd at his school’s nativity play. The year previous, in 1987, Prince Harry was seen decked out in a red and green elf costume.
Like most royal holiday traditions, participating in the nativity play was also passed down to future generations. In 2017, Harry’s nephew, Prince George also took part in the play, taking on the role of a sheep. He was also four years old, just like his Uncle back in the day.
In 1987, Run-Dmc Gave Christmas Tunes a Hip Hop Twist
Back in 1987, Run-DMC received an invitation to contribute a holiday song to a charity compilation titled A Very Special Christmas. The album, put together to benefit the Special Olympics, included big-name artists such as Bruce Springsteen, Madonna, and Whitney Houston, all doing covers of classic holiday songs.
Run-DMC decided they were going to go the extra mile and write a brand new and original Christmas song. And so came the debut of one of the “coolest” Christmas songs of all time, “Christmas in Hollies.” Although at the time it didn’t reach peak success, over the years it did gain quite a fan base. Today, it’s still one of the only got to Christmas songs in hip hop culture.
In 1986, These Two Pilots Flew Around the World
After flying their Rutan Model 76 Voyager a total of 26,266 statute miles, Dick Rutan and Jeana Yeager became the first two pilots to fly around the world without stopping or refueling. The flight began on December 14, 1986, and ended nine days, three minutes, and 44 seconds later on December 23, just in time for Christmas.
When first discovering their dream to circumnavigate the world, Yeager and Rutan struggled to find a commercial sponsor. Instead, they started the Voyager Impressive People (VIP) program and through generous donations, they were able to source money to build, test and fly the plane that would eventually take them on their 216-hour journey. If that doesn’t scream Christmas spirit, then we don’t know what does.
In 1985, Chris Van Allsburg Created a Christmas Classic
Most people will recognize this iconic book cover as the 1985 classic, The Polar Express. Both written and illustrated by Chris Van Allsburg, this Caldecott Medal winner was later turned into an Oscar-nominated motion-capture film in 2004.
The film, starring Tom Hanks even had Van Allsburg as an executive producer so he could take part in bringing his storybook to life. He had based the story on an old train named the Pere Marquette 1225, which he had played on as a child when it was on display. The number 1225 or 12/25 inspired the author to create the storyline around Christmas day.
In 1984, George Michael Gave Us All His Heart
Although Wham!’s “Last Christmas,” never reached No 1., having been knocked out of the top spot by charity supergroup, Band-Aid, there’s no doubt that their song was one of the most beloved and festive of 1984. However, there were no hard feelings. George Michael, who also took part in Band Aid’s “Do They Know It’s Christmas” even decided to donate the royalties from “Last Christmas” to Band Aid’s charity efforts.
Today, Wham’s hit Christmas single still stands as a holiday favorite and is now the best-selling single to never reach the top of the UK charts. George Michael not only wrote the song he also produced, performed and played every single instrument on the track. Since then the song has been covered by countless musicians and still stands as a holiday favorite all around the world.
In 1983, We All Learned a Very Valuable Lesson
When A Christmas Story premiered in 1983, the world was suddenly introduced to a new kind of holiday movie. A film with far fewer sugarplum fairies and effortless merriment. This was a movie that showed the true trials and tribulations of the Christmas season, straight through the eyes of a hopeful nine-year-old boy.
Today the film has become a staple of holiday spirit and some of its iconic scenes can be quoted word for word by its passionate viewers. For this particular scene, when Flick gets a triple dog dared to put his tongue on the nearby pole, the crew had to hide a suction tube within the pole in order to create the illusion that his tongue had actually frozen to the metal.
In 1982, Prince William Celebrated His First Christmas
Born June 21, 1982, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge was only half a year old when he celebrated his first royal Christmas with parents, Princess Diana and Prince Charles. Now, 37 years later, the Duke of Cambridge is able to celebrate the holiday season with three wide-eyed royal children of his own.
The previous year, in 1981 was Princess Diana’s first Christmas as a royal. Unfortunately, she was not informed ahead in time of a few of the many royal Christmas traditions. For instance, while Diana gifted Princess Anne with a cashmere sweater, she received a traditional gag gift of a toilet paper cover. Thankfully, her second year she was ready to join in the silliness, gifting Duchess Fergie with a leopard-print bath mat.
In 1981, Celine Dion Welcomed Christmas in Canada
As her second French-language studio album and her first-ever Christmas album, Canadian singer released Céline Dion chante Noël just in time for Christmas in 1981. The album contains traditional French Christmas carols all sung by a 13-year-old Dion.
Two years later in 1983, the singer released her second Christmas album, Chants et contes de Noël. Then after another five years, she recorded her first English-language Christmas album. This album was titled These Are Special Times and became one of the best-selling Christmas albums of all time.
In 1980, the Rubiks Cube Made It’s International Debut
Originally called the Magic Cube, this popular 3-D color combination puzzle was invented back in 1974 by a Hungarian sculptor named Erno Rubik. As a professor of architecture, Rubik wanted to create a way to help his students understand three-dimensional problems. This puzzle, the first of which took him a whole month to solve, was his way of doing so.
In 1980, Rubiks agreed to allow a fellow visionary by the name of Tom Kremer to distribute his genius invention. It was then that it received its new name, the Rubik’s Cube. The first global launch was relatively modest. However, by Christmas time, it had already been deemed an ideal stocking stuffer. From then on the Rubik’s craze continued to take off with flying colors.
In 1979, Atari Changed Family Game Night For Good
The Atari Video Computer System, first released in September 1977, had found its way onto countless letters to Santa by Christmas 1979. In fact, it was one of the most wished-for Christmas gifts of that year. Every kid wanted to find one under their tree.
This computer system acted as one of the first available to the general public. By the end of its production in 1992, Atari had sold 30 million units. This also led to the popularity of the iconic video game, Pac-Man which began development in 1979. It then began chomping his way into the lives of gamers everywhere just one year later.
In 1978, the World Celebrated The Holidays in a Galaxy Far Far Away
The Star Wars Holiday Special, released in 1978, is the first official Star Wars spin-off film in what has become a very long line of spin-offs. It features the cast from the original film and is set between the original and The Empire Strikes Back. The holiday special was only broadcast once in the U.S, the week before Thanksgiving.
Contrary to the rest of the franchise, this televised film was also a musical, featuring original music composed for the occasion. It also had an animated segment, which acted as the first official Star Wars cartoon. Unfortunately the special had a notoriously negative reception from viewers. It even earned a spot on TV Guide’s ranking of “25 Most Hilarious Holiday TV Moments,” despite the fact that the “hilarity” was completely unintentional.
In 1977, Two Musical Icons Rang in the Holidays Together
In 1977, Singers David Bowie and Bing Crosby came together to record their own rendition of two classic Christmas songs, “The Little Drummer Boy” and “Peace on Earth.” The track was recorded for Crosby’s television special, Bing Crosby’s Merrie Olde Christmas. This was a collaboration that no one had expected, considering they had a very different fan base.
Although reluctant at first, due to his apparent dislike for the song “Peace on Earth,” Bowie later admitted that his main reason for appearing on the show had to do with his mother’s fandom of Crosby. The duet was later released as a track single and received great commercial success, peaking at number three on the UK Singles Chart.
In 1976, Betty Ford Continued a White House Tradition
Every December since the 1800s, the White House Christmas tree proudly sat in Blue Room for visitors to admire. Since the 60s, with Jackie Kennedy’s genius idea, the first ladies have been decorating this tree according to a theme of their choosing.
In December 1976, first lady Betty Ford chose the theme “The Love that is the Spirit of Christmas.” This was intended to embrace the charitable Christmas spirit and the true meaning of the holiday season. 1976 was Ford’s third Christmas in the White House. The year previous she chose the theme “An Old-Fashioned Christmas in America”
In 1975, the Strangest Craze Took over the Toy Industry
While hanging out in a bar with friends, advertising executive Gary Dahl listened on as they complained about their pets. Together they joked about how the perfect pet would simply be an inanimate rock as it would not require any training or maintenance. Dahl, however, decided to take this idea literally. From there went on to create the perfect marketing campaign.
After writing up a 32-page training manual full of gags, puns, and jokes, Dahl then went on to collect smooth stones from Mexico’s Rosarito Beach. These stones would then be marketed like live pets, even sitting in custom cardboard boxes with breathing holes. By Christmas season of that same year, the fad had reached its peak and everyone wanted their very own pet rock, which was sold for $4 each. Dahl sold a total of 1.5 million Pet Rocks before the fad lost its fire some months later.
In 1974, Santa Almost Left Us Hanging
The classic stop motion animated television special, The Year Without a Santa Claus, starring Mickey Rooney as Santa, aired for the first time in 1974 on ABC. Since then it has returned to the network each year as part of its annual “25 Days of Christmas” programming. This televised tradition continued up until recent years, in 2017.
The heartwarming holiday classic also inspired a live-action remake in 2006 as well as a sequel titled A Miser Brothers’ Christmas in 2008. In this sequel, actor Mickey Rooney, who was 88 at the time, returned to his original role as Santa Claus and George S. Irving, age 86 reprised his role as Heat Mister.
In 1973, We Stepped Into Christmas With Elton
As part of The Gilbert O’Sullivan Show, musical icon, Elton John made a welcomed appearance to perform his holiday favorite, “Step into Christmas.” In true Elton fashion, the singer did so dressed as festive as ever with big white feathers and his funky trademark sunglasses.
The song, which was released as a stand-alone single in November 1973, peaked at No. 24 on the UK Singles Chart and peaked at No. 10 just this past year in 2018. In 2009, it was also recorded as the ninth most played Christmas song in the UK.
In 1972, The Chevrolet Vega Rolled onto Family Wish Lists
Since its initial release a year previous, GM’s Chevrolet Vega remained a popular choice for car buyers, even earning the Motor Trend Car of the Year award in 1971. That being said, General Motors did receive enormous backlash shortly after which resulted in numerous recalls and design upgrades.
For decades, big-name motor companies such as Ford, General Motors, and Chrysler loved to ring in the holiday season in style. With elaborate in-store displays and holiday advertisements, these well-known car companies do whatever they can to convince you to buy their brand new models over the holidays.
In 1971, John and Yoko Activated for a Peaceful Christmas
John and Yoko also tried their hand at creating a festive holiday song, only with an expected John and Yoko twist. The song, titled “Happy Xmas (War Is Over)” debuted in 1971 and acted as the seventh single released by Lennon since beginning to work outside the Beatles.
The song doubles up as a protest against the Vietnam War and its release followed a two year run of peace activism for the couple which began with their notorious 1969 bed-ins. Although the single’s late release led to limited airplay for the 1971 holiday season, it did rea-appear on the Billboard Christmas charts the following year and it peaked at number four on the UK Singles Chart.
In 1970, the Jackson 5 Had Us up and Dancing Through the Holidays
The Jackson 5 Christmas Album released in October 1970 was the first Christmas studio album for the infamous family Motown group. This was the third album released by the group that year. The Christmas album has since been deemed by many as one of the best holiday albums in history.
It spent four weeks at the number one position on Billboard magazine’s special Christmas Albums chart. It was also the best-selling Christmas album of that year and sold over 3.5 million copies worldwide.
In 1969, the Queen Skipped out on an Important Tradition
Every year at 3pm on Christmas Day, millions around the world tune in to listen to her majesty’s Christmas message. However, For the first and only time throughout Queen Elizabeth’s reign to date, on Christmas day 1969, there was no such broadcast.
In place of the broadcast, the queen decided to write a Christmas letter instead. Due to the recent release of the documentary film Royal Family, Queen Elizabeth had decided that the family needed a break from the spotlight. In her letter, she wrote, “I want you all to know that my good wishes are no less warm and personal because they come to you in a different form.”
In 1968, All Eyes Were Towards the Skies
A group of children in Virginia gathered to watch the Christmas eve broadcast of the Apollo 8 space mission which orbited the moon in December 1968. This marked the first time that mankind had left Earth’s gravity, so you can imagine the excitement throughout the world was at an all-time high.
In the spirit of Christmas, the Apollo 8 crew members, Bill Anders, Jim Lovell, and Frank Borman decided to take turns reading from the Book of Genesis, as they orbited the moon. This was the most-watched television broadcast of all time.
In 1967, Young Soldiers Were Still Celebrating Far from Home
The Vietnam war was a long war that lasted from 1955 to 1973 which meant each year, the young deployed soldiers were forced to celebrate the holiday season miles away from their friends and family. Even amidst the trials and challenges of war, the troops still did what they could to get into the Christmas spirit.
This included setting up plastic Christmas trees wherever they were based at the time, enjoying a special holiday meal and attending Bob Hopes Christmas Tours. Each year, the holidays also prompted a temporary ceasefire, so that fighters on both sides could enjoy some peace and quiet, if even for 24 hours.
In 1966, Twister Made Its Much Needed Comeback
When the game of Twister first debuted in 1965, retailers were apprehensive to stock their shelves with it. It was seen by many as too scandalous and awkward. This rejection was so extreme that Milton Bradley decided to pull the game out of production. Luckily, however, it had made its comeback the following year.
Johnny Carson, who was then the host of The Tonight Show found intrigue in this new game. This was the first game he had ever seen which used players as the playing pieces. He decided to demonstrate the game along with Eva Gabor live on the show. And the rest is history. The very next day, costumers were lined up to buy the few Twisters that were still left behind. The follower years, Twister was named “Game of the Year” and still exists as a popular party game, fit for all ages.
In 1965, Over 15 Million Homes Tuned in to a Charlie Brown Christmas
The first TV special based on the comic strip Peanuts came out in 1965, called A Charlie Brown Christmas. Created by Charles M. Schulz, it followed Charlie Brown’s journey to feeling happy during the holiday season. Despite the cheer of the festival, Charlie feels down. It’s only after learning about the true meaning of Christmas that he feels better and proceeds to happily celebrate with the Peanuts gang.
The show received much praise and garnered a huge amount of attention, drawing in 45% of TV watchers on the night it aired. Allegedly, everyone involved with the show thought it would be a disaster, largely due to the slow pace and simplistic animation. In the end, its success exceeded everyone’s expectations.
In 1964, the Beatles Reached out to Their Most Devoted Fans
The Beatles followed up on their previous Christmas record from the year before, with Another Beatles Christmas Record. These records were sent out to official fan clubs of the English rock band who were addressed the “loyal Beatle people.” It became a useful tool for reaching out to their huge fanbase, whose letters would often not be answered for a long time.
These special holiday records contained songs, skits, and carols. And naturally, the Beatles injected their personal brand of humor throughout. On the record, John Lennon mocks a prepared statement: “No it’s somebody’s bad hand-wroter. It’s been a busy year Beople peadles, one way and another, but it’s been a great year too. You fans have seen to that.”
In 1963, the Berlin Wall Was Opened for a Single Day
On December 20th in 1963, West Berliners were permitted to visit their relatives on the East side for a single day. It had been two years since East Germany had built the wall to stop people from leaving the communist regime, and the temporary access was granted during the festive season.
It was an emotional moment for the city, as almost 4,000 West Berliners crossed over to the Eastern side. People laughed, cried, and caught up with beloved family and friends, savoring the short few hours they had together. The Berlin wall would not fall until November 9th, 1989.
In 1962, Kennedy Celebrated His Last Christmas
John F. Kennedy’s assassination in 1963 meant that Christmas in ’62 was the last time he celebrated the holiday. Kennedy and his family were in Palm Beach, Florida – their usual haunt for the festive season. This time, however, they opted for C. Michael Paul’s residence rather than their family home.
In the photo, Kennedy is pictured with his wife and First Lady Jackie Kennedy, her nephew Anthony Radziwill on her lap, John F Kennedy Jr, Caroline Kennedy, Gustavo Paredes (son of Mrs. Kennedy’s assistant Providencia Paredes,) and lastly Prince Stanislaw Radziwill of Poland with his wife Lee and their daughter Anna Christina.
In 1961, Wilt Chamberlain Makes Sports History
American Basketballer Wilt Chamberlain is considered by many to be one of the best players in Basketballers in history. We can see why – he took 36 rebounds on Christmas Day in 1961, making it the most achieved during the holiday in NBA history.
His 59 points remained the scoring record on Christmas day for the next 23 years, with his quantity of rebounds making it an all-time highest average. He was an unstoppable force, and people got to see the true extent of his skill and stamina during that momentous match.
In 1960, Chatty Cathy Flew off the Shelves
Coming in second place to Barbies, Chatty Cathy dolls were extremely popular in the 60s. While their mouths did not move, they would speak aloud when someone pulled on the “chatty ring” attached to their back. You would hear phrases such as “I love you”, or “May I have a cookie?” from famed voice actress of the day, June Foray.
And so, the Mattel toy company was able to capitalize on their growing popularity during the holiday season of 1960. Chatty Cathy was the new and exciting must-have for little girls, as Mattel stock department stores and put out TV ads. Children everywhere wanted to get their hands on their very own talking human doll. Chatty Cathy filled a gap in the market and opened up new possibilities for children’s toy manufacturing.
In 1959, Hawaii Celebrated As the 50th State
The island of Hawaii was an independent nation until 1898. The first known settlers of the Hawaiian Islands were Polynesian voyagers who arrived sometime in the eighth century.
Hawaii became the 50th U.S. State on August 21, 1959. The Hawaiians celebrate the holiday in a more unique way than most. First, a large meal is eaten and then, surfing or swimming often takes place in the waters, and musical groups with guitars and ukuleles and dancing hula entertain the crowds on the beach.
In 1958, Elvis Spent This Year in the Army
Although he was supposed to report to the army in January 1958 he was granted a deferment. On March 24, 1958, Elvis Presley was finally inducted, starting his day as the King of Rock and Roll, but ending it as a lowly buck private in the United States Army.
This was the first year Elvis spent Christmas proudly serving our country. Two years earlier he had released his first self titled album. He later went on to record a string of Christmas hits including Santa Claus is Back in Town and White Christmas. It looks like Elvis had one here!
In 1957, We Were Throwing Discs Around
In 1957, the Wham-O toy company rolled out the first batch of their aerodynamic plastic discs – later known to millions of fans all over the world as Frisbees.
Los Angeles based Walter Frederick Morrison invented a plastic version of the disc called the “Flying Saucer” that could fly further and with better accuracy than a tin pie plate. In 1958, a year after the toy’s first release, Wham-O (the company) changed its name to the Frisbee disc.
In 1956, Shirley Jones Was Celebrating in Style
The Oscar-winning actress Shirley Jones was a musical star in the 1950s and early 1960s before she was cast in the role of Shirley Partridge on The Partridge Family. This year she had just starred as the lead actress in the musical Carousel.
Here the glamor icon poses by a beautifully decorated Christmas tree in 1956. In her six decades in show business, she has starred as wholesome characters in a number of well-known roles. The musical star is also known for her roles in Oklahoma and South Pacific.
In 1955, We Were Jumping for Joy When This Was Invented
The origins of the trampoline as a sport began in the 1930s when young George Nissen invented and built trampolines designed for school and college use. But in 1955 they were now available for home use and every kid wanted one!
The inventor of the trampoline, George Nissen, released a historical film in the same year called Whatever Goes Up. The “bouncy trampoline” was sold at Sears for $34.95. One of the things you do notice is much lower safety on Children’s toys from the fifties – there were no safety features enforced as we would expect today. Just be sure to jump with caution!
In 1954, It Was a White Christmas
In 1954, the classic holiday musical White Christmas was released, this iconic movie has proved to stand the test of time. The musical was set on Christmas Eve and featured a talented, all-singing and all-dancing cast.
The production is still a holiday favorite and featured all the greats from the Golden Age of Hollywood, including Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney, and Vera-Ellen. The legendary crooner Bing Crosby also sang the classic theme song from the movie “White Christmas”, and it is still played today.
In 1953, We Were Watching TV in Color
Color TV was introduced in late 1953, just in time for the holidays. This was every kid’s dream, although it wasn’t until the early 1960s that color TV started to take off. If you had one of these at your house, all the kids wanted to come over.
Just before the inaugural live Rose Parade broadcast, the first filmed series to have a color episode aired was Dragnet in December 1953. Sadly, cartoons didn’t even come in color until 1962.
In 1952, Young Queen Elizabeth Gave Her First Christmas Radio Broadcast
After the young Queen Elizabeth ascended to the throne in February 1952, she commemorated her royal appointment with her first radio broadcast on Christmas Day of the same year.
The queen broadcasted her Christmas message live on BBC radio from her study, which was in Sandringham House in Norfolk. Thanks to new technology, Queen Elizabeth made her first televised royal Christmas broadcast on Christmas Day in 1957. Today, she still continues to televise her Christmas broadcasts to this day.
In 1951, A Christmas Carol Was Released
In 1951, the British fantasy drama A Christmas Carol was released in the US. The movie was adapted from Charles Dickens’ infamous 19th-century novel of the same title. It was originally released as Scrooge in the UK, but the name was later changed to stay true to Charles Dickens’ roots in the US.
The classic movie features Alistair Sim as Ebenezer Scrooge, who is famously against celebrating Christmas. He is then visited by the Spirits of Christmas Past, Present, and Future. They all collude to try to help Scrooge capture the spirit of holidays and recognize the good is all around him.
In 1950, Peanuts Brought Us Charlie Brown
Peanuts comic strip was created by Charles M. Schulz in October 1950. What started out in just seven newspapers ultimately grew into a worldwide phenomenon. At its height, Peanuts was published in 2,600 newspapers and 75 countries.
The syndicated comic is best known for its characters Snoopy, Charlie Brown, Sally, and Linus to name a few. A Charlie Brown Christmas animated feature was December 9, 1965.
In 1949, We Would Shop Candy Cane Lane at Marshall Fields
Candy can lane was a sight to see at the Marshall Fields department store in 1949, Chicago. It was a delight to see for children and adults alike, inspiring all to shop for the holiday season.
Marshall Feilds was known for its elaborate window displays throughout the early department store days. The company was later acquired by Macy’s, before closing all of its stores ultimately in 2006. It’s definitely bringing back some memories for us!
In 1948, the First Polaroid Camera was Available
Just before Christmas time in November 1948, Edwin Land debuted the first “Land Camera” to the world. It was a historic moment as it was the first instant-results photography system of its kind. The iconic camera became more popularly known as the Polaroid camera.
The first Polaroid camera went on sale at the Jordan Marsh department store in Boston. It was eventually sold for $89.75, which would be the equivalent of $900 in today’s prices. The iconic product was a huge breakthrough for the time and helped inspire the next generation of instant self-developing cameras.
In 1947, A Miracle Happened on 34th Street
In 1945, the feel-good holiday classic Miracle on 34th Street first premiered. Although it was originally released in the UK as The Big Heart, the movie title was later adapted for the US audience, and it became the Christmas classic that we all know and love.
The miraculous movie was set in New York between Thanksgiving and Christmas Day and featured a young girl, played by Maureen O’Hara and her mother played by Natalie Wood. It centered around the department store Santa who claimed to be the real Santa Claus, and still holds a special place in Christmas history.