Christmas Throughout The Decades (1950’s-Today)

Estimated Reading Time: 12 minutes.

Take a trip down memory lane to a time when aluminum trees were cool or when you HAD to get a Rubik’s cube for Christmas to show just how smart you were. Christmastime has been a magical time for many years. Here is how people celebrated Christmas from the 1950’s to today and each decade’s Christmas Trends.

Christmas during the 1950’s

The tree was the center of attention. Aluminum Christmas trees very extremely popular as well as bubble lights. Many trees had a toy train set that went around it. Some trees would be sprayed on with snow and popcorn strings would be made to go around the tree.

This was a time with little technology. The house might have had one television, and Christmas specials weren’t popular yet. Kids asked for barbies, pogo sticks, hula hoops, and other simple toys. Going sledding was the best way to spend time with friends in the snow. Parents would tell their kids to “cool it” if they wanted Santa to bring them gifts.

Toy’s R Us was founded in June of 1957 and soon became an extremely popular toy store. Additionally, holiday commercials were starting to air. Here is a cool but kind-of creepy holiday egg nog commercial that might cause a few nightmares.

Christmas during the 1960’s

The trees were still extravagant and many of them were still aluminum. Tinsel and glass balls trees were “far out”.

Christmas specials started airing around this time. Frosty the Snowman aired on December 7th, 1969. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer aired on December 6th, 1964. I can’t imagine how exciting that must have been for all of the little girls and boys around that time.

I loved the hairstyles in the 1960’s. I think they are really “bitchen”. Here’s a tutorial video for 1960’s holiday hair.


See Related Article:Making Memories

Christmas during the 1970’s

Christmas specials were becoming more common and a tradition for families. Kids searched in Sears Roebuck and J.C. Penney’s Christmas catalogs for the items that they wanted. They also went to Toy’s R Us and marveled at the toy store that held all of their heart’s desires.

Christmas trees were REAL, and bulky. They came from department store lots. Pet rocks were “out of sight”. Pong was “righteous”.

Here is a really “far out” Toy’s R Us Commercial from 1975.


Christmas during the 1980’s

Wearing turtlenecks and Guess jeans during the winter months  was “fantabulous”. Shoulder pads, perms and tons of hairspray was “boss”.

There were so many cool toys in the 1980’s that I wish I had TODAY, as an adult. (I was almost an 80’s baby, I was born in 1990.) Cabbage Patch dolls, Smurfs, Rubik’s Cubes, Care Bears, Rainbow Brite, the list goes ON AND ON. It must have been “tubular” to be a kid in the 80’s…

One of my favorite Christmas movies, A Christmas Story, came out in 1983. Here’s my favorite clip from the movie:

Christmas in the 1990’s

Now this I remember. 

American Girl dolls and the Spice Girls were SO IN. Every little girl wanted a Spice Girls CD and an American Girl doll (along with doll accessories) for Christmas. Mariah Carey Christmas songs were being played everywhere. Beanie Babies had HOLIDAY EDITIONS. Everyone wanted a Nintendo 64.


A TV in each child’s bedroom was becoming the norm, so if a kid was too old for the traditional Christmas specials, he/she could tune into more teen or adult Christmas movies, like National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.

Watch Clark Freak Out

Seeing Santa at the mall was also a big event. Most parents would load up their van and take the kids to the mall to see Santa and to ask kids to pick out toys to put on their Christmas list. Christmas was also still celebrated at school throughout the country, but learning about other holidays and customs  as well was added to curriculum.


Christmas in the 2000’s- Today

Starting in the 2000’s until now almost every artist has recorded at least one Christmas song, either a remake of old one or their very own . Here are the top Christmas songs made since the year 2000. (Click here.)

As technology rose, more and more teenagers, pre-teens and even kids started to ask for devices wrapped under the tree. It went from Razor phones to Blackberrys to smartphones, Ipads and laptops. Game consoles became very popular, but flashback items such as Genesis Sega Classic Game Consoles, Magic 8 Balls, Transformers, Yo-Yos, Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots, and so much more are a bigger hit than some of the modern toys today. Are people beginning to miss how simple childhood used to be?

Toy’s R Us filed for bankruptcy this year.

With big retailers such as Amazon, Wal-Mart and Target, there seems to be little need for toy store chains. Additionally, Christmas is also no longer celebrated at many schools. While looking at the simplicity and magic of my childhood Christmases, I yearn for the same for my child. He’s only four and still asking for toys and believes in Santa, but I wonder if that will change soon. He also likes the old Christmas specials, which makes me happy because we can watch them together.

Although living in a world of technology does have its advantages during the holidays. It’s easy to find Christmas events and free places to see Santa. I just took my son to a free light show last weekend. Theres is also a million ideas on how to do fun crafts with your kids or easy crafts you can make yourself on Pinterest or Youtube, like the video below.

Well there you have it.

Christmas has changed somewhat throughout the last 60 years. What has remained the same in  the holiday tradition is that during the holidays, the love for family remains the same.

To our family, Christmas is an important time to reflect on the miracle of the birth of the Christ Child. And although I see Jesus leaving schools, I still see the real meaning of Christmas remain in many households. I hold this dear to my heart.

What is important to you during the holiday season? Feel free to share below.

-Holly, the imperfect momma.

The Christian Working Mom Blog


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