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25 Pictures From Christmas Past That Show Just How Much The Holiday Has Changed

’Tis the season to journey back in time to witness the ghosts of Christmas past!

Posted on December 23, 2018, at 5:50 p.m. ET

The iconic Rockettes kicking off the holiday season at New York’s Radio City Music Hall in 1967.

NBC / Getty Images

This magical Christmas scene on Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles, circa 1950.

Harvey Meston / Getty Images

The busy postal clerks of New York City helping Santa to sort Christmas mail in 1954.

Volkmar K. Wentzel & Donald Mcba / Getty Images

This enormous pile of holiday packages at London’s Mount Pleasant Post Office in 1952.

Fox Photos / Getty Images

This incredible snapshot from 1920 of immigrants on Ellis Island enjoying their first Christmas dinner in the United States.

Bettmann / Bettmann Archive

When the New York Post Office decided to “go big” to keep up with holiday demand in 1955.

Three Lions / Getty Images

This deflated but jolly Santa being dragged by his elves during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in 1941.

New York Daily News Archive / Getty Images

A group of city-slicker Santas cruising down the streets of New York City in 1969.

Ernst Haas / Getty Images

And also in 1969, the holiday theme on London’s Carnaby Street was an homage to space exploration.

Mirrorpix / Getty Images

This small holiday comfort for US troops deployed to Vietnam in 1967.

AFP / Getty Images

And the only tree left standing at this trench on the eastern front of World War I, circa 1915.

Fpg / Getty Images

Visions of sugarplums are dancing in the dreams of this young girl, fast asleep in her family’s bomb shelter in London during World War II.

Fox Photos / Getty Images

These 42-inch holiday hairdos, which in hindsight may have been a bit over-the-top — even for 1961.

Getty Images

A holiday message from John Lennon and Yoko Ono in New York’s Times Square, 1969.

Bettmann / Bettmann Archive

This free-falling Santa Claus, who seems to have lost his reindeer over England, in 1967.

Keystone-france / Getty Images

This magical holiday meeting in 1977 between two musical geniuses — Bing Crosby and David Bowie.

Bettmann / Bettmann Archive

This stunning snapshot of the Queen of Disco, Donna Summer, showing off her holiday decor at her Los Angeles home in 1976.

Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Images

Artist Salvador Dali wishing everyone a surreal Christmas in 1961.

Bettmann / Bettmann Archive

Santa Claus giving Robin Williams a questionable gift on the dance floor of Studio 54 in New York City, circa 1979.

Images Press / Getty Images

And this Santa from Ohio who definitely made the naughty list in 1978.


Crowds of holiday shoppers desperate for the hottest toy of 1983 — Cabbage Patch Kids.

Manchester Daily Express / Getty Images

And the Clintons’ pet cat, Socks, who is very curious to know what’s inside his White House stocking in 1993.

Smith Collection / Getty Images

This touching moment of President George H.W. Bush reading a Christmas story to his grandchildren in 1991.

Susan Biddle / Getty Images

And that time first lady Nancy Reagan cozied up with Mr. T at the White House in 1983.

Diana Walker / Time & Life Pictures / Getty Image

And finally, New York’s Rockefeller Center Christmas tree in all of its beautiful, holiday glory in 1982.

Bettmann / Bettmann Archive

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.