Each decade comes with its own delightful holiday trends. Looking back over the past 100 years, how many of these are a part of your family’s Christmas celebration?
2010s: Elf on the Shelf began when Carol Aebersold decided to share her childhood tradition with the world, self-publishing her book and elf kit, Elf on the Shelf: A Christmas Tradition. Read “Elf on the Shelf: An investigative report of mischief by Elf Jack” on page 72.
2000s: Ugly Christmas Sweater Parties originated in Vancouver, Canada, which claims to be the birthplace of the first such party in 2002, a phenomenon that soon took over the world.
1990s: Make it a Blockbuster Holiday. Christmas movie marathons in the ’90s meant driving to the nearest Blockbuster to check which holiday DVDs (or VHS tapes!) were available to rent — and then returning them to avoid a late fee.
1980s: (Ugly) Christmas Sweaters of the ’80s were oversized and covered with holiday-themed designs. These much-maligned sweaters would reemerge victoriously 20 years later, thanks to the popularity of Ugly Christmas Sweater Parties.
1970s: The Sears Christmas Catalog was pored over by American kids in the ’70s. Pages were dog-eared, circled, and ripped out, as kids badgered and begged their parents for the hottest toys of the season.
1960s: Many of the best Classic Christmas TV Specials first appeared in the ’60s — A Charlie Brown Christmas, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, and Nat King Cole’s The Magic of Christmas, just to name a few!
1950s: Aluminum Christmas Trees launched a futuristic holiday tradition for many American families. With the war in Korea finally at an end, metals that had been limited during the conflict were again available for use in consumer goods. Interestingly, A Charlie Brown Christmas is credited with largely killing off this trend.
1940s: Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer first appeared in 1939 when a Montgomery Ward copywriter created a Christmas story to give shoppers as a promotional item. Songwriter Johnny Marks later adapted the story of Rudolph into a song that was recorded by Gene Autry in 1949.
1930s: With the Great Depression affecting the national economy, families started leaving out Cookies & Milk for Santa as a sign of appreciation and gratefulness during tight financial times.
1920s: The newly invented electric light was shrunk down and strung together to make the first electric Christmas Tree Lights, eliminating the way people had traditionally lit their trees: candles.
1910s: The Advent Calendar tradition is credited to German-born Gerard Lang. His mother gave him a cookie a day to count down to Christmas, and from that memory he created a paper calendar with numbered doors to open each day of Advent.