Holidays

Children playing in front of the tree in this vintage Christmas photo is such a classic scene.
Harold M. Lambert/Archive Photos/Getty Images

Get All Nostalgic With These Vintage Christmas Photos

They'll warm your heart faster than a giant mug of hot cocoa.

I can literally think of nothing better than cozying up with my family to dig into a bunch of old photo albums. And when I say old, I mean the most nostalgic snaps of my grandparents and parents as children. Looking at this list of vintage Christmas photos tugs at my heartstrings in an extremely similar fashion, and I just can't get enough.

Can you just picture for a moment a snowy December evening, a blazing fireplace with stockings hung by the chimney (with care, of course), the smell of wassail warming on the stovetop, and the sounds of your loved ones outright cackling over the photo of your Great Uncle Eddie the year his mom knit him a holiday sweater that was three sizes too small? It just sounds incredibly picturesque — like a moment that I want to re-create every single year.

Even if you can't gather with friends and family this season, living vicariously through the precious moments that these vintage Christmas photos offer up can help give you all the holiday feels. Grab a steaming mug of something delicious, don your most festive fuzzy socks, and bask in the glow of these classic Christmas scenes straight from an old-fashioned, tree-lit living room to your smartphone.

1

The Big Moment

Harold M. Lambert/Archive Photos/Getty Images

The second my kids wake up on Christmas morning, they literally hit the ground running in a full sprint toward the tree. Sure, Christmas is about more than gifts, but the big moment when the gifts under the tree can finally be opened is still one worth re-living year after year in photo form.

2

Brotherly Love

The Harrington Family Collection/Archive Photos/Getty Images

This photo of two Miami brothers in 1961 gives just a glimpse into a simpler time back when stuffed alligators and toy fire trucks were the hottest of hot Christmas gifts for kids. Oh, how I wish my two boys could be this excited over the same sort of low-tech toys.

3

By The Fireplace

ClassicStock/Archive Photos/Getty Images

I'm not sure that a more festive photo from the 1970s exists. Those vintage stockings look like someone's grandma put her entire heart and soul into them, and I just can't get over how picturesque they look hanging by the fire. Even the family cat seems to be enjoying the classic festivities.

4

Awestruck

H. Armstrong Roberts/ClassicStock/Archive Photos/Getty Images

These two little girls look like they are just in absolute awe of how gorgeous that tree is. And honestly, same. Just look at all of that tinsel! I need to bring the whole concept of tinsel-draped on tree limbs back just so that my kids can re-create this 1950s Christmas photo.

5

A Giant Tree

Kirn Vintage Stock/Corbis Historical/Getty Images

I'm not sure exactly what kind of Christmas tree this is, but just judging by how large it appears next to these two girls, I feel like it's much larger than the average living room tree today. I guess I just need to transport myself back to 1938 and ask where they found such a gorgeous tree.

6

Opening Gifts

Smith Collection/Gado/Archive Photos/Getty Images

Just when it feels like modern-day holidays are vastly different from those of yesteryear, a photo like this comes along and reminds me that even in 1955, kids in pajamas still covered entire living rooms with piles of wrapping paper, bows, bags, and boxes on Christmas morning. (And moms still had to clean it all up, so really, what's changed?)

7

New Toys

Robert Abbott Sengstacke/Archive Photos/Getty Images

The thrill of ripping open a package covered in shiny wrapping paper on Christmas morning is second only to playing with the brand new toys inside. The little boy in this vintage Christmas photo probably played with his new train set all day long, and I can just imagine what an absolute blast he had that day.

8

Sleigh Ride With Santa

University of Southern California/Corbis Historical/Getty Images

At the 1956 Santa Monica Christmas parade, these two boys got to pose for a photo with Santa in his sleigh. Christmas parades are such a jolly occasion and these boys look simply thrilled to be riding in Santa's sleigh in their Superman sweatshirts. Santa also looks positively joyous waving to the crowd.

9

Christmas Dinner

ClassicStock/Archive Photos/Getty Images

Christmas is probably the only time when it's acceptable for a toy firetruck to make an appearance during a formal dinner where your family is dressed in their holiday best. In fact, it looks like the excitement over this new toy just added so much more joy to this family's Christmas meal.

10

Baked To Perfection

ullstein bild Dtl./ullstein bild/Getty Images

The pride on the face of this young girl in 1931 as she shows off her pan of freshly baked Christmas cookies is just absolute perfection. She clearly put her heart and soul into these baked goods and it shows. I hope she got to eat more than a few.

11

Window Shopping

Mondadori Portfolio/Mondadori Portfolio/Getty Images

Although certainly not the oldest photo in this list by far, this vintage Christmas photo from 1981 is such a classic representation of just how much fun it is to window shop during the holidays. These kids look like they're just over the moon looking at such a festive display.

12

Taking Home The Tree

Harold M. Lambert/Archive Photos/Getty Images

Pretty much nothing compares to the smell of a fresh-cut Christmas tree, but I bet even back in 1960 this dad wished that he didn't have to drag his family's tree through the snow to achieve that level of holiday cheer. But I'm fairly sure his kids were absolutely thrilled to bundle up and pick it out.

13

The Magic Of Togetherness

Smith Collection/Gado/Archive Photos/Getty Images

When multiple generations come together to celebrate Christmas, it can create such a magical feeling of togetherness. This photo from 1965 shows several family members gathered around their tinsel-trimmed tree on Christmas morning to watch as the youngest generation in their family tears into her stack of holiday gifts.

14

Spreading Cheer

Harold M. Lambert/Archive Photos/Getty Images

How precious are these children knocking on their neighbor's door bearing wrapped Christmas gifts back in 1955? I cannot get over their precious hats, scarves, and coats. They just look like they're so ready to spread some holiday cheer, and I'm sure their neighbors were just delighted to see those smiling faces.

15

An Iconic Family Photo

The Montifraulo Collection/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Back in 1938, they may not have had the type of high-speed camera technology that allowed for a photograph to be taken where nobody is blinking or not holding their smile, but they sure did have plenty of Christmas spirit judging by the look of that beautifully decorated tree.

16

Holiday Party Fun

United Archives/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

At the top of my Christmas wish list this year is to attend a holiday party as fancy as this one back in 1955. That sparkling gown is absolutely gorgeous and I can only imagine how fun it was to twirl in it in front of a decorated Christmas tree.

17

Ornaments Galore

Gilman/Picture Post/Getty Images

Every year, my kids get ridiculously excited about trimming the tree with all of our family's ornaments. It's so much fun to sift through our collection of homemade trinkets and sparkling store-bought baubles. This little girl back in 1954 seems like she just adores looking at her family's ornaments as well.

18

Topping The Tree

Hulton Deutsch/Corbis Historical/Getty Images

What bigger honor is there than getting to place the topper on the Christmas tree? I have a feeling that the exact moment back in 1953 when this boy got hoisted up to decorate the top of their family's tree was one of the highlights of his entire Christmas season that year.

19

Home For The Holidays

Hulton Deutsch/Corbis Historical/Getty Images

There really is no place like home for the holidays. In 1961, this British sailor was welcomed home for Christmas by his wife and children, complete with a faux tree to celebrate the occasion. I'm sure many more photos like this were taken as families were reunited with their sailors just in time for Christmas.

20

Not So Silent Night

United Archives/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

I'm not sure that there is a more festive way to celebrate the holiday season than by gathering around a decorated tree in your living room and playing a father and son musical duet. I really want to know exactly what song they're playing in this particular vintage Christmas photo.

21

Sibling Love

Harold M. Lambert/Archive Photos/Getty Images

The outfit choices these children (or probably their mom) made during this 1970s holiday season are just absolute perfection. Things to bring back for next Christmas: 1. Bell bottom pants, 2. Velour jumpsuits, 3. Siblings who don't fight over who got the best gift.