The Christmas Tree didn't become a popular tradition in the U.S. until the mid 1850's. At that time, many of the trees were lit with actual candles. After quite a few fires, people shifted to tinsel, ornaments, and eventually artificial lights. In the late 1800's and early 1900's, there wasn't wide-spread agreement on exactly what a tree should look like, which made for lots of creativity. Here are a few of our favorite photos...
Christmas tree in the Orson Reynolds House around 1880. (Credit: Reynolds Genealogy). Hit the Next Page link below to see the rest...
Here we see some tinsel coming in to the picture in the late 1890's. And also a star on the top. We could sit in this room all day - you can almost feel the warmth from the fire!
Here is one of the only known photos of a tree glimmering with those actual candles! This photo is from a party in the year 1900. Let's hope someone was watching that tree very closely!
There was a good deal of Victorian influence in the understanding of Christmas at the end of the century. Images like this then influenced the artwork behind Christmas cards. In this photo, it appears as though the candles weren't lit, but the photographer added some flickering light afterwards.
We LOVE this photo from a house in Dayton, Ohio in 1910. Here we see more developed ornaments and even some popcorn tinsel! And look at those dolls and the little buggy. Big Christmas!
Another early 1900s photo of a big tree with lots of presents. Isn't it neat to see the presents all wrapped like ordinary packages? The colorful paper wouldn't become the norm for many years after.
This cute photo from 1933 shows a popular child actor screaming in delight at his Christmas haul.
And what would Christmas be if it didn't have a little glamour? This 1910 photo shows an early view of the flapper fashion, but she's definitely lighting those candles with a match. Lord help us!
Many families opted for smaller trees that they put on a table as part of a Christmas display.
This is a look inside the Brown family home in 1904. What a beautiful scene.
The early 1900s tree here shows some handmade ornaments and a few gifts ready for the kids.
Here is a more traditional small tree from New South Wales.