From classic carols to special family recipes, Christmas is a holiday celebrated around the world, and it brings communities, friends, and families together. Throughout the decades, many traditions have been born, gifts have been given, and meals have been shared centered around the theme of Christmas. While in modern times, we may gather around for Christmas dinner, wait for Santa Claus to deliver presents under the tree, and sing a yuletide carol, holiday traditions have varied over the decades.



During the 1930s, America was suffering through the Great Depression. For this reason, the season of gift giving was focused on practicality over luxury, and small handmade gifts. Also in the 1930s, more households began using electric lights, rather than lit candles on their Christmas trees. In 1933, the Radio City Christmas Spectacular debuted in New York City. In 1935, Monopoly became the hottest selling game in America during the Christmas season.


In the 1940s, America was in the midst of World War II. Families sent cards and care packages to their husbands, brothers, and friends who celebrated the holiday away from home. During World War II, Christmas trees were in short supply due to a lack of manpower and shortage of railroad space to ship the trees to market. In 1941, a five-foot Christmas tree could be purchased for just 75 cents.


In the 1950s, tinsel and aluminum trees decorated living rooms across the country, Frank Sinatra records played, and the first White House Christmas card was sent during the presidency of Dwight David Eisenhower in 1953. Post World War II, Americans were joyful and optimistic about the future; they had an increased income and standard of living with affordable housing and consumer spending.


Modern aluminum Christmas trees continued into the 1960s, and children had a selection of toys to choose from by reading catalogs sent by stores like Sears, Roebuck & Co., and JCPenney. Elvis Presley sang “Blue Christmas.” The 60s were dominated by the Vietnam War, Civil Rights Protests, and a rise in electrical home goods; Christmas shows and movies became more accessible because of the growth of smaller TVs in households across the country. A Charlie Brown Christmas, released in 1965, quickly became a Christmas favorite.


The 1970s saw a spike in inflation, an oil crisis, and digital technology. Jell-O, molded into festive shapes, became a popular holiday dish. Star Wars rose in popularity and became one of the hottest toys for Christmas in the 1970s. In 1974, The Year Without a Santa Claus gathered children and families around the television.


As small computers became cheaper, Microsoft, IBM, Intel, and Apple started the technology boom we’re still experiencing today. Cabbage Patch Kids were popular gifts for children, as was the Rubik’s Cube. One of the most famous holiday movies, A Christmas Story, hit theaters in late 1983, and who could forget Flick getting his tongue stuck to a frozen flagpole.



In the 1990s, technology continued to grow and made Christmas traditions across the country easily accessible to one another. In 1994, Mariah Carey released one of the most popular holiday songs of all time, “All I Want for Christmas Is You,” families watched young Kevin fend for himself when he was left behind in Home Alone, and Tim Allen transformed into the one true St. Nick in The Santa Clause.

2000s to Today:

The new Millennium produced a boom in Christmas evergreen items, such as wreaths, cut boughs, garlands, and more. Classic Christmas movies are replayed every year, recipes are made, and traditions are passed down.  Technological advancements include iPads in 2012 and the Xbox in 2013; pop stars remake old Christmas songs and create new ones – Mariah Carey anyone? Christmas changes over the decades, and the value of holiday heritage is handed down to the next generation through new toys, songs, and events.


This past decade, Bridge to Better Living has helped Seniors and their loved ones transition to Retirement Living Communities while creating new memories and traditions for the holidays. Placement with Passion is our purpose. Please contact Bridge to Better Living today for your consultation.