ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

What Was Christmas Like in 1910?

Updated on December 19, 2019
Allain Christmas profile image

I love Christmas and history, so I'm sharing what I learn about Christmas and its customs as they've changed over the decades and centuries.

Santa in 1910  The Pittsburgh Press  (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) 18 Dec 1910, Sun  • Page 57
Santa in 1910 The Pittsburgh Press (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) 18 Dec 1910, Sun • Page 57 | Source

Let's Visit 1910 at Christmas

If you traveled back in time to 1910 at Christmas time, what would it be like? Did people shop, exchange gifts, decorate their homes, and fix a big turkey dinner like we do today?

I've combed through old newspapers and researched social history to find out how we would celebrate the Christmas and New Year holiday over 100 years ago in America. Join me to see what people were wearing, what gifts they wanted, and how they lived in the early part of the 1900s.

See Families in 1910 - Their Clothes, Their Gifts, The Christmas Tree, and Putzes (a Landscape)

What We Learned from This Video about 1910 Children at Christmas

To modern eyes, some early Christmas trees from that era look pretty skimpy and sort of like a Charlie Brown holiday tree. The modern Christmas trees are grown on tree farms and pruned early on to be full.

In the early 1900s, the widely-spaced branches were preferred because the trees were lighted by real candles, not by strings of electrical light. Usually, the tree was put up the night before and then the family gathered around. An adult would carefully light the candles for a very brief time as there was great risk of fire.

The homes shown in this video were fairly wealthy homes. You can tell by the furnishings, the elaborate clothing of the children, and the number of gifts displayed. In addition, it was unlikely that a photographer would visit a poor family to photograph their Christmas.

Music 100 Years Ago - No TV, no DVD player,

only a music box or a player piano or live music played on real instruments. This is what a Christmas song of 100 years ago would sound like.

Listen to Jingle Bells on a Player Piano

What Is Your Interest in the 1910 Era?

Vote in the Poll

See results

Christmas Shopping Was Big Even 100 Years Ago

Here's an article from a Pittsburgh newspaper telling about a big shopping day:


Happy, Hurrying Thousands Swarm Through Pittsburgh Stores and Proprietors Reap a Golden Harvest


Were, you shopping yesterday? If you -were not, you certainly missed it; missed making one of a joyful myriad, mostly women, which swept back and forth, up and down, round and round, into every nook and corner, in Pittsburgh where Christmas presents were to be bought, leaving concrete gladness behind, in the cash drawers, and bearing away gifts that are destined to make glad many other hearts.

It was great! Given a perfect day, after the fog blew away, bright overhead, dry under foot; a record-breaking crowd for this stage of the holiday season; and a silver and gold lining in almost every pocket in all that mass of humanity. Why shouldn't the storekeepers be happy today, especially when they present their wares so effectively and artistically as is the rule In Pittsburgh? Such conditions existed yesterday, and the result was one of the biggest individual business days in the history of the city.

At a conservative estimate, considerably more than half a million dollars changed hands, and hundreds of wagon loads of Christmas goods were transported to homes In all parts of Pittsburgh in hands and arms. Such a jostling and scrambling and pushing and hurrying!

The Pittsburgh Press

(Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania)
18 Dec 1910, Sun • Page 1

A Short Video of Popular Toys in 1910

The Topeka Daily Capital  (Topeka, Kansas) 18 Dec 1910, Sun  • Page 8
The Topeka Daily Capital (Topeka, Kansas) 18 Dec 1910, Sun • Page 8 | Source

Children's Letters to Santa in This Era

Children wrote letters to Santa back in 1910. Here's a sample letter from page 8 of The Topeka Daily Capital, 18 Dec 1910.

"Dear Santa Claus: I have never written to you before, so I am going to write and tell you what I want for Christmas as it is almost here. I would like a ring, a coat and a book of Black Beauty and nuts and candy. My sisters want a doll, a doll buggy and bed and nuts, and candy. I am a little girl, 11 years old, and am in the sixth grade at school. My sisters' names are Elsie and Oracle. I have light hair and brown eyes. I won't ask for too many things as there are lots of other girls and boys who will watch for Santa to bring them some new toys. I hope you won't forget the poor children and orphans who have no dear parents to care for them. Well, that will be all for this time. From Beatrice Kramer"

Letters by little boys asked for: a sled, roller skates, a train, a rocking horse, mittens, a pop gun, a bank, a box of tools, a coaster wagon, and candy, oranges, and nuts.

The little girls asked for: hair ribbons, a set of dishes, a doll and doll buggy, high top shoes, a box of paints, a storybook, or a tricycle.

Most letters included requests for gifts for younger siblings. Quite a few said "don't forget the orphans and the poor people" or a similar sentiment. One letter said "don't forget other little children who have no father or mother."

Just imagine, in 1910, you could buy a beautiful doll like this for $3.98. Clipped from The Pittsburgh Press, 18 Dec 1910, Sun, Page 11
Just imagine, in 1910, you could buy a beautiful doll like this for $3.98. Clipped from The Pittsburgh Press, 18 Dec 1910, Sun, Page 11 | Source

One of the films made in 1910 was a very early version of Charles Dickens' famous story, A Christmas Carol. It is 13 minutes long.

A 1910 Version of A Christmas Carol

Making New Year Resolutions

This graphic from the children's page of the newspaper shows that people did make resolutions in 1910. It also shows the kinds of household chores that children were expected to do.

This graphic also shows that paperdolls were played with by children in that era. This is from the Comic Section of the:  The Pittsburgh Press  (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) 18 Dec 1910, Sun  • Page 71
This graphic also shows that paperdolls were played with by children in that era. This is from the Comic Section of the: The Pittsburgh Press (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) 18 Dec 1910, Sun • Page 71 | Source

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2018 Virginia Allain


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • profile image

      Akuego franzo 

      17 months ago

      Can you educate me on that


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)