20 Rare Vintage Photos of Christmas From the 1860s

At the beginning of the 19th century, Christmas was hardly celebrated. But by the end of the century it had become the biggest annual celebration and took on the form as we know it today. Many historians attribute the change to Queen Victoria, and it was her marriage to the German-born Prince Albert that introduced some of the most prominent aspects of Christmas.

Soon enough almost every home in Britain had a Christmas tree decorated with candles, sweets, fruits, and gifts.

A Victorian Christmas party

A family’s Christmas, 1897

The Night Before Christmas, 1898


A woman returning home with a Christmas tree, 1895

Children around a Christmas tree in Russell County, between 1870s and 1890s

Children on their Christmas morning, 1856

Children on Victorian Christmas

Christmas morning, 1897

Christmas morning, 1898

Christmas, 1860

Little Victorian girl looking at the lighted Christmas tree

Man and his Christmas Tree, 1860

Santa Claus and Christmas Tree, 1897

Santa Claus telephone call, 1897

Two girls under a Christmas tree with their dolls, December 25, 1899

Victorian Christmas shopping

Victorian Christmas tree with flags and paper cones for candies or nuts on it, ca. late 1840s

Victorian Christmas, Scranton, Pennsylvania

Victorian family on their Christmas

Victorian woman sitting next a Christmas tree with candles

Woman with her daughter on Christmas, ca. 1890s