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White Christmas: 1954

White Christmas: 1954

          Another stocking-stuffer from the Shorpy Christmas closet:

Christmas 1954. My grandmother Sarah Hall (1904-2000, last seen here) and her daughter, my Aunt Barbara (1935-2017), at home in Miami Shores. 35mm Kodachrome by my grandfather Shepard. The tree is a northern blue spruce, spray-painted white with his workshop air compressor. View full size.

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Having lived in South Florida for 38 years, I'd love to know if that house is still standing. Is the address available?


Can't believe nobody has commented on the lampshade above Aunt Barb. Frankly, I love it!

You just can't beat Kodachrome

Wonderful colors throughout the photo. Sorry to see that you lost your Aunt Barbara this year Dave.

Oh yeah

Had to go back and look at the date on that pic, I'm about 9 months older than this one, but I remember that style of decorating well into the early '60s. My grandparents had the bubble lights on theirs, which I still love. Will have to find some of the modern replacements for our tree next year. Of course, styles were slower to change in the Midwest than either coast.

Christmas chair

I cannot begin to tell you how much I covet that chair your aunt Barbara is sitting in. It's lovely, and so is the setting with the tree and your grandmother! Obviously back when people still dressed up for everything social, and work. Merry Christmas from here in Okieland!

Presents odds

The most populat gifts for Christmas in 1954:
Matchbox Cars, Yahtzee, Lincoln Logs, and Scrabble. What are the odds that any of the boxes under the tree contained one of them?

Tree Shape

Those rounder/squatter trees typically seen in Shorpy photos kind of required a different sort of decorating. Instead of lights and ornaments hung on individual branches, it seems as if you would have to hang multiple on the more limited branches going in towards the trunk. It changes the dimension and aesthetic of the tree I would think.

Painted Tree

Five years after this posted (2007) and I'm giggling like a schoolgirl ~~ Probably because I had a flashback to the aluminum tree with color wheel my parents had in 1959 or so.


I love ALL of the colors in this pic. From the pattern of the chair, the tree, the presents, and yes, of course that dress! Especially with that pretty pink lipstick!


About 20 years ago, my wife and I had dinner with a man I worked with. His wife was from Germany. She followed German tradition and had a Christmas tree with lighted candles. They kept a pan of water nearby, just in case. But that was, shall we say, "exciting."

Deja Vu

Talk about a double take! The walls in my living room are green, and the white trim is exactly the same profile as shown. Several of the houses on my street (in Kansas) have that same white trim and I salvaged some extra when the house next door was torn down. Do you know whether the house in the picture was built in the late 30s?

Barbara's dress!

To die for. Must have...

It's been 2 years

And I still covet Aunt Barb's dress!

Flocked trees were sometimes kept for years

When my ex was in college, in the 70s, I cleaned houses for elderly ladies. One, who was quite eccentric, lived in a huge, Victorian mansion. In the large living room, with a very high ceiling, was an enormous,flocked Christmas tree, done with the spray-on imitation snow. It had been there for several years. It was summer while I was working for her and it was very strange to be vacuuming up pine needles and fake snow in 90+ degree weather. I always kept an eye on it, because I knew that if the slightest spark got near it, it would be engulfed in flames before I could even dial the fire department. It was still there when I stopped cleaning her house and I have always wondered how much longer it was there and if it ever caught fire.


1955. The year Mom went "modern", abandoned all our colorful hand-me-down ornaments and big-bulb lights, and got a flocked tree, decked out in a brand new set of coordinated red and gold ornaments, with tiny white twinkle lights. The horror, the horror!

Lighting the way

I'm surprised to see a lantern of some kind hanging over what appears to be the back door. Do you know if it was a decor thing or was it a working lamp? A bit unusual by the 1950's.

Color trend of the era

My grandmother also painted her living room this exact same color scheme in the early fifties: dark green walls, white trim, dark coordinating floral prints of barkcloth on the furniture. I bet if you look around you will see some ceramic mallard ducks flying on walls or on the tops of end tables.

I would say , though, that your grandmother is particularly color coordinated--right down the the tree, bulbs, and wrapped present placement. Barbara is definitely not cooperating in pink and blue. There is a small, slightly rebellious smile on her face and Grandma does not look at all pleased.

Dress Lust

Aunt Barb has the most wonderful dress!


I was in first grade in 1962. My family had a fresh-cut tree, not much different from today's except of the thumb-size colored lights.

The lobby of the school I went to for grades 1-5 had a smallish silver-colored fake tree with blue glass balls and a color wheel so that the light shining on the tree alternated between 4 different colors.

1954 Here I Come!

Hi All

I'm attempting to do a retro 1950's/ 60's American looking tree this year (in the UK), and I'll definitely be using this lovely old image as an inspiration. I'm going to heavily flock the edges of my real tree, I've bought lots of vintage ornaments from the US, lots of vintage Shiny Brite and quite a few of the Radko modern version. I've even splashed out on some new but vintage looking 1950's style coloured lights, unfortunately although we have a great selection of lights in the UK, I just couldn't find that retro looking US style other then in the US itself, so Ive ordered again from Radko ($400 - ugghh) and of course I've had to get step down power transformers - I MUST be mad ;-)

Merry Christmas One & All - Justin x

Looks like a "flocked" tree

Looks like a "flocked" tree which was just coming into vogue in the mid 50's. I used to love to drive around Milwaukee duirng the holidays and seeing the flocked trees in the picture windows of the houses. Some had spot lights on them making them pink, green, blue red, and white. What a great time.


Very groovy wall colors. When did aluminum trees come on the scene?

[Not sure, but this is a real spruce tree spray-painted white. - Dave]

Xmas Interior

I was only 5 years old then but I vividly remember our house having dark painted walls. Now that I look back I guess it was a vogue thing.

interesting to note dark blue walls

out of style for many years, dark interior colors are back in vogue.

what a great idea

I love it. I also love those days even though I wasn't alive. I can almost imagine sitting there watching this photo being taken. What a nice fam! Aunt Barb is kind of hot too.

Painted tree.

My uncle in N. Illinois used the same technique. The weather was very cold. He used latex paint.

It was a mess when he brought it inside and the paint thawed


That is one seriously lovely tree. My grandmother had an artificial one similar to this one well into the 1980s.

[This was a real spruce, sprayed with white paint using Granddad's air compressor out in the garage. The next year they got a full-size tree and did the same thing. - Dave]

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