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32 Vintage Photos of People Having a Merry Christmas

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From a few famous faces to adorable animals and kids under the tree to soldiers in wartime, here's how we've had a Merry Christmas through the years.


1889: Three children gathered around Christmas tree with toys.

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1896: Two little girls in bed, playing with Japanese dolls; a little boy with a drum stands at the bedside. Stockings hang from the mantel behind them.

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1897: Grandpa's visit.

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1900: Remount Depot De Aar-Christmas group in the Boer War.

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1902: Robert Falcon Scott's sledge party, which reached the furthest southern latitude on his national Antarctic expedition, celebrating Christmas. Lieutenant Ernest Shackleton, left, Captain Robert Falcon Scott, center, and Dr Edward Adrian Wilson, right.

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1902: Girl seated in bed with roomful of toys.

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1909: Elderly man seated, holding toy horse, facing right, with arm around young boy.

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1912: British sailors celebrating Christmas onboard the festively decorated HMS Mermaid.

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1914: A British Army medical post on Christmas Day at the front in 1914.

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1916: Christmas time in a ward at King George's Military Hospital. Walking patients decorate the wall by a patient whose bed had been donated by 'Charles Wingfield Esq.'

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1918: At a hospital children's Christmas party, Santa arrives in a bon-bon watched by a crowd of children.

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1921: Members of the Plymouth Ladies and 7 o'clock Regulars Swimming Club arrive on motorbikes for their swim on Christmas morning.

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1922: From left to right, Mr Wheeler, Mr Green, Mrs Savage, Mr Arundel, Colonel Harvey and Mr Savage line up with Father Christmas on the Cunard liner Berengaria (former Hamburg America Line vessel Imperator).

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1925: A happy boy in bed on Christmas morning with toys he has received.

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1925: A woman's head popping out of a parcel.

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1925: American author F Scott Fitzgerald (1896 - 1940) dances with his wife Zelda Fitzgerald (nee Sayre) (1900 - 1948) and daughter Frances (aka 'Scottie') in front of the Christmas tree in Paris.

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1925: A little girl hammers up a request to Father Christmas above her bed at the Brecknock Blind School for Children.

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1926: Father Christmas with six babies born on Christmas Day at the City of London Maternity home.

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1929: A sailor peers from the mouth of a gun holding two Christmas puddings in his hands, Christmas festivities on board HMS Rodney.

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1930: Children welcome Santa Claus as he leaves his plane.

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1935: Christmas cheer at the greyhound stables.

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1936: American child actor Shirley Temple sitting by her decorated Christmas tree with presents from 20th Century Fox, 1936. Stockings are hung from the mantel behind her.

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1937: Christmas proved to be happy but tiring for this youngster, worn out after the day's events.

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1939: The London ice hockey team the Earl's Court Rangers having their Christmas lunch served on the ice; the goalkeeper looks at the turkey.

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1940: A young lady is delighted to find her dog dressed in a Santa Claus hat at Christmas.

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1940: Wartime shelter festively decorated for the sleeping child's Christmas.

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1947: Babe Ruth is dressed as Santa Claus with 3 year old Jimmy McCall on his knee and Jane Greenfield at his side during a Christmas Party for 65 young Poliomyelitis victims given by the Sister Elizabeth Kenny Foundation in the Hotel Astor in New York City.

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1955: A young boy rides the tricycle that he has just received for Christmas while a puppy sits in his lap.

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1955: Minnie and Jane, two of London Zoo's chimpanzees, pulling a cracker at their Christmas party.

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1956: Radio and television announcer Frank Blair helps his son with a brand new model train set on Christmas morning.

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1962: Jacqueline Kennedy and her husband, President John F. Kennedy, attend a White House staff Christmas Party December 1962 in Washington.

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1964: Comic actor Charlie Chaplin (1889 - 1977), his wife Oona O'Neill (1925 - 1991) and their children read copies of his autobiography in various languages, in a pose for their 1964 Christmas card picture, December 1964. On sofa, left to right: Christopher, Oona, and Chaplin. Back, left to right: Annette, Jane, Eugene, Victoria and Josephine.

Most images and original captions via Getty. This post first appeared last Christmas.

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Animals
Want to Recycle Your Christmas Tree? Feed It to an Elephant
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Sean Gallup/Getty Images

When the holiday season finally comes to a close, people get creative with the surplus of dead Christmas trees. One San Francisco-based artist transformed brittle shrubs into hanging installation pieces. Others use pine needles for mulch, or repurpose trees into bird sanctuaries. For the average person, sticking it into a wood chipper or "treecycling" it as part of a community program are all eco-friendly ways to say goodbye to this year's Douglas fir. None of these solutions, however, are as cute as the waste-cutting strategy employed by some zoos around the world: giving them to elephants.

Each year, zookeepers at Tierpark Berlin—a facility that bills itself as “Europe’s largest adventure animal park”—feed the elephants unsold pine trees. The plants are reportedly pesticide-free, and they serve as a good (albeit prickly) supplement to the pachyderms' usual winter diets.

A bit closer to home, the residents of The Elephant Sanctuary in Hohenwald, Tennessee rely on local residents to take part in their annual Christmas Tree Drive. In addition to being nutrient-rich, the tree's needles are said to help aid in an elephant's digestion. But beyond all that, it's pretty adorable to watch.

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5 Eco-Friendly Ways to Dispose of Your Christmas Tree
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What’s the environmentally safest way to dispose of your Christmas tree? It’s hard to say. Grown, managed, transported, and recycled efficiently, a real Christmas tree’s environmental impact should be near neutral. Unfortunately, not all Christmas tree plantations are equal in their environmental impact.

The most eco-friendly way is to leave the tree in the ground, where it belongs, so you never have to dispose of it. But then you don't have a Christmas tree in your house to bring festive cheer. One thing you can do is be environmentally smart when it comes to the tree's disposal. After this festive season, why not try one of these eco-friendly methods.

1. CHIP IT.

If you’re lucky enough to have access to a big wood-chipper, you may be able to chip the entire tree. Wood-chip is great as a decorative landscaping material. But if you really want to do great things for the environment (and if you have access to a lot of Christmas trees), you could make a bioreactor to denitrify water. Nitrates are put on farms across the world to help increase crop output, but a considerable amount is washed away into lakes and rivers where it’s disastrous for fish and potentially toxic for people. A wood chip bioreactor encourages the growth of bacteria that break down the nitrates in the drainage water, reducing the amount that gets into the water supply. It's not a simple project, however. To make one, you have to dig a big trench, get the water to flow through said trench, and fill it with wood chips. More info can be found here [PDF].

2. CRAFT IT.


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If your tree hasn’t yet let go of its needles—and you haven’t yet let go of Christmas, get crafty with it. Cut off small branches and bind them around a circle of wire to make an attractive wreath. This looks even better if some of the cones are still attached. If you’re feeling really adventurous, you could set up an essential oil extractor to get a supercharged Christmas scent. If you are already distilling alcohol, you have everything you need (here's how to do it). With a little less effort and equipment, you can make a weaker liquid called hydrosol, which is a fragrant condensate water containing water-soluble parts of the needles.

3. STICK IT.

Many legumes, such as garden peas, are thigmotropic, meaning that they respond to objects they touch, growing in coils along or up them. Needle-free Christmas tree branches have lots of twigs, texture, and knobby protrusions for peas and beans to get a grip on. This allows them to grow upwards strongly toward light. Simply stick a small tree branch in the soil next to each new shoot for a free, effective legume-climbing frame. Another advantage of this technique is that it makes grazing animals less likely to munch those tender green shoots, as they tend to avoid getting Christmas tree twigs spiked up their noses.

4. TREECYCLE IT.


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Come January, it’s cold, the festivities are over, work looms, and you’ve got too much on your mind to be thinking about dead Christmas tree horticulture or crafts. Fortunately, a simple solution is at hand: Most counties and municipalities now provide Christmas tree recycling points where you can take your tree for chipping. Some “TreeCycle” points will even exchange your tree for a bag of wood-chip or chip mulch. OK, this probably means that you’ll have to jam that Christmas tree into your car once more, but as long as you don’t have to drive too many miles out of your way, Christmas tree recycling is a quick and easy environmentally-friendly option.

5. DONATE IT.

After you’ve had your Christmas cheer, why shouldn’t fish have some fun? Several communities have programs in place where they’ll take your old Christmas tree, drill a hole in the base, tie a brick to it, and throw it in a lake. When humans create artificial lakes, they tend to be relatively featureless on the bottom for easy dredging. That’s great for us, but it means baby fish have nowhere to escape predators. Christmas trees provide a nice, temporary place for the fish to hide out and explore.

If, on the other hand, you’d like to see your Christmas tree mauled by a pride of lions, that’s OK too! Some zoos around the world take Christmas tree donations (but please remove all the tinsel first) and allow the animals to play with them.

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