Friday, December 20, 2013

Christmas in the 1960's!

Thanks to GDB reader Ken Martinez, we have a bunch of wonderful photos from his family archives, all full of vintage Christmas goodness!

We'll start with this awesome photo of a very young Kenny (circa 1965) posing with Santa; Ken thinks this was taken at the San Francisco Macy's store. I admit it, Santa used to scare me!

The next two are from the new Martinez home in Dublin, California (about 8 miles East of San Francisco)… Ken says that this was the first Christmas in that house, and that the decor is a bit sparse. Still, the stockings are hung by the chimney with care, and a quintet of angels sit on the mantel.

Oh man, look at all that loot under the tree! My parents never used tinsel, and I've always liked the way it looked. Maybe it was just one less thing to deal with!

Now we're jumping forward a year to 1966. Pictured from left to right: Ken's dad, Kenny, his great uncle, and his grandfather. I love the golden hanging lamp, it's like a magical hovering space bird!

Sparky the dog keeps a vigilant lookout while Ken checks out a new can of tinker toys. 

That's Ken's mother (in red), along with his three sisters in front of the Christmas tree. My family used to let the kids open one present on Christmas Eve (because we just couldn't stand to wait!)… I see that one of Ken's sisters is holding a brand-new doll, maybe they had the same tradition? (There's that awesome lamp again!) 

It's time for the big Christmas meal, right out of Normal Rockwell! 14 people around a big table (I'm counting the photographer too), wow. Pictures like this are always bittersweet… we remember the fun and warmth of family gatherings, but miss those that have departed over the years. 

And lastly, a photo from 1968 or '69… as Ken says, "… the snow trip was with a friend and probably one of the most miserable days of my life. Later that day, my friend and I fell through a frozen pond and had to be stripped naked, wrapped up in blankets and brought home. I hated snow and freezing weather ever since". Yikes, it makes me cold just thinking about it!

A big THANKS once again to Ken Martinez for sharing his personal family photos with GDB!


Nanook said...

Again, Ken - what can I say-? It's so nice of you to share these terrific family images - that certainly appear to be from a very happy clan, indeed. Unlike most of the images posted on GDB, these represent a part of the "GDB Family". It's kinda swell.

Thanks again (and to your family, too) for allowing us to have a peek at Christmas time.

Nancy said...

Oh, brings back such memories of our family Christmases back then. All the family gathered at our house as well, at least 20 when everyone was there.

This tree is magnificent! I have never seen one so big. Looks like you had some great times back then. Thanks as well for sharing with us!

Melissa said...

Wow! Beautiful pictures, beautiful family, beautiful memories. Thank you so much for sharing them. I have absolutely nothing funny to say, my heart is so full of joy.

We never used tinsel on our tree, either - when we were little, Dad thought it looked tacky, and when we were older, we had a cat with Pica who would sit and eat it by the bushel like a horse with hay if given the opportunity.

K. Martinez said...

There's a lot of warm memories for me in these images. I was a little leery of Santa myself. As you can see, I didn't quite sit on his lap in the pic.

The tinsel really was beautiful in person, but it was messy and a hassle to clean up after taking down the tree. Even a few months later a stray piece of tinsel would appear out of no where on the carpet.

We stopped using the tinsel when the family Christmas tree went artificial in the early 70s. No more C6 bulbs and tinsel. It was the mini multi-colored twinkle lights from then on.

Usually tradition went that we had Christmas Eve at my grandparents house and opened the presents they gave us and then on Christmas morning we opened the regular presents at home and had Christmas Day dinner with the whole family again.

All of the adults in these images including my parents have passed on, but the fond and warm memories remain.

Thank you all for the kind words. I'm glad I was able to share these images with you and I hope that they bring back some your own great holiday memories.

Major - Thank you allowing me to share my personal Christmas collection and memories with such a great group.

JG said...

@K Martinez: What Everybody Said.

Thank you for sharing. Makes my childhood seem closer too.


Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, I had a lot of fun looking at these… they definitely remind me of Christmas time from my own childhood. While in many ways, those years seemed "ordinary", they now seem so magical.

Nancy, we've never had 20 people… but it sounds like it would be quite a party!

Melissa, I feel the same way you do when I look at Ken's photos; in fact, they help me to realize just how lucky I was to have the family that I had. I'm sure Ken feels the same way about his own family!

K. Martinez, oh man, you guys went to the artificial trees early on! My dad was a staunch defender of real trees, mostly because he liked the smell I think. For the first time in about 12 years, we will be having Christmas at my mom and dad's house, and I helped them get a tree last weekend. It was fun! Thank you again for sharing your pictures.

JG, now all I need to do is look at an old Sears "wish book", and I'll fly back in time!

Snow White Archive said...

Great vintage shots. I have similar childhood holiday memories from about the same time period.

Martin Pal said...

About the "gold lamp" -- I'm not sure that is a lamp. Around this same time period we had a Christmas decoration like that. It was in a tube and you took it out (all the tinsel parts were flat) and you turned it upside down and it looked like that when you hung it from the ceiling. I got an air gun type toy for Christmas and blew half the tinsel off it! Oops.