Holiday traditions are a big part of what make these days cultural, spiritual and political markers. We decided to look into our older collections to see what we could find of the traditional Christmas past, year-end reviews and expectations for the New Year.  Here's some of what we found.

Yes, Virginia, There Is a Santa Claus

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

In 1897, an 8-year-old girl from the Upper West Side wrote to the New York Sun asking if Santa was real, and the response, heard here, became "the most reprinted newspaper editorial."
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City Hall Christmas Tree Lighting, 1939

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Two vintage Christmas tree lightings.
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Operation Santa Claus, 1948

Saturday, December 18, 2010

On Christmas Eve 1948, three lucky children flew to Montreal, where they met Santa Claus and escorted him back to New York to deliver presents to the City's children.
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Madison Square Christmas Tree Lighting, 1942

Sunday, December 12, 2010

In December 1942, just three years after the tree lighting spectacular at City Hall when one of Mayor La Guardia's children flipped a switch and instantly lit up 22 trees throughout the boroughs, strict wartime dimout regulations dictated how people in New York, New Jersey and Delaware celebrated the holiday season.

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Merry Christmas To All, From Mayor La Guardia

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The first peacetime holiday season since 1940. Mayor Fiorello H. La Guardia tells the Nativity story and urges New Yorkers to "resolve to live the spirit of Christmas."
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A "Pals of the P.A.L." Christmas, 1949

Thursday, December 23, 2010

A special Christmas edition.
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The Story of "Silent Night," c. 1945

Thursday, December 23, 2010

In this 1945 WNYC broadcast, Austrian born Marie Lemmermeyer tells the “one true story of 'Silent Night'.”

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The Holiday Party the Cold War Hijacked

Friday, December 23, 2011

On December 27, 1951, the Brownsville Boy's Club hosted  5,000 children to an inter-faith party at the 106th Regiment Armory in Brooklyn. 

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A New Year's Message from Mayor La Guardia

Saturday, December 31, 2011

"It is a year [1945] that will try men's souls - not only the men who are fighting, but those who are at home and do not have the privilege of fighting."
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On the Eve of New Year's Eve 1924

Friday, December 30, 2011

On December 30, 1924, The New York Times radio listings* for WNYC included a remote broadcast from the Newspaper Club of New York. It was a children's Christmas party for the sons and daughters of newspaper men. The entertainment line-up included Marilyn Miller, the Duncan Sisters, The Singer Midgets, George Haas and his singing canaries, Betty Bronson, Toto, Bob Miller, Gedney and Magee, Winifred Toomey, Rachel Mastrota, Richard B. Gilbert, Sam Wooding's Orchestra and Teddy, the baby elephant. Who were they? Let's find out.

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Christmas in New York

Wednesday, December 25, 1946

A sampling of Manhattan churches at Christmas

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December 24, 1944

Sunday, December 24, 1944

The Met Opera's Lauritz Melchior joins Mayor La Guardia and the Queens College Chamber Ensemble and Collegiate Chorale.

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King George's Christmas Speech

Saturday, December 29, 1951

The last Christmas address from an ailing monarch to his people.

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Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremonies at City Hall

Thursday, December 16, 1965

Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony dedicated to 'the boys in Vietnam."

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