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December 18, 2019 Slideshows » News

20 Historic Photos of San Antonio Celebrating Christmas 

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It's no secret that San Antonio loves the holiday season. It seems such has been the case for awhile, given these historic photos of old San Antonio. Here's a look at the Alamo City getting in the holiday spirit back in the day.

Photos courtesy of UTSA Libraries Digital Collections
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Anyone who was in San Antonio in the '60s surely remembers Fantasyland at Joske's.
This was truly a winter wonderland.
In this 1950 photograph, you can see the Christmas lights hung on the Gibbs building. Note the Christmas tree, from the city's Rotary Club, set up behind the Alamo Cenotaph.
While this photo is undated, you can see the city's official Christmas tree on display in Alamo Plaza.
Downtown San Antonio was plenty festive with subtle decorations along the city streets.
The tamaladas back in the '50s must have been poppin'. Here you can see meat counter workers at La Gloria Food Market.
At the SA Fire Station No. 12 in 1938, this presumed firefighter can be seen constructing a display to draw in visitors.
In this 1939 photo, you can see choir boys from Central Catholic High School. The boys, dressed in the traditional vestments, sung carols during the Christmas season to serenade folks downtown.
While the days of toys filling window displays may be long gone, you can peep this 1939 photo to relive that era. Here you can see two shoe shine boys (hello, child labor) getting excited about these toys.
Joske's didn't play around with its holiday decorations. Just take this giant Santa Claus display as proof.
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This looks so magical.
Little ones surely loved looking at all the themed displays.
SA has been about giving back for a long time. In this 1939 photo, you can see little kids helping Santa make toys at the recreation center at Woodlawn Park. How adorable, right?!
Here you can see Madge Brown holding up an oversized Christmas card in 1939. It was sent to the San Antonio Board of Education from students and faculty of Tech High School. Aww!
Even boozy spots got into the Christmas spirit. You can see some decorations up at this unnamed bar in December 1954.
This "Nacimiento" display at the Institute of Texan Cultures shows the Mexican nativity scene. It was visible to visitors in December 1972.
In the 500 block of Fredericksburg Road, there was a lot where you could get your own Christmas tree. Here you can see Richard Mendoza picking his tree. Hopefully he got a good deal.
In this photo from the late 1940s, you can see Rev. Joseph P. Sammon of St. Mary's Catholic Church blessing the candles, with the assistance of two altar bars, in a ceremony known as "Candlemas." The event marked the end of the Christmas religious season for the church.
Wouldn't it be so charming to see this decor around downtown today? Here's the outside of the Aztec.
In this 1948 photo, you can see Sandy White posing with holiday gifts. We're sure this was a treat for him.
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Anyone who was in San Antonio in the '60s surely remembers Fantasyland at Joske's.

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