Images of Christmas: Then and Now

A picture is worth a thousand words and there are few things more mesmerising than that tradition of perusing old photograph albums.

Car Float and Rollerskates, c. 1970
Christmas Parade: Car Float and Rollerskates, c. 1970 File Reference CCL Img ARCH812-49

As Hal Boyle (1971) put it:

Memory is more than a dustbin of time, stuffed with yesterday’s trash. Rather, memory is a glorious grab at the past from which one can at leisure pluck bittersweet experiences of times gone by and relive them.

Christchurch City Libraries has a wealth of digitised photography, and who doesn’t like a good trip down memory lane?

New Zealanders have been celebrating Christmas in style and with flair for many moons, so in the spirit of the season, here are some highlights from our Christmas Images collection:

Father Christmas delights Cantabrians whether arriving in his old fashioned automobile or in his blow up dinghy:

Father Christmas visits Heathcote Valley School
Father Christmas visits Heathcote Valley School. Gimblett-0011.
Santa arrives on New Brighton beach, 12/12/015.
Santa arrives on New Brighton beach, 12/12/015. 2015-12-12-IMG_1509.

 

The fashion phenomenon of the onesie goes way back:

Red Riding Hood Wolf: Hay's Ltd Christmas Pageant, c. 1950
Red Riding Hood Wolf: Hay’s Ltd Christmas Pageant, c. 1950. CCL-Arch978-1-019.

 

They dressed up for the occasion:

Christmas Trees at Hay's Christmas Parade, c. 1970.
Christmas Trees at Hay’s Christmas Parade, c. 1970. CCL Img ARCH812-68.
New Brighton Santa Parade. 12/12/2015.
New Brighton Santa Parade. 12/12/2015. File reference: 2015-12-12-IMG_1553.

The tradition of the Christmas Parade in Christchurch began in the 1930’s with T.J Armstrong & Co. Then around 1947, the Christchurch Santa Parade was launched by retailer James Hay. Hay’s Christmas Parade was immensely popular with children and families:

Father Christmas on T.J Armstrong & Co's Christmas Float
Father Christmas on T.J Armstrong & Co’s Christmas Float, c. 1930. CCL PhotoCD 16, IMG0054.
Santa Float at Hay's Christmas Parade, 1970's. CCL Img ARCH812-27.
Santa Float at Hay’s Christmas Parade, 1970’s. CCL Img ARCH812-27.

Today, the custom continues:

Where to go to find more Christmas Images?

  • Christchurch City Libraries’ Christmas Images page.
  • Kete Christchurch have collections of the New Brighton Christmas Parade and more.
  • DigitalNZ have compiled an assortment of images from Santa Parades around the country.
A Christmas parade passes along Colombo Street, Christchurch c. 1930. CCL PhotoCD 17, IMG0001.
A Christmas parade passes along Colombo Street, Christchurch
c. 1930. CCL PhotoCD 17, IMG0001.

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