Nostalgic Photos of Christmas Past in San Francisco

In pre-internet and, yes, even pre-television days, in San Francisco the December holidays were done out to the nines in many of the most famous buildings and neighborhoods of the city. Skip back a few SF generations and you have gorgeous, stately and more-personalized decorating of the Christmas variety (back then it was almost all Christmas publicly) for celebrating the season of good will, cheer and really good retail shopping—when department stores were events.

The folks at have assembled 25 photos from these good-will old days in an online slide show that imparts little tastes of what it was like here during the holidays all the way back to pre 1906 earthquake up to the 1980’s.

Some of the highlights from the images include Macy’s in Union Square turning its tall sign into a humungous stocking. Market Street, prior to the 1906 quake, was illuminated into magical winter wonderland, and the Top of the Mark had a lighting scheme that attracted visitors from far and wide for the yuletide sight.

Click here to see the slide show.

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