Dash through the decades with historic holiday photos of Columbus

Take a look at various photos of Columbus, Ohio during the holidays throughout different decades.

CBUStoday hyatt regency historic

The Hyatt Regency’s holiday display in 1992. | Photo by David E. Lucas via Columbus Metropolitan Library

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It’s the most wonderful time of yesteryear, CBUS.

We can’t start the holiday season without a little nostalgia binge. So, we searched the Columbus Metropolitan Library’s digital collection for the top holiday photos from past decades. Here are our favorites:

Hyatt Regency

Many downtown spots went all out in 1992 with festive lights, including this popular hotel. At this time, the interior of the hotel had just finished an extensive remodel, with major features such as a water fountain being removed.

F. & R. Lazarus Co. building

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The iconic F. & R. Lazarus holiday display, in all its former glory. | Photos by David E. Lucas via Columbus Metropolitan Library

This department store was highly popular, especially for its intricate holiday displays. Lazarus was a one-stop-shop for many families during the holidays, offering toys, clothes, and home goods. The store permanently closed in 2004. It has remained a favorite memory for many readers, and we totally understand why.

Christmas trees at the Statehouse

CBUStoday Christmas trees 1970-1990

Which Christmas tree is your favorite: 1977, 1980, or 1992? | Photos by David E. Lucas via Columbus Metropolitan Library

At the start of December, the city hosts a tree lighting ceremony that is still a tradition today. This is also where special events have occurred, including in 1977 when a 101-year-old resident lit the tree. Other trees hold sentimental details, such as the 1980s tree which was decorated by senior citizens at that time.

Happy Hanukkah from CCS

CBUStoday Hanukkah display

This photo of Columbus City School students was taken sometime between the 1950s-1960s.| Photo via Columbus Metropolitan Library

This photo was taken at Broadleigh Elementary with students putting the final touches on a Hanukkah-themed poster. The school still operates today on the east side of the city.

Columbus Holiday Parade

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Did you attend the Columbus Holiday Parade on Dec. 5, 1981? We’d love to hear your memories of it. | Photo by David E. Lucas via Columbus Metropolitan Library

Were you in the Hamilton Township High School Flag Corp.? If so, you may be in the above photo. It was taken in 1981 to celebrate the first ever Columbus Holiday Parade, sponsored by the Columbus Area Chamber of Commerce and The Secret Santa charity drive. This parade remained a holiday tradition for 12 years, signifying the start of the holiday shopping season for Columbusites.


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We’re going to need a lot of local gifts to fill that stocking. | Photo by David E. Lucas via Columbus Metropolitan Library

Before this became the PNC Tower, it was BancOhio. And it was hard to miss in the mid-1970s when it was under construction and sporting a huge red stocking during the holidays. Crews broke ground on the project in 1974 and it officially opened in 1976, so we estimate this photo to be from 1975.

Festival of Trees

CBUStoday festival of trees

A total of 82 trees were on sale for the Festival of Trees fundraiser. | Photo by David E. Lucas via Columbus Metropolitan Library

The holidays are also about giving, and that’s what this fundraiser was at the Ohio Expo Center. At the time, it was sponsored by Auxiliaries of Children’s Hospital, which later became Nationwide Children’s Hospital. This photo shows the 1980s event where 82 total trees were priced between $100 and $1,000. Visitors also had the chance to meet Santa and take photos near a nativity scene.