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Thanksgiving Pictures from the 1960s

I love to find that rare jewel of a photo from decades past. The kind of picture that subtly captures the cultural mores and norms of American families of the day.

The following Thanksgiving images from the 1960s highlight a few of these customs, some of which have stood the test of time and some of them that haven’t.

Smoking In Front of Children, 1960s

Smoking in front of children

Smoking in Front of the Kiddies: 1963, Lopezepol

Back when nobody thought twice about blowing smoke in a toddler’s face.

Cooking in a Dress

Lois and Eunice, 1971

There are dozen things I love about this photo from the TV’s rabbit ears to the milk glass vase on the shelf. I love the plants in the window and the snow outside. There is so much sweet Americana in this picture I could eat with a Thanksgiving Day spoon.

More Cooking in Dresses

Thanksgiving Cooks, 1967

This is another terrific picture. I love the yellow chairs, now considered retro, and the Dove Dishing Washing Liquid on the window sill. Granny’s circling the ocean spray cranberry sauce with a knife. And, check out the giant butter on the table. All in all another terrific depiction of Thanksgiving Americana.

The Little Kids Table for Thankgiving


Thanksgiving 1962 This poor girl in the navy blue looks downright miserable. She’s too old for the adult table and too little to be considered a kid. She’s been banished to the little table.No Peeking During Prayer

Thanksgiving 1968 from Bookish in Northpark

It looks like she’s peeking while everyone else is praying. There are only four places at the table, so who is taking the picture. Also, another giant stick of butter on the table.Spoon-fed Fido

Thanksgiving 1964

I love the contrast among the flannel shirt, Ma’s polka dot apron and the guy in the tie. The guy in flannel is reading something while ma feeds Fido with a spoon. My mom had about half a dozen of those brass plates, by the way.Thanksgiving and Football

Boston Latin vs Boston English, Harvard Stadium, Thanksgiving 1966

I love this picture of younger Baby Boomers and older Gen Xers. It was taken at a football game on Thanksgiving Day at Harvard Stadium. Pipe Smoking

Pipe Smokin Thanksgiving 1962

I can’t think of a time in the 20th Century when fashion made as dramatic a leap as it did from the early 60s to the late 60s. By the end of the decade, the buzz cut was a goner. The Greatest and Silent Generations must have been in absolute shock to see all those wild patterns and bright color appear from out of nowhere. The guy smoking the pipe embodies so much of the early 1960s from his hat to his suitcase.

Scarf with Rollers Thanksgiving 1962

My mom and aunt always wore scarves over their rollers and then one day they just didn’t. The woman is also wearing pedal pushers later brought wildly back into fashion by Rachel Green, Jennifer Aniston’s character on Friends.

Thanksgiving 1963 : Men In Wife Beaters, Children Drinking Wine

There’s tea in the glasses, but the children are toasting with wine. Mom’s in a dress, but Dad’s wearing a wife-beater. Check out the girl’s giant napkin tucked inside her jumper. I also love the contrast between the older sister’s and younger sisters’ hairdos.


Thanksgiving 1964 by Zen

This poor guy is wincing while grandma carves up the turkey.

I will be featuring more sourced photos from Thanksgivings Past so check back! What’s your favorite Thanksgiving tradition?

Gen X Blog Jennifer Chronicles

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  1. Sue

    All the pix feel like they were my family at some point! Stuck at the kids table when you feel like a grown up! All the gramma’s in aprons in the kitchen… and the pictures of the turkey. The feelings from the way back machine. I’m 74.

  2. Andi Fisher

    OMG, I love the first photo with the woman smoking holding a baby! I mean it is terrible, but such an awesome photo!

  3. Toni SL

    I love all of these.

  4. Jennifer

    Thanks, Toni. It was fun looking for them all on Flickr.


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