Christmas is a holiday of traditions, and every city has its own. A look through the Post-Gazette’s photo archive shows that some traditions are timeless, but others have evolved or completely disappeared over the years.
Today, many Pittsburghers mark the beginning of the holiday season by crowding Downtown for Light Up Night or skating at the PPG Place ice rink. A few decades ago, families might take in one of many local Christmas parades.
And in the weeks leading up to Christmas, Pittsburghers would flock to Kaufmann’s, Gimbel’s and other Downtown department stores to shop for gifts and peer into the windows, two traditions that have given way to suburban shopping malls and online shopping.
But Pittsburgh doesn’t forget its past. A Christmas tree was first erected on the corner of Horne’s department store in 1953. Horne’s left Downtown in 1995, and the structure is now known as the Highmark Unity Tree, but the tree’s lighting remains a major feature of Light Up Night and a classic Pittsburgh holiday tradition.