Christmas is the most anticipated festive season for children in our culture, and it is easy to find out why: presents. Finding long-desired toys under the dressed-up Christmas tree is one of the best moments of the year, and this was the case dozens or even a hundred years ago, too. Here are some nostalgic photos of those long gone moments of joy.

(I took these images from the amazing collection of Fortepan, one of the best depots of private photographs in the world. These shots were taken mostly in wealthy, middle-class European families, mostly in Hungary.)

A miniature theater, a miniature kitchen (1909)

Photo: Fortepan

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A rocking horse, a humming top, a rubber ball, a wooden toy rifle (1929)

Photo: Fortepan


Two baby carriages, a really nice pedal car (1930)

Photo: Fortepan

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Dolls, board games, an abacus, new shoes (1931)

Photo: Fortepan


A model train set, dolls, a doll house, a polar bear, a toy cat, a wind-up motorbiker, a board game, a set of toy skittles (1930)

Photo: Fortepan


A tricycle, a toy trumpet, lead soldiers, toy kitchenware, a toy violin (1935)

Photo: Fortepan


A smaller model train set, a huge model train set, a doll (1939)

Photo: Fortepan


A tin toy truck, a wind-up tin toy car, a wind-up tin toy armored vehicle, a wooden 4-horse-drawn carriage, plush animals, and children’s books (1940)

Photo: Fortepan


Several tin toy vehicles: a fire engine, a tram, a crane, a truck, a tractor etc (1940)

Photo: Fortepan


A model train set, dolls, a piano, a drum, a truck, a kitchen stove, a wooden cavalry (1942)

Photo: Fortepan


A model train set, a tin toy hydroplane, a tin toy truck, a tank, a cannon, a humming top, a wooden car (1942)

Photo: Fortepan


A tricycle, a clapping cat, a musical drum, a clapping squirrel, a castle, a tin toy plane, a plastic bear, a horse-drawn cart, a baby carriage with a big doll (1942)

Photo: Fortepan


Wooden blocks and model train set (1950)

Photo: Fortepan


Wooden bus, wooden tram, wooden truck (1952)

Photo: Fortepan


Wooden fire engine and wind mill (1953)

Photo: Fortepan


Dolls, board games, and a remote controlled tin toy car (1958)

Photo: Fortepan


Books, dollhouse furniture, a model train set (1962)

Photo: Fortepan


A Hungarian made construction set called “Babylon” (1965)

Photo: Fortepan


A Hungarian made battery operated tin toy lunar car, a Piko model train set, a Hungarian made friction tin toy airplane, and a battery operated tin toy bulldozer (1965)

Photo: Fortepan


A plastic rocket launcher, a Hungarian made friction tin toy car (Packard), a Chinese made tin toy spaceship (“Rocket Express”), an oil tanker truck, and a construction set (1966)

Photo: Fortepan


Top photo: Fortepan, 1942