37 Throwback Christmas Pictures Of Hollywood’s Brightest Stars
By Maggie Donahue | Edited By Jaclyn Anglis
Published December 25, 2023
Updated December 26, 2023
From posing with mall Santas to belting out Christmas carols on a microphone, these celebrities knew early on how to get into the holiday spirit.
It’s the most wonderful time of year. A time in which children line up to take photos with Santa, pose for holiday greeting cards with their families, or grin for the camera as they open presents on Christmas morning. And as these celebrity Christmas photos show, even some of Hollywood’s biggest stars have participated in these heartwarming traditions.
And if you liked this post, be sure to check out these popular posts:
1 of 38
This holiday throwback photo that Candace Cameron Bure shared on her Instagram page shows Bure, Andrea Barber, Jeremy Miller, and Jaleel White, all stars of various '90s sitcoms.
"Young Hollywood 1990's," Bure captioned the post. "No stylist or high heels. Instead: baggie clothes,
pimples & healthy weight. What a concept 2 show our teens today!"Candace Cameron Bure/Instagram
2 of 38
Future pop star Ariana Grande — and the singer of "Santa Tell Me" — wears a gift bow in her hair as she opens Christmas presents.Instagram
3 of 38
A young Beyoncé and Solange Knowles hang up Christmas decorations while wearing matching holiday dresses.Reddit
4 of 38
It looks like Bruno Mars was called to perform long before the singer became known for hits like "Uptown Funk" and "Grenade."Instagram
5 of 38
Supermodel Cindy Crawford and her husband, businessman Rande Gerber, pose with their kids, Presley and Kaia Gerber, in this throwback Christmas photo.Cindy Crawford/Instagram
6 of 38
The Cyrus family — including Billy Ray and Tish Cyrus and their kids Miley, Noah, Trace, Brandy, and Braison — recreating a vintage Christmas photo from years ago.Miley Cyrus/X (Formerly Twitter)
7 of 38
Beloved actor and former wrestler Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson shared this throwback photo on Instagram with the caption: "My first Christmas at 7 months old. Hayward, CA. 5 months later I hit puberty. It was a good Christmas, my friends. #justapebble #babydwanta"Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson/Instagram
8 of 38
Model Gigi Hadid captioned this throwback Christmas photo of herself as a child posing with Santa: "no new friends."Gigi Hadid/Instagram
9 of 38
Gwen Stefani visiting Santa as a young girl.Gwen Stefani/Instagram
10 of 38
A tiny January Jones celebrating Christmas with her dad.January Jones/Instagram
11 of 38
Former Hollywood actress and Princess of Monaco Grace Kelly wrapping presents around the Christmas season.Facebook
12 of 38
Siblings Joshua and Jessica Alba visiting Santa.Jessica Alba/Instagram
13 of 38
A young John Stamos stands in the foreground of this chaotic photo, which Stamos posted alongside the caption: "All I asked for Christmas was a good head of hair."John Stamos/Instagram
14 of 38
The Jonas Brothers and their family members pose for a Christmas photo.Instagram
15 of 38
A young Justin Timberlake plays with new toys on Christmas morning.Justin Timberlake/Instagram
16 of 38
Former president John F. Kennedy and his family members celebrating Christmas at the White House in 1962.Facebook
17 of 38
A young Katy Perry posing in front of a Christmas tree.X (Formerly Twitter)
18 of 38
Actress and singer Lucy Hale and her sister look unimpressed by Santa in this photo, which Lucy posted alongside the caption: "just spreading a little Christmas cheer with Saint Nick ... circa 93."Lucy Hale/Instagram
19 of 38
"If you’re wondering why I had a holiday-themed headshot, I honestly don’t have an answer for you," Mandy Moore captioned this throwback Christmas photo.Mandy Moore/Instagram
20 of 38
Saved By The Bell star Mark-Paul Gosselaar posted this vintage photo of himself as a child wearing a Santa beard.
"Going through old albums and found a photo of me spending Christmas in Holland," he captioned the post. "Never realized how hard my parents worked to provide experiences like this for us. Thank you to all the hard working, loving parents."Mark-Paul Gosselaar/Facebook
21 of 38
Today he's known for his popular holiday music album, Christmas, but back in the day, singer Michael Bublé was just like any other kid on Christmas morning. Michael Bublé/Facebook
22 of 38
Television personality Nicole Richie looks ready for Christmas in this childhood photo.Nicole Richie/Instagram
23 of 38
Future president Barack Obama and future first lady Michelle Obama celebrating Christmas together.Michelle Obama/Instagram
24 of 38
"In honor of Christmas Eve may I present to you my very first Christmas song 'the bels' written by 5 year old me lol. happy holidays!!!!" pop star Olivia Rodrigo captioned this throwback Instagram post.Olivia Rodrigo/Instagram
25 of 38
Nicky, Kathy, and Paris Hilton posing in front of a Christmas tree.
"Happy Holidays! I have the most magical memories from Christmas as a kid," Paris captioned the photo on X (formerly Twitter). "How iconic were these matching dresses!"Paris Hilton/X (Formerly Twitter)
26 of 38
Saved By The Bell actor Dustin Diamond shows off a Christmas gift.Reddit
27 of 38
A young Rihanna meets Santa Claus.Rihanna/Facebook
28 of 38
"Caption this- I'm concerned my young self is thinking 'this guy is getting what I'm throwing down. I got this in the bag,'" Sarah Michelle Gellar captioned this Christmas photo.Sarah Michelle Gellar/Instagram
29 of 38
Britney, Bryan, and Jamie Lynn Spears pose for a sibling Christmas photo.Instagram
30 of 38
Taylor Swift and her mother, Andrea Swift, sitting in front of a Christmas tree.Taylor Swift/Instagram
31 of 38
A young Tupac Shakur opening presents on Christmas while his mother Afeni Shakur joyfully watches.2PAC 13
32 of 38
Superstar dancer siblings Derek and Julianne Hough meeting Santa.Julianne Hough/Instagram
33 of 38
A young Lily Collins with Santa.Lily Collins/X (Formerly Twitter)
34 of 38
"Circa 1992! Got my holiday fly on, rocking around the house with my new roller skates! Thank you, Mama for letting me," Alicia Keys captioned this throwback photo.Alicia Keys/Facebook
35 of 38
Busy Philipps with her friend Emily and pet dog Harrison, "just chillin under a Christmas tree in crazy gowns. No big deal."Busy Philipps/Instagram
36 of 38
"Karate outfit courtesy of Mrs. Claus. Eye of the tiger courtesy of 100% unjustified swagger. My grandfather's socks? No idea what was going on there...," James Van Der Beek captioned this vintage photo.James Van Der Beek/Facebook
37 of 38
Former first lady Nancy Reagan and Mr. T at the White House in 1983.Wikimedia Commons
37 Throwback Christmas Pictures Of Hollywood’s Brightest Stars
In this slideshow, you'll see a Christmas photo of the whole Cyrus family, a picture of Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson crawling in front of a Christmas tree back when he was "just a pebble," a snapshot of a young Sarah Michelle Gellar sitting on Santa's lap, and dozens of other images of your favorite celebrities getting into the holiday spirit years — or decades — ago.
What makes these vintage photos so delightful is the fact that many of them were taken long before their subjects became famous. At the time, they were kids just like any other, excited to tell Santa what they wanted for Christmas or to test out a shiny new toy they had just unwrapped.
It's only hindsight that makes a photo of, say, a young Bruno Mars singing into a microphone, seem significant. At the time the photo was taken, Mars was just a young boy performing his heart out during the holiday season. Today, at age 38, Mars is one of the world's biggest music artists.
But perhaps one of the most touching examples is a photo of a young Tupac Shakur opening Christmas presents as his mother looks on.
Why Tupac Shakur's Vintage Christmas Photo Is So Poignant
Tupac Shakur's life story is inextricably marred by his untimely death. On September 13, 1996, the legendary rapper died at the age of just 25 after being shot four times by an unidentified gunman. (In September 2023, the last living suspect in the shooting, Duane "Keffe D" Davis, was charged with the murder, but it remains to be seen whether he'll be convicted.)
The late hip-hop artist had built his successful career by speaking openly about the struggles that he and his Black friends faced growing up in inner cities. Indeed, DAZED reports that when Shakur was a boy, his mother Afeni had difficulty finding a steady job, likely in part because she had been a prominent Black Panther Party member as a young woman.
Shakur's family moved from city to city, often staying in shelters, and Afeni eventually became addicted to crack cocaine. At times, the Shakurs struggled to get by. Still, as evidenced in the photo below, they also experienced moments of complete and utter joy.
2PAC 13A young Tupac Shakur opening presents on Christmas while his mother Afeni Shakur joyfully watches.
This image paints a scene of a happy Christmas day. You can see a gleeful young Tupac opening a Christmas present, a look of utter shock and excitement on his face at the gift inside the box. Meanwhile, Afeni beams and poses for the camera, happy that her son had a nice holiday.
It's a rare and vibrant glimpse into the rapper's boyhood, a sweet moment that offers insight into who he was long before he became a famous celebrity. And it's a joyful memory only made tragic by the knowledge that this little boy would only live to be 25 years old.
And that's just one example of the stories these photos can tell.
Check out the photo gallery above for more vintage celebrity Christmas pictures that will give you a glimpse into the way that stars celebrated the holidays years ago, from Britney Spears to the Obamas.
Maggie Donahue is an assistant editor at All That's Interesting. She has a Master's degree in journalism from Columbia University and a Bachelor's degree in creative writing and film studies from Johns Hopkins University. Before landing at ATI, she covered arts and culture at The A.V. Club and Colorado Public Radio and also wrote for Longreads. She is interested in stories about scientific discoveries, pop culture, the weird corners of history, unexplained phenomena, nature, and the outdoors.
Jaclyn is the senior managing editor at All That's Interesting. She holds a Master's degree in journalism from the City University of New York and a Bachelor's degree in English writing and history (double major) from DePauw University. She is interested in American history, true crime, modern history, pop culture, and science.