My favorite book on this topic is Merry Christmas!: Celebrating America’s Greatest Holiday by Professor Karel Ann Marling, Her book digs into all the origins of so many holiday traditions, like wrapping gifts in festive paper, using window displays to sell gifts (which gets us into the whole parade thing) and more.
Other books consulted were:
The Christmas Tree Book by Philip V. Snyder
Graceland: Going Home with Elvis, also by Karal Ann Marling.
The History of the Christmas Figural Light Bulb by Robert Iwamasa and Patrick Fay. This is a book by collectors, for collectors.
Liberace: The True Story by Bob Thomas.
Portrait of Camelot: A Thousand Days in the Kennedy White House by Richard Reeves
Season’s Gleamings: The Art of the Aluminum Christmas Tree by J. and J. Shimon
Also, two books by Susan Waggoner: It’s a Wonderful Christmas: The Best of the Holidays 1940-1965 and Christmas Memories: Gifts, Activities, Fads, and Fancies, 1920s-1960s.
Articles in magazines and newspapers include:
“Christmas Spectacles…” Los Angeles Times. Nov. 30, 1953, pg. B10 (at the Santa Claus Lane Parade)
“For That Yule Tree…” Los Angeles Times. Nov. 25, 1960, pg.A1
“Shimmering Nostalgia…” The Eichler Network (reprinted online)
Flocked Trees: “Variety Available in Yuletide Trees…” New York Times, Dec. 20, 1950, pg. 42
Painted Trees: “Farmers Market Today” Los Angeles Times. Dec 16, 1948, pg 4.
Vinyl Trees: Los Angeles Times. Nov 26, 1965, pg A1.
White House Trees:
“Tree Decor at White House…” New York Times, Dec 4, 1970, pg. 16.
“White House Tree Ornament…” Los Angeles Times. Dec 15, 1972, pg. A28
Christmas Tree Lights at HowStuffWorks.com
“Curious Evolution of Holiday Lights” at Wired. com, Dec. 2010
Christmas Tree Ornaments at Woolworth Museum UK
White House Tree Themes at WhteHouse.gov