To identify the popular holiday foods/dishes/snacks in American states during the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s.
The Holiday Hostess Tree
During the 1960s, particularly in 1961, Oscar Mayer advertised the Holiday Hostess Tree which then became popular in American homes for the Christmas holidays.
In the Holiday Hostess Tree, parsley was stapled to styrofoam cones, and then cocktail picks are used to decorate the tree with various kinds of meat. Over the years, the tree evolved "to include other snacks like shrimp."
According to Taste of Home, cheese fondue is a classic 1970s Christmas recipe. This might be because it's a "cozy and warming dish, and it's a fun, communal way for family and friends to eat together."
Ambrosia also became a staple of the Christmas dinner table in the 1970s. Ambrosia is a "fruit salad coated in sour cream and coconut." Even though it's full of citrus, "there is something about the marshmallows and coconut that makes ambrosia fit into the world of holiday sweets, and the dish is a nice bright foil to Christmas dinner's heavier dishes."
It is said that the 1970s is an era of cheese. In the early 1970s, "magazines and cookbooks were full of recipes for cheese balls for entertaining, especially around the holidays. Nothing says Christmas like a giant sphere of dairy."
The recipes for cocktail meatballs started circulating in 1978. Meatballs have become a popular holiday dish in the 1970s.
No-bake cookies' "early renditions called mostly for just lots of coconut and chocolate along with some butter or margarine and powdered sugar."
Salmon became popular "for holiday dining at the beginning of the 1980s."
Food Timeline said that "Better Homes and Gardens advised adding salmon-stuffed pasta shells to festive buffet spread in 1980, and various salmon dishes were staples listed in Good Housekeeping and Bon Appetit, as well, through 1983."
Holiday Party Loaf
Holiday party loaf started to become a trend in the 1970s and "went mainstream when Betty Crocker published a recipe in 1981."
In the early 1980s, holiday "hosts and hostesses would build multi-layer sandwiches and then frost the entire monstrosity with cream cheese." This became the holiday party loaf.
Jelly Fruit Slices
Jelly fruit slices became popular in the 1980s. They are a "popular Passover treat since they're kosher, but they were also a beloved stocking stuffer for Christmas, especially in the early '80s."