Christmas During the Early 1940s War Years

In the early 1940s, the American home front for Christmases looked a little bit different from how we do things today. For those in Europe, Christmas was rarely a comfort during the war years, which began in 1939.

In the United States, starting with lights, wartime meant little or no lights of any type at night. Any German or Japanese aircraft could spot where towns and homes were by seeing the light.

For gifts, items were limited due to rationing, most items needed to go to the war front. What gifts were given included chocolates, an LP record, slippers, a dressing gown, a comb, brush, some hand embroidered items, pajamas, a set of J.R. Watkins spices, and a fruitcake. Note mostly clothing was the gift item and toys for kids was rare.

The purchasing of war bonds was a big item all during the war years but especially done and given as gifts.

Ornaments for the tree were handmade decorations such as paper spirals used as garland and paper cutouts of diamonds to replace glittering glass baubles.

Macy’s Department store in NYC did have Santa present to listen to the children’s wishes. Most of the stores stopped doing delivery of packages and gifts purchased by customers. It was to save gasoline used by delivery trucks. People adapted and carried their own packages homes.

The song “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” by Bing Crosby was very popular.

Families did purchase items their military family members might need and saw that those were sent to where they were stationed. Soldiers also tried to get unusual items from where they were stationed to send to their families back home.

Many youngsters and adults were in church choirs at Christmas time to sing Christmas songs.

Find out by talking to some relatives who grew up in the 1940s, especially the war years of what Christmas was like for them. Get the information written down or recorded.

Photo: War Bonds as gifts during WW 2.

Related Blogs:

Those Serving During WW 2

Rationing during WW 2

Writing about World Events

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