Christmas has been being celebrated for centuries, and it has become well documented that the holiday has become increasingly commercialized and large scale.

However, Christmas in the 1930s was more understated and simpler. Many, many people were without jobs following the stock market crash in 1929. People had to be thrifty, and creative with their gifts. Although times for most are now more prosperous, we give Christmas in the 1930s a closer look at why there were  simpler but still fun Christmases.

Life is Unpredictable

Bailey Sutton ChristmasWith many people not sure where their next paycheque, let alone meal was coming from, people of course were careful with their money. Knowing this, people obviously weren’t going to blow what little money they had on expensive gifts.

Instead, family time was privileged. Whether that was decorating the tree with homemade decorations, or simply spending time together, that was the most key part of Christmas. Very little in life is predictable, but you always have family.

Value in Simple Gifts

Though some could not afford gifts at all, others could, but they weren’t as ostentatious as what many of us receive now. Many would receive a Clementine or others fruits, and nuts. Children would receive a small toy like dolls or.

The focus for gift giving in the 1930s was practicality. Since people couldn’t afford much, needs were privileged over wants. Gifts like typewriters, and small appliances would be often given and desired.

Influence of Radio and Movies

Christmas movies are a long established tradition, and the cinema was becoming an ever popular form of entertainment in the 1930s. In November 1935 Scrooge was released which was the first full-length version of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.

The King’s Royal Christmas message was delivered over the radio and began in 1932. Though the entertainment may seem simple, gathering around the radio or in front of the movie screen, really brought people together to enjoy the Christmas spirit.

Though it’s a nice touch, tons of decorations and gifts don’t necessarily make for a great Christmas, the simple things in life and family do.

Still Christmas shopping? Visit for great gift ideas!

Watch the Sullivan Movies Christmas Compilation.

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