Christmas can be a bit of an extravaganza. We often see Christmas decorations and items pop up in stores right in September and some people start decorating just as early. When we think of Christmas now, we think of bright lights, big trees, popular Christmas songs, big meals and lots of gifts. Not that long ago though, Christmas looked quite different.
In the 1930 and 40’s many people had to do without, due to first the Great Depression and then the war, which brought rationing along with it. In the 30’s and 40’s Christmas here in Canada might have looked something like this: The start of the Christmas season, since 1913, in Canada has always been The Santa Claus Parade. In the 1930s CFRB radio began broadcasting a month of dramatic programming that followed Santa’s journey from the North Pole to Toronto, Ontario, for the Parade. Santa brought with him a magic and mystery that let everyone escape from everyday life for a short time. Even though the parade was meant to get everyone in the Christmas Spirit, decorations and trees would not start turning up until the week before Christmas and the tree itself would likely not have been decorated until Christmas Eve. Families would decorate together or, if they had small children, parents would do it and surprise their children come morning. Instead of masses of gifts, everyone would receive one main present and a stocking, which usually contained an apple, an orange (before the war), a soft toy, sweets and nuts depending on the situation of the family.
Mostly, Christmas was about family and being together. On Christmas evening , after dinner, you might play games or listen to the radio.
We have put together a playlist of some of the Christmas music you might have heard in the 1930s and 40s. Music that the Baileys in Wind At My Back would have listened to. You can find it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6GUnfLPpjLs&list=PLy4r6LoFn_axqluoBWvYj6tPVelnX6n3G
What are your favourite Christmas traditions?
From all of us at Sullivan Entertainment have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!