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Christmas Past



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           Christmas in the 1940's during WWII

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I was born in Jan 1931 and can well remember Christmas in the 1940's. The War time Christmas Spirit was much dampened by our thoughts of so many of our young loved ones being overseas fighting for our freedom. The nearest I can describe our feelings then,  was like if we were celebrating a birthday while a loved one was seriously ill or near death in a hospital.
Money was scarce and because the rationing of many products, many things were not available.  One thing that comes to mind was rubber dolls that were so popular at that time. We did have composition ones,  but rubber dolls that wet their diapers was a dream of all little girls. All rubber products went toward the war effort. Sugar was also rationed, so that meant Christmas candy was not easy to come by. Steel also  went toward the war efforts,  and you can imagine the sleds, wagons, bicycles and such items that were scant because of their rubber tires and metal frames.  We did not have the synthetic materials that we have today.
Christmas did go on, but not with the gusto we had before the War. Our time and effort was geared toward  war efforts and our daily living basically took a back seat.   We did set up Christmas decorations and had our usual family dinners and gatherings,  We still celebrated our Savior's birthday, as well as offering fervent prayers for our servicemen. Many women worked in factories and were not home as much,  which also affected the Christmas spirit.
Many more home-made gifts were given then,  than in previous years, although the depressions years were much like this too. Only the more wealthy people used elaborate decorations and gave expensive gifts. My sister and I made chains from red and green colored construction paper and strung popped popcorn and cranberries for Christmas tree ropes. We made ornaments from what was called Tin foil back then.
That was another item that became scarce. We had no electricity at that time so there were no lights on the tree.  To us, our evergreen tree that our daddy cut from an Evergreen  tree top,  and homemade ornaments were beautiful. The fragrance of the freshly topped tree is another wonderful memory.  Some gifts were only an apple,  orange or perhaps a bag of nuts. We were happy to get a new pair of socks or a homemade rag doll. Mostly,  the enjoyment of just getting anything from under the tree or in a sock. We usually went to our Grandmothers or to an Aunt and Uncle's home for our Christmas dinner..We most always had the traditional turkey and dressing meal. My mother usually made the dressing, pumpkin pies and a Fruit salad,  as she did this best.
I remember when several members of our family were fighting the Japanese in the Pacific, my uncle, noticed that a very pretty Christmas ornament  had "made in Japan" printed on the bottom. He tossed it on the floor and smashed the silver glass ornament to pieces with his shoe. This frightened me.  I can remember some of the men who were in service said they used tumbleweeds or tree branches and made paper ornaments and any other ornament at hand.   Some were in foxholes with bullets whizzing over their heads and sounds of bombing in the distance. One can not enjoy such a time when they know others are so far away and longing to be home with their families.
I do not remember the War time Christmas's  to be so happy.

Lois Caywood Guffy
Byron Oklahoma.
THE GUFFY FAMILY WEB PAGE
cmark@socencom.net

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Canadians at War
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My three uncles went overseas to fight in WWII.  The youngest, Uncle Darcy, was only 16 and lied about his age to get accepted.  I remember reading a letter to my Mom from Uncle Darcy.  He was so proud because my youngest brother, born while they were away, was named for him.
When the war was over we went every day to the railway station to meet the troop trains with soldiers coming home, hoping that my Mom's brothers would be on one of them.  Uncle Aime came home; Uncle Leonard arrived later. Christmas came and went and Uncle Darcy didn't come home.
Gramma kept the Christmas tree up at her home until mid-March when Uncle Darcy finally arrived home...for Gramma it was Christmas all over again.

Roberta Kerr
robertak@cadvision.com