Here is part of how Americans celebrated Christmas during the war years.
Christmas has always been a major holiday in the United States, but during World War II (1941-45) the holiday took on special meaning as most families had a loved one serving in the military who could not be home for Christmas. Peace on Earth was not just a nice phrase found on Christmas cards, but the number one prayer of Americans everywhere. The Christmas season gave hope that while this year many were away, maybe next year the war would be over and missing family members would return home.
Americans tried their best to celebrate Christmas. Families on the Home Front dealt with painful separations and lost loved ones which the holiday made agonizing. But those keeping the home front fires burning worked hard at making Christmas merry for the children.
Before the war, America was still recovering from the great depression when money and jobs were scarce. Shoppers were often limited to window shopping, not having any extra money to purchase anything. When the war began, war production went into high gear bringing good-paying jobs and additional income. But, there was little to buy as rationing and priorities in war production left few goods on the shelves. Metal toys nearly disappeared as did automobiles, radios, bicycles, typewriters, and other goods.
Wartime production priorities greatly restricted the presents that children could receive for Christmas. Who better to tell the kids than St. Nick? Santa Claus had to lower children’s expectations when they came to sit on his lap. Santa explained that a particular toy had too much steel in it - and that steel was needed for the war. If a child seemed disappointed, Santa told the child that some children living in the countries where the war was being fought would have no Christmas. With the shortage of men, Santa was often a woman.
The song, White Christmas, debuted in 1942. Sung by Bing Crosby it became an instant success as its peaceful feeling hit home with those on the home front and those on the battle front. I’ll Be Home for Christmas debuted in 1943. The words touched the hearts of separated loved ones. Both songs are still classics sung at Christmas.
For the soldiers, sailors and airmen overseas, military necessity and lack of accommodations forced them to have minimal celebrations. Many of the boys serving overseas got the blues. But presents from home cheered them.
Do you have a Christmas story from the World War II years that you’d like to share? Maybe a soldier or someone in your family shared his or her experience. Maybe you have a story of how a child at home felt during those years at Christmas from 1941 to 1945. I’d love to hear your stories. Please leave a comment.
ANNE GREENE delights in writing about wounded heroes and gutsy heroines. Her second novel, a Scottish historical, Masquerade Marriage, won three prestigious book awards. The sequel Marriage By Arrangement, finalled in a number of contests. A Texas Christmas Mystery also won several awards. Look for Anne’s new World War II historical romance, Angel With Steel Wings, early in 2015. The first book in Anne’s lady detective series, Holly Garden, PI, Red is for Rookie, débuts later in 2015. Anne’s highest hope is that her stories transport the reader to awesome new worlds and touch hearts to seek a deeper spiritual relationship with the Lord Jesus. Anne makes her home in McKinney, Texas. She loves to talk with her readers. Buy Anne’s books at http://www.Amazon.com. Talk with Anne on twitter at @TheAnneGreene. View Anne’s books, travel pictures and art work at http://www.AnneGreeneAuthor.com.
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