Now that December is upon us, everyone--even those of us who have the staunch belief that it should wait until after Thanksgiving--will be decking the halls and streaming the lights. Decorating is a huge part of the Christmas season and the focus of so many lasting memories. So when I was writing Solve by Christmas, I knew some of the decorations needed to be included in the book. It just couldn't be a Christmas book without experiencing Christmas decor in Denver during 1913! But you know what? All of our electronic dancing reindeer and light-up gingerbread houses weren't real popular back then. ;) I found I needed to do some research on what decorations were popular (not to mention invented) back then. It ended up being interesting, so I thought I'd share a bit of that information with ya'll.
The Christmas Tree
|Copyright: liligraphie / 123RF Stock Photo|
Electric Christmas lights were just becoming popular, but mostly for indoor displays by companies or people who could afford them. Otherwise, you'd have to use candles to light up the tree. Hopefully only in a figurative sense. According to the Smithsonian magazine,
"A string of 16 vaguely flame-shaped bulbs sitting in brass sockets the size of shot glasses sold for a pricey $12 (about $350 in today’s money) in 1900. But in 1894 President Cleveland put electric lights on the White House tree, and by 1914, a 16-foot string cost just $1.75."
(Read more here)
(Read more here)
Sometime between 1900 and 1914, they figured out how to make electric Christmas lights affordable.
Holly, garland and wreaths were fashionable. The Ladies Home Journal in 1910 claimed, "There is scarcely a home in the whole country that does not have its holly wreath at Christmastime" But their wreaths were not only hung on doors, but also in windows so they might be seen from outside.
Laurel leaves were also common.
Store Toy Displays
Just as "Toys in every store" is iconic of Christmas time today, the extravagant toy displays in shop windows were so in the early 1900's.Many of the Christmas postcards depicted the shop window scenes with children peeking inside. There are some old vintage photos to prove it was a true-to-life sight.
There were other decorations, of course, such as stockings, ribbon or bows, and flower arrangements. With Solve by Christmas being set in Denver, Colorado, the best decoration of all was the snow left over from the blizzard of 1913. ;) But that's coming from a Colorado gal.
What are your favorite Christmas decorations? Share it, or a favorite Christmas decorating memory for your chance to win an ebook copy of Solve by Christmas!
Amber Schamel writes riveting stories that bring HIStory to life. She has a passion for travel, history, books and her Savior. This combination results in what her readers call "historical fiction at its finest". Her title, Dawn of Liberty, was awarded the 2017 CSPA Book of the Year award in Historical Fiction. She lives in Colorado and spends half her time volunteering in the Ozarks. Amber is a proud member of the American Christian Fiction Writers Association. Visit her online at www.AmberSchamel.com/ and download a FREE story by subscribing to her Newsletter!