Christmas in the 1940s part 2.

Part two of  'Christmas in the 1940s'

 Christmas was a double feeling for those celebrating it in WWII. The years of war brought many changes to familiar festive rituals. For many families, the hardest thing was to celebrate Christmas without a loved one.
Men were fighting at the front or were held as prisoners of war. Some women were also carrying out war work and be away in the services. Children spent their Christmas being an evacuee far from home. By the end many families suffered the death of a family member; killed in action or died during enemy bombing raids. So for most part they had to make do with what they had.

The 1940s Christmas presents: people were discouraged from giving presents, but encouraged to give as much as they could for the war effort. Consumer good became scarcer as the war wore on but a theme of 'air-raid-shelter-friendly presents emerged. Flasks, sleeping bags and even gas masks for dolls were on demand. Home-made gifts became popular, too, aswell as second-hand presents. For the working class people 'make do and mend' was usually the norm. Knitted clothing with spare wool made by mum, repaired doll houses and dad's carved sailings ships were turned from old to new. Children's toys were made from recycled materials, and Christmas cards became smaller and printed on flimsy paper. In 1941, to conserve paper, there was degreed that no retailer should provide any paper for packing or wrapping goods other than food. The lack of wrapping paper resulted in Christmas presents of not being a surprise anymore.

A child sleeping in an air raid shelter, 1940, festooned with Christmas decorations. A not uncommon sight.

Wrens (women in the Royal navy) making children's toys for Christmas.

The best imaginable gift ever.

No Christmas bells allowed: Christmas bells were not allowed to be rung, as this signified an invasion, and windows were not allowed to be lit.

Christmas Make up tip for women: the following advice was given by a London fashion magazine.
"What is a Christmas party face in 1940s London? Wear a stay put foundation, preferably tinted, a rosy red rouge, and matching lipstick. Amber lights of theatres and restaurants reduce vermillion colored lips to a ghastly pallor. Try 'Holly red' to stay tune with the Christmas spirit - and it's a real dazzler this season. Put plenty of emphasis on the eyes, a spot of sparkly eyeshadow, that you've no doubt being hoarding this year for the right occasion, a hairline of mascara under the lower lashes, lashes which you conditioned with a lash cream." 

Popular dress style for Christmas.

Deanna Durbin.

Popular Christmas songs:
  • Bing Crosby - White Christmas
  • Gene Autry - Rudolph the red nosed reindeer
  • Lena Horne - Stormy Weather
  • Billie Holiday - God Bless the Child
  • Artie Shaw - Stardust
  • Bing Crosby - Swinging on a star
  • Nat King Cole - The Christmas Song
  • Margaret Whiting  - A tree in the meadow
  • Vaughn Monroe - Let it snow!
  • Glenn Miller - When you wish upon a star
  • Jo Stafford - Some enchanting evening
  • Les Brown & his Orchestra - When you trim your Christmas tree.
A short movie from 'The 1940s house' decorated for Christmas. *Le sigh: my dream house!*

More to come!


  1. Love this! Can't wait for the next part!

  2. Thank you for posting the thing about sparkly eyeshadow. I have no idea why so many people think all vintage make up was matte matte matte. :-)

    1. Just as many people think that the clothing were all dark and dreary! On the contrary!


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