A 1920s Christmas

December 15, 2013


A warm glow would fill the room ...

Talk about the 1920s and everyone immediately thinks of 'The Great Gatsby' movie. Sadly. Honesty forges me to say that I haven't seen the movie for one bit and I am, quite frankly, not intending to. I heard many a negative reviews from my fellah vintage friends especially about the music; they used modern music. Have you seen it? And if so, what did you think of it?

When I think about the 1920s, I think of new fashions in art and architecture; Art Deco and Modernism, Flappers, Jazz music and, Charles Lindbergh who made his first solo flight across the Atlantic. But what did a 1920s Christmas looks like?

The feather tree was originally made in Germany around 1845 and was all the rage in the 1920s, especially to European-born Americans. But not everyone could afford this tree and many people would cut down their own tree from the forest.  Colorful handmade paper chains would be draped in the tree and a warm glow would fill the room on Christmas day from a real log fire. Cotton spun ornaments enjoyed great popularity in the tree and nowadays belong to the rarest and most collectable ornaments. 

Cotton spun ornaments.
img source: © rubylane.com


Traditions ...
Just as in the 1930s, and unlike today, Christmas wasn't mentioned until a couple of days before Christmas eve and most of the decorations would not be put up until Christmas eve. The food, however, was already being prepared in October for the making of Christmas puddings and cakes. Church choirs would began doing their first rounds of their village singing traditional Christmas songs.

Gifts that were popular to give, were items that people could use. Instead of pictures or mementos, a new rug, a chair, dishes, silverware and labor-saving devices became favorite gifts.  “Give a woman something serviceable to wear or something she can use in her home and you gladden her heart. Give a man something for his auto, or something he can wear besides neckties, and you win his thanks.” 

Traditions popular in the 1920s were home made Christmas cards. These were usually unusual shaped and constructed with foil and ribbon. These cards were delivered by people by hand as the cards were too delicate to be send by mail. Most of the time a gift of Christmas cookies accompanied the card. 

According to the leading homemaking pundit of 1929, it didn't matter what you cooked for Christmas, as long as you did it the same way each year. That because they thought children loved repetition and it would give them sweet memories for the rest of their lives.


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3 Comments

  1. Ik heb The Great Gatsby gezien en ik weet nog steeds niet zo goed wat ik er van moet vinden. Mijn vriend en ik zaten tijdens de film regelmatig met opgetrokken wenkbrauwen te kijken. Enerzijds volgt de film het boek wel zeer nauw op en is het qua verhaal en acteerwerk een, in mijn ogen, vrij goede vertaling van het boek. Maar het zijn inderdaad die moderne elementen die de sfeer die de film zou moeten hebben van "the roaring 20s" erg verpesten. Er zit hip hop muziek in en je hebt danseressen die dan ook schaars gekleed met hun kont staan te schudden. En de cgi/special effects gaven de film ook een te modern gevoel.

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    1. I don't speak your language and remember very little of the German I took in High School but I understood about ~65% of what you said. I agree, the movie was strange. Not totally crap but not great either. I still liked the costuming despite it not being accurate. I HATED the music and was very disappointed. I don't understand why they felt like they had to make it as modern as they did. Then again it was made with dumb Americans, like me, in mind so obviously we can't be expected to enjoy something too "old fashioned". I really like the 1920s-1930s Art deco style. So for me I want the accuracy and the immersion.

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  2. Splendid holiday images! I love that we can see her belt buckle in the last one - I always study vintage photos and illustrations for special little details like that.

    ♥ Jessica

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