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Christmas 1930s

Updated on June 1, 2019
Allain Christmas profile image

I love Christmas and love history, so I'm sharing what I learn about Christmas and the customs as they change over the decades and centuries

Christmas Calendar for December 1930

from the Ellsworth Reporter newspaper,  Ellsworth, Kansas 11 Dec 1930, Thu  •  Page 14
from the Ellsworth Reporter newspaper, Ellsworth, Kansas 11 Dec 1930, Thu • Page 14 | Source

What Was Christmas Like in the Great Depression of 1930 - 1939?

In the year 1930, the worst of the Great Depression was still to come. Christmas was still a merry time for those who still had jobs and homes and hope. Many were worrying about the bad economic news but tried not to let their children know that hard times were ahead.

As the decade progressed, more families lost their incomes or had to take reduced wages. Families sometimes took in boarders to help cover the mortgage. Bread lines started to appear in cities and people lost their homes to the bank.

Christmas became a struggle to "be of good cheer" with such hard times. The government under FDR's New Deal created work programs to get people back to earning.

At the Grocery Store -

you would see barrels of nuts out front, inside you would see hard candy, fruit cakes just 50 cents a pound, mince pies, cranberry sauce in cans, and plum pudding.

Popular Toys of the 1930s and Other Gifts

Clipped from the Ellsworth Reporter  Ellsworth, Kansas 11 Dec 1930, Thu  •  Page 15
Clipped from the Ellsworth Reporter Ellsworth, Kansas 11 Dec 1930, Thu • Page 15 | Source

Gift Ideas for Children and the Whole Family

  • For boys and girls there were bicycles, air rifles, velocipeds, pop guns, coaster wagons, doll buggies, scooter, aeroplanes, pedal cards, train sets, Kiddie Kars, drums, ice skates, toy automobiles, swings, sleds, doll houses, boxing gloves, toy tractors, footballs and basketballs, toy trucks.
  • The family might wish for pool tables, backgammon sets and board games.
  • Gifts for the home might be electrical appliances like waffle irons, toasters, percolators (coffee makers), heaters, irons, sandwich toasters, and lamps.
  • Under the category of practical gifts, the ads suggested casserole baking dishes, teapots, waffle batter jugs, Pyrex glass ovenware, aluminum and enamel roasters and Wagner cast aluminum ware. Other gifts for mom might include decorated cake covers, decorated breadboards, French drip coffee pots, scissors and shears, carving sets.
  • Additional ideas were bird cages with a stand, decorated heat-proof china, auto robes and shawls.
  • For dad, there were flashlights, safety razors, pocket knives, guns and rifles, tool sets, hunting and fishing gear, auto tools, carpenter tools, lanterns and Coleman lamps.


Newspapers printed children's letters to Santa. Sometimes a kindly person would read these and get some of the gifts for the children.  This is fromThe Belleville Telescope  Belleville, Kansas 18 Dec 1930, Thu  •  Page 1
Newspapers printed children's letters to Santa. Sometimes a kindly person would read these and get some of the gifts for the children. This is fromThe Belleville Telescope Belleville, Kansas 18 Dec 1930, Thu • Page 1 | Source

It was interesting that almost all the children mentioned

wanting candy and nuts after they told about the toys they wanted. Some asked for practical things like a dress or a coat. Many asked for something for a younger sibling too.

People Mailed Christmas Cards in the 1930s

Advertisement from the Ellsworth Reporter  Ellsworth, Kansas 11 Dec 1930, Thu  •  Page 14
Advertisement from the Ellsworth Reporter Ellsworth, Kansas 11 Dec 1930, Thu • Page 14 | Source

20 Different Cards for $1.

You could even get your name printed on them for that price. The price of a first-class stamp was 2 cents but later in the decade, it went up to 3 cents.

Christmas Activities

The newspaper featured news items about school programs for the holiday or church gatherings and parties. There was caroling, family dinners on Christmas Day, and other traditional holiday activities.

I'll be adding more on this page about the later part of the 1930s when families were more financially strained.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2019 Virginia Allain

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