25 Days of Christmas: Day 18 ~ A Century of American Christmases, Part II (1930-1950)

Christmas in the 1930s

The Thirties were a time of great hardship for many people, as the Great Depression took hold of the continent. By the end of the decade, as World War II began in Europe, social programs and work projects such as those tackled by the Civilian Conservation Corps has been launched. Even the toys reflected the times: Board games such as Monopoly, which was introduced in 1935 became popular partially because they were less expensive than many other forms of entertainment.


1930s Christmas Budget

The child’s red wagon in the list remains a staple of childhood play even today.

  • Satin mens pajamas – $10.95
  • Pullman men’s slippers – $4.00
  • Quart bottle of Monopole champagne – $5.00
  • Boy’s knickers – $1.49
  • Doll, layette, and basket – $4.94
  • Dollhouse – $5.00
  • Toy airplane – $0.65
  • Toy typewritter – $1.95

 Christmas in the 1940s

1940sWorld War II defined the first half of the 1940s, associated with images of Rosie the Riveter as women went to work to replace the men who left for the war. Television arrived later in the decade, as did the very first computer and the traditional American diner. Forties-era toys included the Slinky, Tonka trucks, and Silly Putty.

1940s Christmas Budget

  • Zippered rayon ladies’ robe – $6.98
  • Upright vacuum cleaner – $49.90
  • Electric iron – $2.49
  • Electric coffee maker – $6.98
  • Roller skates – $9.95
  • Magnetized soldier doll with American flag – $4.00
  • Tiddlywinks game – $0.39

Christmas in the 1950s

1950sTelevision became perhaps the greatest influence during the 1950s, bringing programs such as The Honeymooners and Father Knows Best into living rooms across the nation, first in black and white, than in color.  Rock and roll arrived on the music scene, as did a polio vaccine on the health front. Mr. Potato Head, Frisbees, and Barbie dolls made names for themselves in the toy department.

1950s Christmas Budget

  • Slide projector – $43.95
  • Men’s topcoat – $18.00
  • Quilted rayon and taffeta robe – $8.95
  • Pipe and lighter set – $1.94
  • Television set with life-size seventeen-inch screen – $229.95
  • Donald Duck xylophone – $2.65
  • Mickey Mouse train set – $1.59
  • Musical milk mug – $6.95

(Jeffrey, Yvonne; The Everything Family Christmas Book)



This entry was posted in 25DaysOfChristmas, Celebration, Children, Christmas, Entertainment, Family, History, Holidays, Life, Television and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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