25 May 2012

Rudolph Day, May 2012

"Rudolph Day" is a way of keeping the Christmas spirit alive all year long. You can read a Christmas book, work on a Christmas craft project, listen to Christmas music or watch a Christmas movie.

Do you like to look at other homeowners' Christmas decorations to get inspiration for your own? Or just like to look at Christmas decorations period? Well, here's a feast for you:

2011 Christmas Tour of Homes

684 homes are linked in this blog post. Pick a home, any home...

Christmas 1945: The Story of the Greatest Celebration in American History, Matthew Litt
It was a unique Christmas in the history of the United States: for the first time in five years, they were not at war. Servicemen were returning home, toys and luxury goods were starting to trickle back into the market, and the lights were back on, all over the world—even if some of those lights revealed ravaged buildings and ravaged lives.

Bookended by chapters about President Truman and family celebrating their first peacetime holiday, Litt uses personal stories and newspaper records to capture the elation and thankfulness of the American public at Christmas 1945. The book first describes wartime Christmases of rationed food, curtailed travel, nonstop war work, and, worst of all, sons and daughters, fathers, uncles, boyfriends and girlfriends, under fire on both sides of the Earth. The subsequent chapters chronicle Christmas among the servicemen still left on duty or hospitalized, in the cities and in the towns, even, in a curious little chapter, in the nation's prisons. News articles combine with true-life stories of servicemen trying to get home, children surprised with gifts, and feasts at home and overseas.

This is a great summary of the post-war feelings of joy, relief, and celebration following the end of World War II. One might hope for a few more personal stories and fewer newspaper accounts, but the volume was never expected to be comprehensive, and it is a great overview of nationwide celebrations. Sadly, only a few pages address the feelings of American Jews following the events of the Holocaust, and African-American disappointments of returning home to a society that was still, for them, unequal in freedoms after their having fought for those same rights. Recommended for a serious look at postwar Christmas spirit.