If you live a Forties-inspired lifestyle or simply covet Forties vintage, you probably add Forties touches to all areas of your life – so would you have a Forties-inspired Christmas too?

Christmas at the British home front during World War Two was hard. Food rationing severely restricted dinner options, presents were expensive and scarce to buy, many people had to celebrate underground in tube tunnels or in their shelters for fear of air raids, not to mention the many loved ones away at war. However there was a real community spirit as people rallied together, and surely that’s what Christmas is all about?

The tree – Very short Christmas trees were favoured as they would fit into your shelters. Re-use your old Christmas deco rather than buying anything new this year and make your own deco from pine cones and tissue paper.

The presents – The public were discouraged from giving presents and encouraged to give as much as they could to the war effort. Consumer goods were becoming scarcer as the war wore on but a theme of air-raid-shelter-friendly presents emerged – flasks and sleeping bags were in demand.

Home-made presents were popular too, as were second-hand ones. For working-class people ‘make do and mend’ was the norm.

So gift something practical that people really need, make your own presents or rally together for a cause you all believe in and gift the money you would have spent on presents to charity. Last year we had a home-made themed Secret Santa at work and it went down a treat. I baked cat-shaped biscuits for a kitten-loving colleague, I got some amazing home-made fudge and one colleague even got a super hero costume for his son, made out of old boxes and scrap fabrics. We all loved it and it was just that much more personal than gifting a crap £5 mug from Tesco.

The feast – Owing to rationing, Christmas dinner during the Forties had to be a clever feast. A family of four’s weekly meat ration probably wouldn’t even cover the cost of a small chicken so communities came together and shared their ration coupons as well as home-grown veg from their gardens or allotment. Without fruit or nuts, there wouldn’t have been any Christmas puddings though.

Go home-grown for your dinner or at least buy local produce. If you like, try out an original war-time recipe, fab blog The 1940s Experiment has plenty!

The entertainment – Just as back then, listen to the Christmas programme on your wireless or have a sing-a-long!

Check out this feature on how a modern family celebrated a Forties war-time Christmas! 

 

 

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