Christmas in the 1940s

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Ray and I have been enjoying the Christmas music that we listen to each year. One album we especially enjoy is White Christmas: WWII Radio Christmas Show. It is Christmas shows broadcast on December 14 and December 21, 1944, on the Kraft Music Hall. Bing Crosby is the star of the show. The album is a delightful collection of Christmas songs, public service announcements, and commercials for Kraft cheese spreads.

We enjoy this window into American life during World War II.

A mother and children wait in the Greyhound bus terminal during the Christmas rush, December 1941. Courtesy Library of Congress.

Public service announcements remind citizens to be careful what they say so that enemy spies won’t gain information that can hurt people. Commercials tell listeners how many ration points they will need to buy cheese spreads. Crosby talks openly about praying for American soldiers.

One segment features songs by the Kraft Choral Club. I love the idea of a company having a choral club. I especially enjoy their song, “God Is Ever Beside Me.” When I hear their voices swell, I envision a great crowd of Kraft employees singing. Hearing that throng sing that God is ever beside them is thrilling.

This album has some silliness and some romantic “ditties,” but the songs of faith are beautiful and include “Adeste Fideles,” “Silent Night,” and “Beautiful Savior.” What wonderful songs to air live on NBC radio.

One reason I love to write about history is that I get to share how people lived at different times. We have much to learn from them. It is tempting to look back, feel nostalgic, and then shake our heads and lament the present. It is better to look back, learn, and then make decisions to follow their good examples and learn from their mistakes.

We have living, breathing examples around us, but we can also look back at people who have gone before us, learn from their examples, and glorify God for their good deeds. We can also live so that our light will shine before others now and in future generations.

In the same way,
let your light shine before others,
that they may see your good deeds
and glorify your Father in heaven.
Matthew 5:16




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One comment

  1. This post brought a lump to my throat and tears to my eyes. I am a bit of a nostalgic and love to see/listen to older music and movies, especially at Christmas. Thank you for reminding us that just longing for the simpler, more reverent past is not enough—bringing the best of it forward into today is more worthwhile. This gives me more hope. Blessings to you, Charlene!

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