Christmas 1945: The Biggest Celebration of Christmas Ever

Christmas 1945: The Biggest Celebration of Christmas Ever

As peace broke out in 1945 a literal race began to get the world at war back home for Christmas. Historians have called the Christmas of 1945 the biggest celebration of Christmas ever. In the below edition of the Merry Little Podcast we discuss how the years of 1941-1944 changed Christmas. It was an unprecedented period of Christmas withheld. Families separated for the first time in generations as many sent their sons and daughters off to fight a war in far-flung parts of the globe. They went not knowing when – if ever – they would return. (Many did not).Read more

Christmas at Valley Forge

Christmas at Valley Forge

Picture it: George Washington leads his army of 11,000 men – a third of which he estimated did not even have shoes – into Valley Forge just before Christmas 1777. There, just days before Christmas on the 19th of December, the Continental Army and George Washington himself would find a way to reverse the course of the war. That Christmas was just the beginning of both an incredible tale of survival and redemption. Valley Forge was so named thanks to an iron forge owned by a family named Potts. It had been in their family for years. Washington selected theRead more

Santa Claus at War

Santa Claus at War

Christmas is a traditional season of peace but even Santa straps on the uniform of a soldier when called to duty. Over time Santa has been “enlisted” in the cause of one side or another in periods of war. Not surprisingly, most of the images of Santa associated with war are American and date from the 19th century forward. The earliest known connection between Santa and war has to be through the artwork of 19th century illustrator Thomas Nast. Born in Germany in 1840, Nast had been brought to New York by his mother at the age of 6. HeRead more

The Christmas Candy Bomber

The Christmas Candy Bomber

The epilogue to World War II was the massive effort made to recover war-torn Europe. For months and even years following the war times were lean as millions scrambled to recover lives. U.S. President Harry Truman led a massive effort – dubbed The Marshall Plan – to bring relief to the starving, homeless and unemployed in Europe. Part of that effort was the Berlin Airlift of 1948, a round-the-clock operation of landing planes with relief supplies in Berlin. This is where the story of the Christmas Candy Bomber begins. Colonel Gail S. Halvorsen, of Provo, Utah, piloted a C-54 aircraft,Read more

Christmas 1944

Christmas 1944

The story of Christmas 1944 was started on D-Day — June 6th, 1944. With the invasion at Normandy everyone then knew for sure that Christmas of that year would certainly be different. That same argument could somewhat be made for Christmas 1943 or Christmas 1942. Those war years of Christmas were full of uncertainty and separation as well. But the invasion made everything that Christmas of 1944 quite different. It was dangerous. Loved ones were not only away from home they were in harm’s way. Months at a time would go by without a letter. Exact locations were unknown. NoRead more

The Year Santa was Nearly Banned

The Year Santa was Nearly Banned

It is interesting to note in this day and age when Christmas shopping can be done on a device you hold in your hand and whatever it is you buy can be shipped to your home without you ever getting dressed what it was like 97 years ago as the U.S. government grappled with the idea of another Christmas at war. The year was 1918 and war was raging in Europe. As wars went, it was a ugly as could be. It had been four years since the Christmas truce of 1914 but Christmas for 1918 was looking anything butRead more

Military Voices Carol of Christmas

Military Voices Carol of Christmas

Being the 100 year anniversary of The Christmas Truce we’ve heard and seen a lot in emotional ways of that great Christmas event. The video for the song was filmed at the Grave of the Unknown Warrior at Westminster Abbey and contains original footage from WW1. In addition to the soloists and choir, the video features the Royal Marines Corps of Drums and representatives from the Sea Cadets, the Army Cadet Force and the Air Training Corps. It is a beautiful and moving tribute: The song, simply titled ‘1914 – The Carol of Christmas’ celebrates the power of Christmas toRead more

The Christmas Legend of Abraham Lincoln

The Christmas Legend of Abraham Lincoln

By B. Francis Morlan Abraham Lincoln is consistently ranked as the greatest American president. But at the same time his place in history is frequently debated for a variety of contrasting reasons: Constitutional scholars claim that Lincoln’s actions during the Civil War were so drastic that he consolidated authority in the executive branch of government illegally, upsetting the balance of powers. Religionists say that Lincoln was no Christian because he joined no church. And Christmas historians frequently dismiss Abraham Lincoln as one of the least inclined of American presidents to celebrate Christmas. After all, Lincoln did not have a ChristmasRead more

Christmas During the Civil War

Christmas During the Civil War

By Mary Hansel Christmas is a joyous time. People spend the occasion with family and friends and their celebrations are full of rejoicing, love and jollity. It is hard for us to imagine what it would be like to have Christmas during war time, especially a war where countrymen fight each other. During the years of 1861-65, America was fighting just such a war, the Civil War. The country was torn apart by conflict and the lives of the participants and those on the home front were forever changed. One person whose life was forever changed was Henry Wadsworth Longfellow,Read more