World War Two Christmas Decorations

During World War Two, it was difficult for families to celebrate Christmas, especially with loved ones away fighting the war abroad. Also, during the war, children were evacuated from the cities and separated from their families. Children were evacuated to the countryside including to the Dales. In the museum collection, we have a photograph showing evacuee children in Redmire. They are standing on a trackway where the snow that has been dug out is taller than them.

Evacuees in Redmire

Evacuees in Redmire
from the museum’s collection

Food, petrol and clothing were rationed during and after World War Two to help cope with shortages in supplies from abroad. Many families would usually have made their own Christmas ornaments and decorations. However, paper was one of the things to be rationed and as a result there was a paper shortage. This led to any scraps of paper, old Christmas cards, and brown paper being used to make ornaments and decorations.

In the museum collection, we have a home-made Christmas decoration from the World War Two period. The decoration is made of a silver-foil covered cardboard circle, decorated with a white plastic reindeer, several small gold baubles and a silver leaf, and trimmed with a white satin bow, finished with a sprig of silver tinsel. Three silver-foil covered cardboard bells hang from the circle by separate strings of silver coloured plastic beads.

World War Two Christmas Decoration
from the museum’s collection

Looking closely where there has been slight damage, you can see that the bells were made from newspaper. Families would have hung up a decoration like this on the wall or possibly on a tree. With a bit of ingenuity and creativity, special hand-made ornaments like this can be made and handed down the generations to be enjoyed by everyone.