A glassy blue-eyed Bing Crosby croons “White Christmas” on a makeshift stage. The scene is heavy with emotion and the rest of the soldiers long for a snowy holiday away from war-torn Europe.
In the United States, retailers started to decorate and inspire shoppers for the holiday season early. By October, boughs of green and red bows adorned shops. Why? In 1943, the US Post Office declared October 31 the last mailing day for packages to arrive into the Pacific by Christmas. For a country that was just recouping from the Great Depression, Americans became active once again when it came to buying, this time to support their very own stationed away during the war. The boost in the economy and optimistic mood of Americans shifted the former religious-based family-oriented holiday into a commercialized holiday. The wartime years also began to set a standard in how we currently celebrate Christmas today, with ornament manufacturers such as Shiny-Brite and merchandise featuring depictions of Santa Claus.
The celebrations also needed music, and a number of the most iconic of Christmas songs were written and recorded, with the common themes of home, family, love and memories. “White Christmas,” “I’ll Be Home for Christmas,” “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” “Happy Holiday,” “Baby, It’s Cold Outside,” “Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!” and “The Christmas Song” painted the picture of gathering for the holiday. Gone were the religious tones or the mentioning of Jesus Christ.
The wartime period is less than a century behind, and the Baby Boomer generation fuels the nostalgia as parents and grandparents today of the younger generations today as the family traditions carried out since childhood will always continue.