December is upon us! December has been one of my favorite months for quite a long time because there are so many different things happening and so many people radiate the warmth and happiness of the holiday season. Some college students are anticipating December graduation, while all students (and teachers!) everywhere are excited to complete finals and semester testing in order to focus on family and festivities. December activities include holiday parties (work, religious, school, and civic, to name a few), baking, present wrapping, putting up a Christmas tree, decorating houses both inside and out, caroling, watching movies or reading while drinking hot chocolate, and a continuous stream of Christmas songs. Some people revel in all of it and others want nothing to do with celebrations which means that December can be both the most wonderful time of the year and the saddest time of the year.
‘Celebrations’ have change across time, too. Alice Robertson wrote about the first Christmas after the Civil War in Tullahasee, when her family, like millions of others, was still reeling from the after war’s aftermath.
Half a century later, in World War I, orderlies spent some time practicing instruments for Christmas. This was taken in 1915, long before anyone had a clue about how long the war would last.
Americans in the 1950s had a vastly different idea of Christmas time. This is 1956 advertisement from the National Bank of Tulsa.
The Christmas Club consisted of members who pledged to save a certain amount of money for 50 weeks, presumably to make Christmas shopping less stressful. While it smacks of the blatant consumerism associated with holidays today, the idea of a Christmas Club at least involved planning ahead by saving money instead of going into debt to celebrate.
Here’s a fun picture of McFarlin Library lit up with a profusion of lights in 1963. I love seeing how creatively people decorate everything from the smallest cottages to huge libraries and everything in between.
Here in the Special Collections Department, I have thoroughly enjoyed decorating our office for Christmas and Hanukkah.
Happy Holiday Season from the Special Collections Department!
If you would like to come see our collections or our decorations, we are on the 5th floor of the McFarlin Library, Monday through Friday from 8:00-4:30.