121714 – Christmas In The 50s

Please forgive me for “posting a post,” especially after I “posted” that I would not “post another post” until after Christmas! However! I have found myself enjoying this Christmas Eve evening by watching one of my favorite of all time movies (you probably have been drawn to the movie too) and I’ve got to talk to you about the movie, and the times. “Miracle On 34th Street” has always found a place of warmth in my soul. As I see the downtown store scenes of Christmas shoppers in the movie, my mind drifts back to the days of my childhood. My step-father was usually away from home working as a merchant seaman, so my mother would take my younger brother, sister, and me “downtown” on shopping excursions. My mother was very good at shopping and not letting us know that all of the wrapped boxes “were not really ours.” As with many downtown shopping areas in America “in the 50s,” we had streets in my home town that were lined with tall buildings, such as Sears, Penny’s, Woolworth’s, McCrory’s, Kress’s, and you know the rest of them. The streets were nicely decorated with “Christmas” markings (not Happy Holidays yet!). The store personnel would always say, “Merry Christmas,” without the fear of being fired! My family didn’t have a car, so we would always ride a city busy or take a cab. The drivers were very friendly and would also give “Christmas greetings” to us. I can remember the long kelly green coat that my mother wore; she always had a wide black belt around the coat; and, she would have on black high heels – she had given up on wearing a hat and white gloves (sort of what Aunt Bea would wear!). And, we didn’t have a television at home. So, now you know all about my family. Now! Back to the movie. I am very envious of the people of my age who were able to do their “downtown shopping” in the cities of Boston, Philadelphia, New York, St. Louis and the other large cities. The stores that are mentioned in “Miracle On 34th Street,” such as Macy’s, Gimbel’s, Stern’s, Bloomingdale’s, McCreery’s and Hearns must have been wonderful places to shop. In the movie, a Macy’s store employee referred a shopper over to Gimble’s for an item that cost $2.98; can you imagine that? the price or the courtesy! Well, back to the movie. I trust that all of you will have a very merry Christmas.

Miracle On 34th Street – 1947
Free Online Full Movie

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41 thoughts on “121714 – Christmas In The 50s

  1. Pingback: Christmas in the 1950s | From guestwriters

  2. I simply love the movie, “Miracle on 34th Street!” You described the department stores so well. I enjoyed the decorations and the Christmas music playing throughout the stores. I was a Lazarus fan, which is now considered part of Macy’s I believe. I also enjoyed Sears and Roebuck, Co. and Penny’s too. I wanted to write Penney’s which is it?
    I also liked the outside windows decorated. The movie, “Mannequin” which is about a mannequin that comes to life, was one of my old daydreams, as a young adult. I wondered about becoming a store decorator. I love art, paint watercolors and draw pictures, too.
    You may find this interesting, I have written two Christian children’s books, which are not published. The only place I got a nice letter from was Christian magazine company which thought it woould be nice to publish as an article. One is called, “Kissing a Bunny Is Like Saying a Prayer,” which talks about how we need to love God’s creations, by showing HIm this, we are telling him our prayers. Also, “ABC” teddy letters book called, “Alphabet for Beginning Christians.” Take care and God bless you!

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    • You “can not” imagine how your comment really “hit the spot” and “pushed the emotion buttons” with your comment. Now I know that God has put souls of kindred mind in my live. I also can figure out that you’re older than “25!” May I say “lol?” It is surprising that you are checking that far back in my “archives.” (Isn’t that such a nice word for “older?”) Seriously, I can see those things very clearly in my mind, especially the kelly green coat that my mother wore downtown. I think that many of our age have those “Miracle on 34th” times of Thanksgiving and Christmas memories neatly and protectively stored in the wonderful areas of our minds. I can vividly remember how J.C. Penny looked on Broughton Street; Sears & Roebuck was actually located about a mile away. Lerner’s was a dress store, kind of high-end, that made me really think that I was in New York… I trust that you will always cherish those memories, just as I do. I had no idea that you had written books. That really doesn’t surprise me; that comes out in your posts. Always know that if you ever need any communication, other than blog comm, that can be done. I have enjoyed your posts, and comments to mine. You seem like a good next door neighbor. Please have a blessed evening.

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  3. What a delightful and warming post 🙂
    Unlike you dear friend, I did not grow up in the 50’s or in the United States for that matter, but the picture you paint is so familiar to me. Through the glory of television and reading, I followed in my minds eyes, your beautifully decorated streets and pretty ladies greeting MERRY CHRISTMAS with genuine smiles and consumed in the spirit of the season.

    America in her generous bid to be tolerant and welcoming, has completely lost the essence of benevolence. She has allowed tolerance not only consume and blind her, but now, the many she welcomed with open arms are threatening to usurp her original self and traits. I know this country has seen many ugly sides such as slavery and denigration of fellow man, I do not speak of these times or traits, but rather of true fellowship of his ways and words, and the freedom to practice so, without being labeled one ridiculous thing or the other.

    What about these generosities be reverted and extended to the people of America who still have traditional values and beliefs, regardless of how politically incorrect some may view their take?
    I have a different sort of memory myself growing up in Christmas times back in Nigeria. It was a period of joy and celebration for us. A time when parents travelled back with families from cities to small hometown and villages, so the extended kin can all gather to celebrate our Lord and gift.

    Many kids got their very own new cloths or shoes for the first time that period because parents saw it as a good time to reach deep into very thin pockets to give as Christ gave to their kids.
    Total strangers would give kids money or sweets, and families would invite strangers off the streets to sup or dine with them. It depicted true brotherhood and such were glory days.

    Today, it’s completely different. There are rapes, murders, crime of all imaginable sorts, and small hometowns and villages now overrun with thuggery, kidnapping ,rage and you name it.
    The utopia Christmas no longer exits, and kids are no longer happy with sweets, new clothes and shoes or a simple supper. Everyone wants a mac, kindle, I Phone 6 or tablet,hehehe
    I’m so sorry for rambling on, but I get you on every level here.

    People of faith and followers of Christ are made to feel inferior for having an opinion and the very government that should protect everyone’s right to free worship, is now the same stifling some who want to celebrate our Lord.
    We don’t all have to believe in the same thing, but the founding fathers of these united states as many mistakes as they made, in my humble opinion got one thing right… That is stating firmly that IN GOD WE TRUST. America is not and will never be anything other than IN GOD WE TRUST. If only present people will allow us follow our oath.

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  4. Thank you for pointing me towards this post – I loved it! I grew up on a farm so our shopping was done in town or, on rare occasions, in the city an hour away. It was so exciting to go to the “in and out” shoppes (as we called them), all decorated with Christmas cheer. You painted a very elegant picture of your mother in her green coat with belt, heels and gloves. Ladies sure knew how to dress in those days 🙂

    Bests!
    MJ

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  5. Such wonderful memories. I grew up in Detroit, and I loved walking along the tall buildings with their Christmas displays in the storefronts. Afterwards, we would stop at the Vernors plant and have some free hot Vernors ginger ale.

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    • The advent of enclosed shopping malls really took away the romanticism of Christmas shopping. Walking downtown allowed us to see the gray skies that had a tint of Christmas lingering in them. Based on what I read in your post, you are a few years my junior. We had the experiences that will never be appreciated by the coming generations. I’m not sure if you saw my other Christmas post, “Christmas Of Simpler Times,” but it is worth reading. As for the romantic aspect of our lives, I think you you might also like my post, 101414, “Al Di La.” By the way, I love the picture of the 57 Chevy in your blog. I couldn’t make out the make or model of the car that was next to it. I will share more memories that might trigger your mind’s thoughts. Please have a blessed day.

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  6. I liked this post a great deal. I grew up in Baltimore on the tag end of the Christmas parades and dressing to go ‘downtown.’ Hecht Company, Stewart’s and Hochschild Kohn’s were the premiere stores on the historic ‘Howard Street.’ The department stores would be adorned with Christmas scenes in much the same way as Macy’s in New York. The late 1970s saw the decline of that. A shame.

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you!

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  7. Beautiful…. Much like the Christmas I spent in the early 60’s and 70’s. That too is one of my favorite Christmas movies. Charlie Brown Christmas is number 1. 🙂 I tried shopping in heels…not a good thing. Calf and ankle cramps are not fun at all. I don’t know how our mothers and grandmothers did it. LOL
    May the Lord bless you and thanks so much for stopping by.- Shelia

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    • Thank you for your thoughts. There was a certain air of intimacy in the 50s and New York. My family came close to moving there, due to my step-father’s work. We ended up moving to New Orleans in 59, which was similar to NY. There was many other things that I could have said about my mother, brother and sister. My mother was told during the early 50s that she would lose her sight. That happened in 63. She died on Jan 18, 2000 from ALS. She never had gray hair. She loved her children greatly. During her funeral, the pastor talked about the dash (-) that wsa between her date of bith and date of death, and all of the things that took place in her life. I can vividly see her with her green coat on a gray November day shopping with us down town. It;s hard holding back the tears. Again, thanks for your comments. May our Lord Jesus richly bless you.

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  8. Thanks so much! My husband said to me the other night, “Didn’t you already watch that?!” I love the movie and will watch it again! I was on a family trip in 1956 and went to Macy’s in NYC! I’ll always remember the sights and sounds of New York! Merry Christmas!

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