Thursday, December 25, 2014


To celebrate the end of the war, I bring you this moment from the Mud Run!

War Time Christmas * Great Gift Finds

As I have previously noted, one of our categories for gifts at War Time Christmas is second-hand or thrift store finds. Kemper and I were very excited to find some great vintage items from the WWII era at an estate sale back in the Fall. Now that they've been opened, I can share pics!

A serviceman's Bible (Army Air Corps) from 1942.

Originally owned by Bobby Brooke of West, TX.  Printed message from the President.

WWII serviceman game set.
Some great activities in here. Amazing illustrations!

A hand-tinted studio publicity print of Jimmy Stewart in its original frame.

A 1942 cook book from Chicago's famous Palmer House, signed by the author!

Merry Christmas! War is Over!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

War Time Christmas * Presents!

The Christmas season includes presents, even in War Time.  So we had to create War Time Christmas rules for our little family holiday project.

We are each allowed give a family member a maximum of three gifts and they must adhere to the following gift categories:

I like our recycled paper so much that this part may be a permanent tradition!
Category 1:  a handmade item created by the gift-giver
Category 2:  a second-hand item acquired at a charity shop, thrift store, yard sale, or estate sale
Category 3:  something purchased on the black market*

*we have access to time travel and so it can be a black market item from the future!

It's been a lot of fun planning for these categories.  Kemper and I scored some particularly great items with authentic WWII history at an estate sale back in October!
In our family tradition we open gifts on Christmas Eve so tomorrow night all of the fun will be revealed. I'll share some of the goodies here after, so stay tuned.

This is for my nephew, who is not arriving here until the war is over. Consequently his gifts don't have to follow the rules.

War Time Christmas * What we have been watching

Here at War Time Christmas Cottage we really love movies. I've mentioned that we have watched Shirley Temple's STOWAWAY, Sonja Heine in IT'S A PLEASURE, the terrifying HOLIDAY INN,  and Rogers & Astaire in THE STORY OF VERNON AND IRENE CASTLE.  Great film history education!

Here is a list of some of the most popular movies screened thus far:

Several Abbott and Costello films, including BUCK PRIVATES (1941).  They have been my favorites since childhood and am delighted that my kids love them, too.  This is due in no small part to the influence of their Uncle Derek!

SHERLOCK HOLMES and THE VOICE OF TERROR (1942)  Did you know that Sherlock Holmes (Basil Rathbone) worked for the war effort? He did!

The delicious Judy Garland confection, MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS (1944), which is also a Christmas movie by virtue of giving the world "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas."

CHRISTMAS IN CONNECTICUT (1945) which opens with the sinking of a US destroyer by a German sub and ends with comedy and romance; it reminds me of the WWI plays I study in my research.

The sublime Powell and Pressburger film (staring Wendy Hiller!),  I KNOW WHERE I'M GOING (1945) which also happens to be of my top five all-time films. 

We all really enjoy typical Christmas movies such as MIRACLE ON 34th ST., IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE, A CHRISTMAS STORY,  CHRISTMAS VACATION, and ELF but none of those have been on our menu this season. We can binge on them after Dec. 25!

Monday, December 22, 2014

War Time Christmas * Gifts on a Sunday

How do you spend a Sunday in War Time Christmas? Here's a sample:

* Go to church and help the young saints make edible manger scenes.  This is a tradition at our church and is led by Mr. Frey, the junior high Sunday school teacher. He brings graham crackers, pretzels, animal crackers, chocolate gars, gum drops, marshmallows, cereal, and other goodies to craft original manager scenes out of food. Then they eat them!

* Watch Shirley Temple movies, such as STOWAWAY (1936).  Tagline: "She sings and speaks Chinese!" 

* Wrap Christmas gifts with our homemade paper (more in a future post regarding our gift "rules" for the war).

* Sing Christmas carols to shut-ins from the congregation. A small group from the church visited nursing facilities, assisted living apartments, rehabilitation centers, and some private homes to spread Christ's love.  We sang traditional carols accompanied on two guitars -- I think it's War Time Christmas appropriate!!
Nom, nom, nom! Christmas!

I don't speak Chinese, and neither does Shirley.

Homemade gift wrap embellished with ribbon from our craft cabinet!
A merry band of carolers!

Saturday, December 20, 2014

War Time Christmas * Saturday at the Cottage

Good times today at the War Time Christmas Cottage.

  • Our WWII Posters jigsaw puzzle is almost finished!
  • A visit to Holiday Inn reminded us of some greatest (Fred Astaire and Bing Crosby) and worst (blackface performance) aspects of entertainment on the 1930s and 1940s.
  • Our little War Time Christmas tree got more decorations. Check out pictures of our homemade candy ornaments!
  • I traveled out to "Switzerland" (that's code for anywhere not part of our War Time) to celebrate the graduation of one of my grad students. Amanda, I'm so proud of you!!
  • Kemper, the world-class papa bear here at War Time Christmas Cottage, made dinner: Scotch eggs, roasted root veggies, and a salad.
  • Gracie, my favorite girl, made a vintage rice pudding recipe!
  •  We recycled old newspapers into Christmas wrapping paper.

Our tree with all homemade ornaments.
Candy transformed!

She's a Master! Sic 'Em, Amanda!

My best friend is a great cook!

Recycling newspaper into wrapping paper!