1930’s Christmas Traditions

It’s the holiday season and as you bake cookies, shop for gifts and get ready for Santa, I want you to take a moment to stop and think about the 1930’s.

The 1930s?

Yes, the 1930s, the decade of the Great Depression, the start of World War II and the golden age of Hollywood. It was also the decade that gave us many of the Christmas traditions and images that we hold dear today. 

Santa Claus – Santa Claus wasn’t invented in the 1930s, but the image of him as a fat man in a red suit that we all know and love was. In 1930, Coca-Cola’s advertising firm hired artist Haddom Sundblom to create an image of Santa Clause to hock the soda in its holiday ads.  Drawing his inspiration from the classic poem ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas, Sundblom created the jolly elf with the belly like a bowl full of jelly and the red and white suit. The ad campaign was a success and his image of Santa Claus was forever cemented in our minds.

Christmas Cookies - Although the tradition of baking and giving Christmas cookies can be traced back centuries, the idea of leaving cookies out for Santa started in the 1930s. During the Great Depression, when it seemed like everyone didn’t have enough, leaving cookies was a good way for parents to encourage their children to share with others. It is a tradition that has stuck, even if some kids view the cookies as more of a bribe than a thank you for Santa.

Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer got his first shot at being Santa’s lead reindeer in 1939. The iconic reindeer with the light up nose was created by Robert L. May as part of a promotion for Montgomery Wards. Like the Coca-Cola Santa image, Rudolph went down in history.

Monopoly – Although the game isn’t exclusive to Christmas, I remember playing it with my cousins on many Christmas Eves and it is still a favorite gift to give and receive. Although different versions of the iconic game had been around since the turn of the 20th century, the final form we have all come to know and love was released by Parker Brother in 1935.

1935 is also the year my novel, Studio Relations is set. It is the story of Vivien Howard, a vivacious female director and Weston Holmes, a handsome studio executive who must overcome their professional differences to find love during Hollywood’s golden age. So, on Christmas Day, when Santa’s cookies are long gone, your marathon game of Monopoly is over and Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer is drifting out of the stereo for the last time, please consider curling up with a story set in the decade that brought us these wonderful Christmas traditions.  


TriGirl said...

Interesting that such iconic holiday images started as ad campaigns!

Christina Paul said...

Thanks for sharing these fun Christmas facts! So fascinating to trace traditions back to their roots!

Brittnei Washington said...

This is so interesting! I had no idea that Santa Claus's image was created during this time period! Or any of the other things that you mentioned, either. We learn something new everyday! Thank you so much for sharing with us at Countdown in Style! Don't forget to stop by Friday to see if you are featured. :)

Michelle Liew said...

Makes me think that Christmas is really getting more commercialized!

Gossip_Grl said...

Stopping by from the I Don't Like Monday's blog hop. Enjoyed reading your posting on these 1930's Christmas facts.

Mrs.AOK said...

Very interesting! I didn't know most of these 30's Christmas facts {blushes}… thanks for sharing via Mommy Monday!

marty (A Stroll Thru Life) said...

Great post and such fun to read how things started. Thanks tons for linking to Inspire Me. Hugs, Marty

alissa apel said...

It's always fun looking back, and seeing what they did long ago.


Amber Neal said...

Thanks for linking up with us for MMM link up party! I love learning where some of the holiday traditions came from! Very cool!

jviola79 said...

Loved this post I think especially as I blogged about Rudolph myself this morning :) Merry Christmas!

TaMara Sloan said...

I love learning about these fun Christmas facts. Thanks for sharing at Tales of a Pee Dee Mama.

Linda Roy said...

Great post! I love reading about the origins of holidays. This was really interesting.

Erin Bettis said...


I'll have to give your novel a read! I love finding other writers that blog (as differentiated from crafters and foodies, although, many of those blogs are a fun read, too.)

Thanks for sharing this insight about how the 1930s gave us many of the Christmas family traditions we see today.


Krystal Butherus said...

Thanks for linking up to Time For Mom. Hope to see you next Tuesday!

Deonna Wade said...

It's Deonna from the Child at Heart blog! Thank you so much for linking up at the Merriest Blog Hop! I can't wait to see all of your holiday ideas this month! I knew advertising was influential but who knew is started the image of Santa...ahh the power of Coca Cola :) Great facts, I loved this!

Julie Corbisiero said...

Hi Georgie, these are such interesting facts about Santa and Rudolph! Thanks for sharing this at Mel's Daisy Patch monday party! I love reading books and I will check out your books. I am now following you on google friend connect.
Julie at julieslifestyle.blogspot.com

April @ 100lb Countdown said...

It's great to know the history of where we came from. Who knows? Santa could've looked like someone else had it not been for Coke! Thanks for sharing and linking up with Countdown in Style!


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