Nugget of Knowledge: Christmas long ago

Merry Christmas was almost Cheery Christmas

Nugget of Knowledge

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – Oysters were plentiful and cheap back then. The typical Christmas menu would always include some kind of oyster dish, as well as plum pudding, chestnuts, boiled ham and olives with anchovies.

The very rich would eat a braised ox heart, roasted quail, pigs’ hearts cooked in wine and a whole roasted pig’s head.

Yes, they had Christmas turkey, too, but turkey was expensive.

A turkey cost a whole week’s wages right up until about 1930.

If you couldn’t afford a turkey, you could eat chicken or a couple of pigeons.

Most Christmas trees held real candles. The tree candles would often sit in a little glass or metal lantern to cover the flame, but it was still very dangerous.

In 1906, the first colored electric tree lights went on sale.

Were they safer than candles?

Not really. When you switched them on, they grew incredibly hot.

Chances are, several of your Christmas cards from friends would include the message: “It’s time to allow women to vote. Suffragette Christmas greetings.”

What did merry mean? It meant drunkenness, noise and loose behavior, so there was a real debate over saying Merry Christmas. Some wanted to say Cheery Christmas.

Movies were becoming popular. Among the most-wanted gifts in America: a pillow with your favorite silent movie star’s face on it — choose Mary Pickford or Rudolph Valentino or a dozen others.

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