A 1940’s DIY Christmas

Hello, Friends!
The National D-Day Memorial’s 2015 Christmas Tree
for the Festival of Trees
Each year in Bedford, Virginia, our Welcome Center hosts an event called “Festival of Trees.” Businesses and organizations decorate trees throughout the Welcome Center and the public is able to vote for their favorite tree for $1 a vote. Voting began November 18th and goes on through December 31st, 2015. All of the proceeds of the winning trees will be donated to their selected charities, with the Memorial’s being our educational initiatives. 
This year’s theme is “DIY (Do It Yourself) Christmas.” While DIY is the “it” thing in home decorating today thanks to Pinterest, the Memorial hit the jackpot of sorts since Christmas both on the homefront and warfront during World War II for most involved improvising and creating their own decorations in order to support the war effort. Nothing was put to waste with most items being reused and recycled. So as I selected items to decorate the tree, I took into account things that would be readily available on the homefront during the war and could be repurposed for Christmas ornaments and decorations. Below are a few of the decorations we created for this event:
Materials Needed: Popcorn, cranberries, thread, needle and acrylic sealant spray
1.       Thread cranberries and popcorn onto a string to use as garland
2.       Stretch the cranberry and popcorn garland out on your work surface.
3.       Shake the can of acrylic sealant spray vigorously for several seconds. Hold the can of acrylic sealant spray about 10-inches above the garland.
4.       Start at one end of the garland and coat it with a thin layer of the acrylic sealant. Continue in this manner while moving down the strand. Let the sealant dry for at least 12 hours.
5.       Turn the garland over carefully and coat the backside of the garland with the acrylic sealant in the same manner as before. Let dry for at least 12 hours before using the cranberry and popcorn garland.
6.       Store the garland in an airtight plastic container after use. Add a few silica gel packets to the container before storing it away to help prevent moisture from building up in the storage container. Place the container in a cool and dry location.
During the early 20thcentury, popcorn was a holiday favorite not just for food but for decorations.
Of course, during World War II, acrylic sealant spray would not be available. But for the sake of preserving our decorations for almost two month, we needed to use it to keep it looking fresh and to keep the bugs and animals away.
Cookie Cutter Ornament featuring Bedford Boy,
Frank Draper
Materials Needed: Cookie cutters, photographs, scrap paper, and glue

1. Choose patterned papers or color-photocopy pictures onto card stock. Trace cutter on top; cut out. Dab white craft glue along cutter’s edge. Press paper in place; let dry.

2. Thread narrow ribbon through needle; poke between paper and cutter, and wrap ribbon around top of cutter and tie a knot.
We chose to use photocopied photos of the Bedford Boys for the tree to give a personal touch to the tree.
We would love for you to come out and take a look at the Memorial’s tree, as well as all of the other gorgeously decorated trees. Just make sure to vote for our tree though! 
The Welcome Center is located at 816 Burks Hill Road, Bedford, VA 24523 with special hours as following:  Open until 9:00pm on Friday, December 4, 2015, Friday, December 11, 2015, Saturday, December 12, 2015, Sunday, December 13, 2015 and Friday, December 18, 2015. The Welcome Center will be closed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day along with closing at 12:00pm on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve.

Until next time,
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