A Century of Giving

What was popular in 1920 for the holiday season?


As I researched what life was like in the 1920s, I stumbled across a website Titled, “Heroes, Heroines, and History.” The author, Anne Green explained how the 1920s was a significant mark of a change in American society. Times changed immensely with the mark of the flapper fashion and jazz music, Prohibition made its presence, Frank Lloyd Wright introduced modern architecture to America, and the list goes on.


However, when I dove deeper into the American culture, I found some interesting similarities from 1920 to our current year, 2020. Gifts became more sensible and relatable to the recipient. The grandiose items waned and there was more of a need for gifts for the home or handmade items.


Iler Woods simplifies holiday season.

The article also explained the Christmas traditions that were valued in 1920. “Home-made Christmas cards became popular. They were often unusual shapes and constructed with foil and ribbon. These cards were too delicate to send through the post and people delivered them by hand. A gift of Christmas cookies accompanied the card. . . The Christmas stocking was especially important in households as well.” Cotton ornaments or handmade materials were used to adorn the Christmas tree.


The popular holiday songs were Jingle Bells, Let it Snow, Let it Snow, and Winter Wonderland.


Hmm, are you noticing some similarities from a century ago? I don’t think we are off too much with what we are all craving for this holiday season. Homemade gifts, handcrafted items that hold meaning for the recipient, decorating our space to bring hope to our home, and having a cup of hot cocoa while singing along to a favorite song. It is a season for embracing the small things this year. Let’s celebrate the handmade card from the neighbor, the gift of Meyer lemons, a crocheted scarf, or hand poured candles.


One of my favorite gifts over the years was homemade flour tortillas from my great aunt. She would come to our house on Christmas Day and have a dozen tortillas wrapped in a warm dish towel. She would bring me into another room and let me open this gift. I didn’t want to share with anyone and she knew how much I cherished these delicious warm tortillas with mantequilla. That gift might not have been on the Top 10 List for the US consumer report each year but it was definitely on my Top 10.


Challenge yourself to make something homemade, handcrafted, or baked . . . and if you run out of ideas, come to Iler Woods. We have a whole shop of handcrafted holiday items waiting for you.



Day 2: Shortbread Cookies from Canada. This is a family favorite from a dear friend who is French Canadian.

2 cubes unsalted butter

⅓ cup of light brown sugar

1 ½ cups of flour


In a mixer, Cream the butter and the sugar until it is fluffy. Add the flour until thoroughly mixed. Place on board and knead it 1-2 minutes.

Divide the dough between 2 nine inch glass pie pans. Press into the pie pan. Then, use a serrated knife and divide into eight pieces.

Bake for 20 minutes at 325 F. Let cool for 10 minutes.


Variations: Dip in melted chocolate and crushed pistachios, peppermint, or nut of choice.

Hannah gives it 4.5 stars! They are so delicate, she says to be very careful when handling them!


Family Challenge: Do an act of kindness for someone in your neighborhood!

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