Wake Forest Historical Museum

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A Forgotten Wake Forest Christmas Tradition

President lights Christmas tree. President Hoover pressed the button which lighted Washington's community Christmas tree just before he began his brief "Merry Christmas" radio address to Americans from coast to coast. Mrs. Hoover accompanied the President to the impressive Christmas program, which included music by the U.S. Marine band. 12/24/30, photo from the Library of Congress.

President lights Christmas tree. President Hoover pressed the button which lighted Washington’s community Christmas tree just before he began his brief “Merry Christmas” radio address to Americans from coast to coast. Mrs. Hoover accompanied the President to the impressive Christmas program, which included music by the U.S. Marine band. 12/24/30. Photo from the Library of Congress.

During the Great Depression, when so many people were struggling, the citizens of Wake Forest celebrated an event called “White Christmas”… and it was special.

It took the traditions of the town Christmas Tree and visits from Santa Claus and turned them into a holiday reality right out of “It’s a Wonderful Life.”

Everything you need to know is in this original article from the college newspaper the Old Gold & Black. It’s dated December 18, 1931… a time when the country was so economically devastated that people were starving. Food riots–in which men and women smashed grocery store windows to steal items like fruit, canned goods, bacon and ham–were breaking out across the United States.

WHITE CHRISTMAS TO BE OBSERVED

Sunday School to Collect Gifts For Assisting the Poor of the Community

“White Christmas,” an annual affair at Wake Forest, will be celebrated next Sunday. The purpose of the occasion is to help the poor of the town.

The relief committee asked each department of the Sunday School to bring something that can be used to help the needy.

Children will donate apples, oranges, candy, and toys, and the adults groceries, clothing, and money.

A beautiful Christmas tree will be prepared. At the close of Sunday School, the presents are brought and placed around the tree. All of the packages will be wrapped in white paper and tied in gay ribbons.

The presents will be given by the relief committee to the needy sometime between next Sunday and Christmas Day.

About forty families were helped by the contributions of White Christmas last year.

The baskets which were given to each family last year contained a twelve-pound sack of flour, five pounds of potatoes, packages of oatmeal, and canned goods. Apples, oranges, candy, and toys were given for the children.

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