Thursday, 4 December 2014

Christmas on the Home Front

Tea and Christmas cake anyone?

I have had a very exciting couple of weeks at work (well, more exciting than normal!) which I wanted to share with you.

I am involved with the WW2 programme at work where we run an evacuee camp and get groups of school children to try out lots of different period activities whilst learning what life was like on the Home Front. I love running these days – dressing up and indulging in my love of this period of history. So, I decided to approach Mr Bossman and see if I could run a couple of weeks of Christmas on the Home Front as a special offer. He happily agreed to let me give it a try and I am proud to say it was a huge success.

Some of our props.

We decorated our WW2 building and shop with period decorations. I spent hours creating paper chains from facsimile WW2 newspapers and sourcing paper decorations and streamers of crepe paper. We found the tiniest tree in the world and added some red, white and blue bunting too. I even found a supply of old Christmas cards to stretch above the mirror. Some fresh greenery from around the site completed the decor.

I spent hours researching facts and figures. Being a bit nerdy I wanted everything to be perfectly accurate but in truth we could just give an flavour of the time. Hence we had some American supplies in the shop alongside ration guidance from earlier in the War. Petrol rationing facts didn’t quite match with the dates on the magazines – but overall it gave a good impression of life in that era. And I just had to get over it!

The children got the chance to look at some toys and to think about what they might find in their stockings. They cooked and tasted authentic WW2 recipes and learned about rations in the shop. They got to weigh out a weeks’ worth of sweet ration to take home with them although I suspect none of them managed to make them last a whole week! Hopefully alongside the fun we managed to get the children to appreciate some of the hardships suffered by people, we certainly had several very thoughtful comments from the children.
A visit to our authentic Anderson Shelter (also decorated for the season) and an exciting Beetle Drive game with an onion prize were also on the agenda.

To top off the fun for me, I got to spend some time away from my Land Girl dungarees and look a little more dressed up. Curled and pinned hair, a nice party dress and even some lippy (apparently those Americans down in the town have a little to spare!!) 

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