How Christmas was celebrated in Lititz 75 years ago

By on December 26, 2018

The holiday season continues to be a special time for many of us.

Each and every year, Christmas brings with it the glow of a white winter wonderland, gift-giving, family get-togethers, special outings, great food, festive music, and a ho-ho-host of so many more activities.

As we begin to (slowly) turn our minds towards 2019, let’s journey back for a small sampling of how this special season was celebrated right here in Lititz 75 years ago, during the year 1943.
On Dec. 17 of that year at the Rothsville School, students presented their annual Candlelight Christmas Carol program in the auditorium. The concert was made up of students in grades 3 through 8, as well as the high school mixed chorus, and the high school girl’s glee club. The entire program was under the direction of Irene R. Miller, and faculty member Lester Hoffmaster planned the staging as well as all of the decorations for the show.

The Lititz square at Christmas during the 1940s.

A fat drive was also held during the week of Christmas here on the homefront. The project, which was overseen by the Girl Scouts in Lititz, involved leftover kitchen fat which was requested to be donated for the war effort still currently raging. A special matinee show was also held at the Lititz Theatre during this event, admission being one pound of fat. The special films shown, on behalf of the Motion Picture War Activities Program, were “Heritage of the Desert,” Jasper and the Haunted House,” and “Bird Farm.”

Lititz Moravian Church
The children of the Moravian Sunday School held their Christmas program on Dec. 19 in Fellowship Hall that year. The annual Christmas Eve Vigil services were also very popular, and the familiar hymn “Still Nacht” was sung all throughout the congregation. Did you know that the year 2018 marks the 200th anniversary of this timeless classic?

St. Paul’s Lutheran Church
The children’s congregation worked very hard to present their holiday program “Why The Chimes Ring.” There were also small gifts for the orphans that year, which were wrapped in white packages, and brought to the church for distribution. That year, the church held their Christmas Eve services at 11:30 p.m. The annual lighting of candles also took place, a cherished tradition that members of the congregation looked forward to every year.

Trinity Church
In 1943, a candlelight service was held, which featured 25 members of the congregation all under the direction of Harry Neidermyer. There were also scripture readings, a candlelight service, and an organ recital.

During that festive season, Lititz Auto Supply was just one of the many places that consumers could shop for special gifts for friends and loved ones. For the mere price of $2.29, a duck pin bowling set could be purchased, wrapped carefully, and then placed underneath the tree. For .98 cents, a ring toss game could be yours or set aside as a special gift.
At Ford’s Market on East Main Street, fresh cut trees were ready to find new homes and priced between 90 cents and $1.50 each. While shoppers were there, many of them also stocked up on nickle bags of salt, Arabian figs for only 23 cents per pound, and Crisco oil beginning at only 26 cents per jar. If shoppers were hungry, they could easily take a short stroll down the street to Hugh’s Restaurant, which offered a fried oyster special priced at a mere .90 cents a dozen. At B.M. Leaman at 51 N. Broad St., consumers could buy Kellogg’s canned fruit and vegetables, as well as a host of dates, nuts, and mince meat.

Meanwhile, over at Simplex Box along North Water Street, a scrap collection was held, and included waste paper and paperboard boxes. The Lititz Post Office was also very busy, handling a then record number of 44,000 pieces of mail during the month. On December 20 alone, a total of 22,000 pieces of first class mail were canceled.
All in all, it was a very magical holiday season filled with laughs, gifts, and lots of love.

May you share the same spirit of the season with you and yours this holiday season!

Merry Christmas!

Cory Van Brookhoven is a staff writer for the Lititz Record Express. He welcomes your comments at cvanbrookhoven@lnpnews.com or 717-721-4423. 

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