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A Cheerful Depression-era Holiday Greeting

Christmas was tough during the Great Depression, but for some families, it was just a continuation of the heard times that came before. Unemployment reached 25% in 1933, before the New Deal programs had much effect. If you wanted to have some Christmas cheer, you had to be creative, even if that meant making your own Christmas cards drawn on a paper bag. Peter McCormick donated such a card his parents received in 1933 to the he Smithsonian Institution.   

Despite the glum economic situation, the Pinero family used a brown paper bag to fashion an inexpensive holiday greeting card. They penned a clever rhyme and added some charming line drawings of Mom, Dad, and the kids with the message: "Oh, well—in spite of it all—here's a Merry Christmas from the Pineros." On December 19, 1933, they mailed it from Chicago to friends in Massachusetts, using a one-and-a-half-cent stamp. For a minimal outlay of cash, they were able to keep in touch with friends and comment on their reduced circumstances with wit and humor.

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