The holiday exhibit on display at the McFaddin-Ward House gives visitors a glimpse into Christmas with the McFaddins.christmas-interp-2020-edit
In the 1920s, the McFaddin family could enjoy a “modern” Christmas without leaving town.Shoppers could go downtown and purchase all their holiday needs along Pearl Street, whether clothing, jewelry, flowers, groceries, guns, cigars, cars, or even a new hairdo. For entertainment, Pearl Street provided traditional Vaudeville and the latest movies—“talkies.”
Christmas was a bright and exciting season, full of bustle, noise, hype, lights, music, and crowds. The Christmas light market really took off during the 1920s. At home, Beaumonters could listen to phonograph music, and after 1924, to Christmas programs on the radio, when Magnolia Refinery’s KFDM radio station began broadcasting.
The McFaddin family was part of this bright bustle, enjoying the season’s offerings in various ways. Ida and Mamie shopped endlessly on Pearl Street (“Shopped I think all day,” Mamie reported to her diary in 1921), wrapped mountains of gifts, hosted and attended social functions, and ensured that the holidays went smoothly. The men pursued their own interests, whether planning a dance (Perry Jr.), singing in the St. Mark’s Oratorio (Caldwell), socializing with other Texas A&M alumni (Carroll Ward), or going to a party after working at the ranch all day (W.P.H.).
Modern trends notwithstanding, tradition still governed McFaddin Christmas celebrations. Christmas was a time for family. Ida’s note to Mamie, written to accompany a Christmas gift sometime in the 1920s, said it all: “Mamie, With my whole heartful of love. May the sweet spirit of this Blessed season abide with my precious girl.” It was signed “Mother.”
To learn more, peruse the above booklet or come take a tour and see the exhibit for yourself!