A homemade holiday

We wrote last week of author Susan Waggoner’s collection of four books (so far) that look back at the way Christmas was celebrated during what we call the Cladrite Era. This week, we’re honored to share with you this guest blog from Ms. Waggoner, whose new book, Have Yourself a Very Vintage Christmas, focuses on holiday crafts, decorating tips, and recipes from the 1920s through the ’60s:


People sometimes ask me if, after writing four books on the subject, I am “Christmased out.” It’s hard not to laugh. Heavens, no!

Researching and writing these books has made me love Christmas even more, for now I have not only my own seasonal memories, but the memories of others to reflect on.

Like my friend Betty’s father, owner of a radio and record store in a small Cape Cod town, a real-life Santa Claus who spent all night every Christmas Eve delivering orders, so families could enjoy their new radios and television sets Christmas Day.

Or the young couple who, during the Depression, sacrificed their own presents to make Christmas dinner for 29 poor children, each of whom went home with a bag of candy and a toy.

I was very lucky, growing up, never to know deprivation. If my parents’ generation was the Greatest, mine was certainly the Luckiest. We were born into a world that had waited through a Depression and a World War for our arrival, to parents who’d grown up without gifts and were determined to make a different kind of world for us.

Children that we were, we took peace and abundance for granted, focusing our attention on Tiny Tears dolls, Easy Bake Ovens, Hot Wheels and Creepy Crawly Thingmakers.

I had a wish list as long as any child’s, and it seems to me I usually got whatever it was I most wanted. But I got something more important than toys from those early Christmases. From my parents and grandparents I inherited a long tradition of handmade holidays—of making decorations rather than buying them, of not just hearing the Christmas story at church but acting it out at home, in shepherd costumes of bedsheets and blankets.

My mother never purchased formal wrapping paper or place cards. She bought tissue paper and glitter and saved old Christmas cards, from which we were expected to create our own tags and wrappings, and the idea of going to a movie on Christmas afternoon instead of playing charades would have seemed a kind of sacrilege.

In remembering the things we did and made together, I remember who my parents and grandparents were. I remember the frugality that carried them through lean times and the creativity they cultivated even when times were better.

Their message still rings loud and clear: don’t always settle for store-bought, even when you can afford it. Add something of yourself. Try your hand. Find a way to make things special. Throw yourself into the fray and see what you end up with.

Whether in Christmas or in life, it’s a good lesson to remember.

—Susan Waggoner

A Cladrite holiday tradition continues

It’s that time of year again, folks.

Longtime readers will recall that the sharing of the B.C. Clark anniversary sale jingle is something of a holiday tradition here at Cladrite Radio. 2011 marks the third year we’ve shared it with you.

image--BC Clark logo Anyone who grew (or is currently growing) up in the Oklahoma City area knows that it’s just not the Christmas season until you’ve heard the B. C. Clark Christmas jingle on television or the radio at least once.

Below are two versions of the jingle—the original, which is admittedly of lower audio quality, and a later version—the one currently heard on radio and TV in the Oklahoma City area—which arguably sounds a bit better, but drops one line late in the song (“The Christmas wish of B. C. Clark is to keep on pleasing you…”), because 30-second commercials had became the norm on local television.

Original B. C. Clark Jingle

Revised B. C. Clark Jingle

B. C. Clark, for the non-Okies among you, is a jewelry retailer that’s been in operation in the Sooner State since 1892, and since 1956 (just one year outside Cladrite Radio’s purview, but we’re stretching a point for the holidays), they’ve been running the aforementioned jingle advertising their annual sale, which takes place not after Christmas, like most stores (or so the jingle’s lyrics insist), but just before.

So for 55 years, denizens of central Oklahoma have been humming along to this catchy ditty, and it’s now our pleasure to share this holiday highlight with folks from other parts of the country (and around the world).

Ms. Cladrite, who grew up in New Jersey, has the darned thing memorized after just three or four Christmas seasons’ exposure to this seasonal delight and can sing along whenever it’s played.

It’s just that catchy a tune.

But be forewarned — listen more than two or three times, and you’ll be hooked, no matter how far away you live from the nearest B.C. Clark location. And soon, as with the millions of Okies who have come to associate this venerable jingle with the Christmas season, you’ll come to feel that it just isn’t the holidays until you’ve heard the jingle once or twice (or a dozen times).

Free shipping — at this late date??

With the days for holiday shopping dwindling to a precious few, Cladrite listeners will be pleased to know that they can enjoy free UPS shipping and guaranteed Christmas delivery on all Cladrite Radio gear (and the T-shirts, hoodies, and so much more found at our sponsor’s site, Cladrite.com) by using the coupon code “SHIP12” at checkout.

Just follow the Get Cladrite Radio Gear link on the upper left or click on the Cladrite.com banner in the lefthand column.

It’s a great way to find something for everyone on your gift-giving list while you’re showing support for Cladrite Radio.

And if you know someone who might enjoy the Memorable Music we play at Cladrite Radio (or any of the thousands of other Live365 stations), a VIP membership from Live365.com makes a unique and affordable gift, providing hours of ad-free listening and an unlimited variety of music. And for a limited time, those VIP memberships are being offered on a two-for-one basis. So you can give yourself the gift of music, too.

Just make sure your friends and family make Cladrite Radio one of their presets!

Back from the brink

Sorry we’ve been scarce of late — a debilitating case of the flu laid us low for longer than we might have wished.

But we’ll be adding scads of new tunes to the playlist in the next day or so. While many of the new offerings will be holiday favorites, many others are less familiar seasonal songs that we think you’ll enjoy.

Also, if you’ve been tempted by the Cladrite Radio gear we offer — T-shirts, hoodies, water bottles, and much, much more — you can enjoy great savings through midnight on Sunday, Nov. 29, by using the coupon code SAVE25 at checkout.

To start shopping, just follow the link on the upper left. But don’t dally — remember, the sale ends on Sunday at midnight.