There’s nothing quite like the holidays when you’re a little kid. Getting treats, celebrating with loved ones, singing carols- it was all very special. But, many people who grew up decades ago didn’t have the kinds of Christmases kids today have. In fact, the further back you go the more difference there was between how we celebrate now and how things used to be done. To listen to stories about these times is to understand how low the budget for the Christmas celebrations actually was. This was especially true during the Great Depression. Here are some the things that people who grew up in the 1930s remember about the holidays back then. It’s really eye-opening.

Fewer Gifts

You might not be surprised that weren’t a ton of gifts under the tree back then. Some recalled often getting new clothes as their only gifts and these were often handmade.

Via: Russell Lee/Library of Congress

No Christmas Ham

While we often think of making a ham or turkey for Christmas dinner many 1930s kids recalled having chicken instead. Many families couldn’t afford any special foods and ate pretty much normal meals even at the holidays.

Via: Alison Marras/Unsplash

The Entertainment Was Cards

Men played cards, often while women worked and talked in the kitchen. Though sometimes the whole family might play together.

Via: Marjory Collins/Library of Congress

Had to Entertain Themselves

Children simply played on Christmas since there was no TV back then. Being toasty inside was nice, but so was being outside and playing in the snow- if you were lucky enough to have a white Christmas.

Via: Jack Delano/Library of Congress

Adults Danced

At night there might have been some dancing as well if the family had a radio, a gramophone, or possibly some friends or family members who could play live music.

Via: John Collier, Jr/Library of Congress

The Stockings

Unlike our “stocking stuffer” gifts that come in all shapes and sizes and prices, their stockings were usually filled with fruit and nuts (and little else).

Via:State Archives of Florida

Even Better Than Candy

Bananas and oranges were expensive, exotic fruits that were special to Christmas for many. It might the only time of year you got to eat them!

Via: Nenad Stojkovic/Flickr

Stockings Were It for Some Families

Children from poorer families may have only gotten a stocking. The toys and gifts in store window displays? Some kids thought they were just holiday decorations and didn’t understand that kids from better off families actually got presents under the tree as well.

Via: Library of Congress

Christmas Tree Optional

Christmas trees weren’t as common as today- they were a luxury that many couldn’t afford back then. But, look at this seller offering free home delivery for those who could purchase them!

Via: Jack Delano/Library of Congress

Homemade Toys

Most gifts were homemade whenever possible to save money. The Sock Monkey was popular in the 1930s because it could be made from a pair of Rockford socks with the signature red heel for the mouth. However, you could also make a facsimile using an old sweater and some red embroidery floss as well, making this a nationally popular gift that mothers could make at home from scraps.

Via: Jack Delano/Library of Congress