Childhood Memories: Girl Scout Christmas Crafts of the Early 1970s

Nice memories from the elementary school years this time.Me Christmas of ’71 (the date on the photo is wrong–it took my Mom YEARS to get film developed!). That was my favorite dress that year, too!

Much of December was spent making “stuff” for Christmas gifts when I was a kid. There were the good projects–the felt Christmas Stockings Mrs. Englehart patiently taught us to hand sew, the bad, (too many to mention) and the ugly–popsicle stick manger anyone? But Christmas gift crafts were raised to a special level of “art” by those frustrated executives in green–the early 1970’s Girl Scout Leaders! All were named “Mrs.” All drove station wagons. And none tolerated shirking your crafting duties at Christmas. Picture Source

I was an enthusiastic girl scout in my youth! I was a brownie and then a Junior and would have enjoyed going further, but that’s as far as it went at my school. Anyway, about that time band took over my life and I enjoyed that thoroughly, too.

Later I enjoyed leading my daughter’s American Heritage Girl’s group for a few years. Sadly, as in so many things, she did not share my passion for earning badges!! Image copyright 1963 Girl Scouts of America.Daypack for camp

 

 

 

 

Among the many crafts we Girl Scouts made in the Presbyterian Church Fellowship Hall in the early 70’s were these two classic Christmas decorations.

 pbsanta

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 First the Reader’s Digest Santa! You bought a plastic Santa or Mrs. Santa head at the Ben Franklin and then devised construction paper arms with mittened hands to make them more “human” looking. Spray paint, something ALL kids long to use, was allowed with an adult RIGHT. THERE. ready to seize the can if you dared aim at another scout of at anything belonging to the Church! Our mother’s sewing box or button jar provided other goodies to “dress” the Santas with. I believe mine became a gift to my Grandfather and his new wife that year. Whatever did happen to it, I did at least have fun making it. Photo Credit
ibmwreath
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Then there were the IBM PUNCH CARD WREATHS!!These were awesome! Staples AND spray paint! Too cool, right? Mine was spray painted gold and went to live in Roger’s Park, in Chicago, on my Great Aunt’s door. She came home from work one night to find it stolen. She remarked on that every Christmas till she died in the early 90s.

Since those times I’ve grown up, become a Mom and received Christmas crafts from my own children. Handmade Christmas cards, school Christmas party crafted ornaments, a high school photography class photo calendar. Recently one of my children received a gift of an ornament made by my great-nephew. I remember enjoying little things like that made by his Mom and Uncle, too.
grandmas-painted-wooden-ornaments
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Perhaps my favorite Christmas craft memory was from 1972. We’d moved that August to a new state and a new school. Maybe he was lonely. Maybe Mom bribed him, or maybe, just maybe a 14 year old with art talent galore found some fun in the activity. My big brother sat down and painted those then-new cut out wooden Christmas ornaments with me. He tried to help me slow down and do a better job. (I’m not talented in this area!). His were wonderful, mine were ok. It didn’t matter–in my family we were proud of each others talents. So much so that my Mom has an oil painting of his in her home still today and on my kitchen counter, in true 70s style, sits a pot he made that has held the wood kitchen tools in every kitchen I’ve had–except the kitchen in Malawi.
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2 thoughts on “Childhood Memories: Girl Scout Christmas Crafts of the Early 1970s

  1. sjbraun

    This makes me wish I’d been in scouting longer — I think it was just brownies and then one year in “junior” scouts for me. 4-H was a much bigger deal in my life. I know what you mean that it’s kind of sad when our kids don’t share that enthusiasm … I love your Santa and wreath — don’t think I made either of those. I love the stories about all your (and your family’s) crafts!

    Liked by 1 person

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