Christmas for the American Expeditionary Forces (1918)

Christmas was Big Day for the Yanks of the American Expeditionary Forces

The Young Men’s Christian Association made Christmas day as cheery and “homey” as possible for the men of the American Expeditionary Force overseas.

Over 80,000,000 cigarets were given away to the men at the Christmas tree celebrations in the 1500 “Y” huts abroad, together with 4,000,000 chocolate bars, 2,000,000 tins of smoking tobacco and 2,000,000 packages of chewing gum.

Our collection, America and World War I: American Military Camp Newspapers, addresses a topic and period that continues to be of the widest interest and importance to scholars, students, and the general public – America in the World War I Era. Camp newspapers make important original source material—much of it written by soldiers for soldiers—readily available for research.

Every Y. M. C. A. hut in France had a Christmas tree with gifts and special entertainment, with 1500 Santa Clauses. French children were invited to the huts as soldiers’ guests. In every hut Thomas Cushing’s playlet. “Mistletoe and Onions,” specially written for the American expeditionary forces, was presented, together with a minstrel show and moving pictures.

In London 2000 American soldiers, sailors and marines were entertained at turkey dinner in 1000 British homes, thanks to the International Hospitality League of the Y. M. C. A. The plum pudding and roast beef of Merrie England were there, vying with American turkey and cranberry sauce. These 2000 men had what it takes to drive homesickness away on the one day when a fellow wants good companionship.

Source: The Camp Sherman News – December 31, 1918

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