Homemade Christmas Tree

Relationship: Child of im/migrant

This entry is part of the Tenement Museum Collection.

Josephine Baldizzi lived at 97 Orchard as a child, and you can see her home on our “Hard Times” tour. Her family moved out when the building was condemned in 1935, but Josephine was still alive when the Tenement Museum opened, and her oral history has proven invaluable to us. They lived on Orchard Street during the Great Depression, when her father didn't have steady work, and Josephine spoke about her father's creativity in making holidays special with the family's Italian Catholic traditions. One might imagine Christmas during the Great Depression to be a disheartening affair, but Josephine only speaks of that time with fondness in her voice. Their tenement apartment never felt small to Josephine, especially when decorated for the holidays. “… the Christmas tree, my father made sure- you know what he used to do?” she said. “Go down and pick out whatever anybody threw away. And being that he was a cabinet maker, he would stick branches in, you know? He would make his own tree, shape it, tie it to the wall, and then get ornaments and dress it all up.” In this photograph, the Museum recreated the tree that Aldolpho Baldizzi made for his family.

Year: 1930

Relationship:  Child of im/migrant Child of im/migrant