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  • Writer's pictureDaisy Holder

The 8 Days of DisHist-mas!

Updated: Feb 11, 2022

This was originally written for Twitter in the 8 days leading up to Christmas (it was originally going to be the traditional 12 days but unfortunately I wasn't too well, so you'll have 8 and be thankful for it.)


Once I realised that #DisHist sounded a bit like the Christ in Christmas, I thought I'd do a fun 12 days of #DisHist-mas.

But illness, life and UK politics got in the way last week, so now it will be the new traditional (if I have anything to do with it) 8 days of DisHistmas.


December 16th:

An opportunistic undertaker drops in to give Christmas and New Year wishes to a sick man. Coloured lithograph, ca. 1830.

Undertaker life hack: make friends with all the chronically and seriously ill locals.

An old man wearing a dressing gown and sitting in a chair tended to by a woman looks towards the open door, where an undertaker has taken his top hat off in greeting.
Business and the Compliments of the Season. Coloured lithograph, Wellcome Collection


December 17th:

A Christmas entertainment, presented in sign language for the deaf and dumb, at the Hanover Square rooms, London.

Note how many in the audience couldn't care less about who's on stage, and are just signing amongst themselves.

A black and white image of one man speaking and one man signing on stage. Behind them are 7 men sitting on the stage. In the audience are lots of men and women looking and signing at each other rather than the stage.
Lithograph of A Christmas Entertainment. Wellcome Collecion.


December 18th:

It's A Wonderful Life, 1946, one of the most well loved American films of all times. A man with a hearing impairment nearly gets done for fraud but it turns out everyone likes him.

Also known as "why did the pharmacist have poison in the first place?!

In black and white, a man holds his hands up in triumph in front of a street sign.
George Bailey from the film It's a Wonderful Life.


December 19th:

A reminder that we can blame Charles Dickens for a lot of "oh no poor you well done you left the house aren't you brave."

BUT less irritatingly, this year on Broadway Tiny Tim will be played by disabled kids!

Kermit, a puppet frog, with a smaller puppet frog sitting on his shoulder and holding a crutch. Both are wearing old fashioned clothes and are in the snow.
Kermit and Tiny Tim in A Muppets Christmas Carol.


December 20th:

A 1940 poster from the National Tuberculosis Association in the USA for awareness-raising stamps.

I am assuming that the stamps themselves did not contribute to the spread of TB because that wouldn't be very Christmassy.

Buy and use Christmas seals. Protect your home from tuberculosis. Inside a picture of a stamp is 3 children singing, with a banner underneath that says "Christmas greetings 1940"
Special TB Christmas seals.


December 21st&22nd:

Two videos from the same place, (and not just because I was out drinking yesterday)

Hidden Lives Remembered. Click the pictures to watch the videos.

A first hand account of Christmas in a residential home:

A choir reminisce about their Christmas visits:

The Hidden Lives Remembered project is based in Solihull focussing on the history of people with learning disabilities living in residential homes and long stay hospitals.

Highly recommend looking at all their resources, so valuable!


December 23rd:

Christmas cards raising money for the Crippled Children's Help Society.

These were both drawn by the same artist, Edward Gosling, a child with no arms who used the society.

He drew with his toes, and apparently thought Santa personally killed turkeys.

A bird sits on a branch surrounded by holly. The wntire drawing is green and white. Writing reads "From the Crippled Children's Help Society, with the cheery greeting of many friends.
Gosling's drawing of a winter bird with holly, drawn in green.

A cartoon of a snowy field with two houses. Santa is holding a ribbon which is around a turkey's neck, which then stretches around the card reading "with Christmas greetings from the Crippled Children's Help Society.
A nice christmassy Santa dragging a turkey by the neck with a ribbon.


December 24th:

"A Gift of Love", the 1963 remarkable and tragic story of a girl whose mum is TOO RICH for a gift she could afford.

Thankfully, a brooch made by a disabled is worth much more! Everyone will treasure a gift and card "made by spastics"!

Click below to see the whole film, thanks to the Wellcome Library!


Hope you all had a lovely Christmas and New Year!

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