Christmas Pajamas

Did anyone get pajamas for Christmas this year? Pajamas are a common Christmas gift, and my children always got a new set of sleep ware for Christmas. I opened many gifts, to find beautiful negligees or peignoirs sets, and loved every one of them. And, I like to give gifts that comfort those I love, so pajamas seem to always be high on my giving list. Throughout the years sleep ware has changed somewhat, but has remained constant in its ability to provide comfort.

Wikipedia says, as late as the Middle Ages people slept naked until textile advances brought heavy long nightgowns (nightshirts) and nightcaps. Nightshirts were a sleeping garment styled like a man’s shirt in mini, knee or calf length with rounded hem and a slash at the side seams. Nightcaps were stocking caps made of knitted silk, often with a tassel on top that provided warmth while sleeping (as seen in The Night Before Christmas and Scrooge). The nightcap could be used other than just for sleeping. In the 14th to mid-19th century it was a skullcap with an upturned brim worn indoors by men when their wig was removed. During the 19th century the nightcap was called a “jelly-bag.” This doesn’t sound too comfortable to me, but considering the bulky clothes of the day and lack of central heat and air, it was probably a Godsend.

Until the Victorian era, men and women, from the wealthiest to the poorest, slept in the shifts or shirts they wore as underwear during the day. They were dual-purpose garments. However, increased prosperity in the19th century, and different interest in hygiene, created the arrival of night clothes. The voluminous style of women’s nightgowns reflected the modesty of the period. Pajamas were introduced about 1880 for men to wear for sleeping instead of nightshirts.

Drop seat pajamas are pajamas with a flap over the buttocks and was popular around the 1950s. The primary purpose of the drop seat on this type of pajama is to facilitate easy use of the toilet without removing the entire pajama (not something I would find comfortable). Pajamas became the dominant sleepwear by the 1910s, but by the 1970s school-age boys slept in their underwear. The 1960’s brought to us the short baby doll pajamas, hostess pajamas and Mu Mus. Hostess pajamas, or beach pajamas, were great, consisting of comfortable and beautiful short-sleeved or sleeveless blouses with lightweight pants worn to entertain day or night. I loved these beautiful clothes….where did they go?

No matter what kind of pajamas, I love them! I believe days should be set aside as pajama days! Every snow day, you will find me in my pajamas. My granddaughter and I enjoy snuggle days spent in pajamas, Christmas morning gift opening is a pajama event, and school children wear their pajamas to school on Dr. Seuss Days (they love it). Maybe we could just have pajama holidays! What do you think?

Source: K. P. Guessen