Friday, December 9, 2011

Timeless Gift Giving Suggestions from a Century Ago

A few weeks ago, Brian came across an old magazine from 1911. A Christmas issue, it has advertisements for anything and everything a household during George V's reign could ever need - along with numerous holiday gift suggestions. The magazine is exactly 100 years old and is in pitiful condition, but has to be quite rare since these publications were not meant to last. It has no monetary value, but to me it's priceless since it offers a fascinating and accurate glimps at the lifestyle of the time.

Surprisingly, several of the Christmas gift suggestions still
apply today, as you will see below. Perhaps it will help you with your Christmas shopping.

In 1911, books were very, very popular, this magazine used eight pages to advertise books from different publishers. One hundred years later, books are increasingly replaced by electronic devices offering instant gratification. Books are now similar to luxury items, bought by a minority - the weird thing is that book buyers are not necessarily rich.

Holeproof Hosiery? I don't know about the "holeproof", but socks and Christmas go together whether you like it or not.

Gloves are also very popular today. I personally must have lost hundreds in my lifetime, so a new pair is always welcome.

Ahhh, Birks... the Canadian Tiffany & Co.

Lovely toiletries... an excellent, reliable choice when in a quandry.

Men's grooming kit... classic.

Glassware... crystal or tableware are still very popular.

The phonograph is, of course, long gone, but today's electronic equivalent is probably the most popular gift under the Christmas tree for the 12 to 35 age group.

Here is the exception. When I turned the page and saw this ad, it seemed weird to advertise a bookcase for Christmas. To my surprise, there were two more ads for bookcases. In 1911, our tiny town of St Marys had two thriving bookstores on our main commercial street. Imagine how many more there were in big cities across the country. If books were very popular a hundred years ago, it's only natural that bookcase would be as well. Sadly, although beautiful, I think only this suggestion would truly be a thing of the past.


Ashley said...

What a neat find! And maybe it's just me, but I would LOVE that bookcase for Christmas!

Richard Cottrell said...

What a wonderful find. It is a treasure. Richard from My Old Historic House.

The Dusty Victorian said...

Hi Ashley,
Isn't it gorgeous! Brian was drooling all over the page.

The Dusty Victorian said...

Hello Richard,
This magazine could fuel a year's worth of blog posts.
So interesting!

Laura said...

Cool find for sure!
A bookcase might be a nice gift for a student or an avid reader that had the space for it. :)

I love the way they did ads (back in the day). So much more descriptive.

Glad I'm not the only glove-loser around. Seb bought me some really lovely gloves this year, very expensive I'm sure. I wonder how long they will last.......


The Dusty Victorian said...

Hello Laura,
Absolutely! A bookcase would make a great gift for the right person. Yes, these ads were very "wordy". My problem with gloves is that I place them on my lap when I get in the car, forget about them and when I get to my destination, I get out of the car and they fall on the ground. All the while I thought they were in my purse. JESHHH! A few times, I recovered them when back to the car, but most of the time they were gone for ever.

Donna Seger said...

Great post! I might steal the idea and tweak it a bit for Salem--thanks for the inspiration (as usual)!

The Dusty Victorian said...

Thank you Donna, be my guest.

Pam of Eastlake Victorian said...

Hi Anyes-

Forgive me for coming to your blog so late!

What a fabulous magazine! You are so right, these gifts are mostly still very popular. I love the way they used to describe things back then. I would REALLY love one of those beautiful bookcases for Christmas! I guess people haven't changed that much in 100 years.


The Dusty Victorian said...

Hello Pam,
It's always an honour to have you drop in. Ads and marketing strategies have changed (they are more visual than wordy now), but you are right, people are creatures of habits.