Saturday, December 16, 2017

Christmas Gift Ideas!

This episode of Sleighback Saturday is specifically tailored to meet the needs of all you last-minute shoppers out there. And by last-minute, I mean people who meant to get their Christmas shopping done, oh, about 100 years ago.

Check out these Christmas deals from December, 1917!

Or, if a typewriter was not in your holiday budget, Loftis Bros & Co. offered reasonable terms toward the purchase of  something more romantic:
There being a war on, Loftis Bros & Hos would accept Liberty Bonds in lieu of cash.

Graham, Crawford Co. of Bonham, Texas, while acknowledging the sorry state of world affairs, offers a merry list of gift suggestions:

From the Houston Post comes this advertisement from G.A. Stowers Furniture Company, suggesting the gift of a Columbia Grafonola, along with a variety of Columbia records to play on it. "Life in a Trench in Belgium," for example, is touted as "A record altogether out of the ordinary  — a startling picture of what 'digging in' means."
Or, if your tastes ran to something more musical, 75¢ could also get you recordings of "The Naval Reserve March" or "We're Going Over." The latter promises, "Just to listen to this rousing popular hit makes you wish you were 'going over,' too."

One thing that has always amazed me when I hear stories about how Christmas used to be is that whole cities weren't burned to the ground every December. Yes, Virginia, they used to put candles on Christmas trees in houses and churches, schools and institutions. Lit candles.

I suppose future generations will feel the same way about the incandescent light bulbs that are now gradually being replaced by LED lights that don't generate so much heat. One year, my husband and I put enough strings of lights on our tree that the heat could be felt across the room. The tree was artificial, but fake trees are not completely non-flammable. (We do try to avoid stringing that many lights these days. It's easier on the fuses.)
Once upon a time, a good pen was a thoughtful and considerate gift. I don't know how to explain fountain pens to a generation for whom ballpoint and felt tip pens are relics of ancient history; suffice it to say that you had to fill its barrel with ink at regular intervals, and blot the ink on a scrap of felt before continuing to write. There was a tendency from time to time for ink to rush out faster than one might want it to, leaving big indelible blotches on paper, hands, and clothes.

For the convenience of soldiers, who needed to pack light without a wardrobe of replacement uniforms, Parker ink was available in tablets instead of the standard ink bottle. And here's something those of us who still use pens have come to take for granted: when it came to these Parker pens, the clip was extra.

Parker pens are still around, by the way, although it has been bought out by Gillette and the company headquarters has moved from Janesville, Wisconsin, to St.-Herblain, France. I guess you really can't keep them down on the farm after they've seen Pa-ree.

But let's face it. Typewriters and pens and watches and army recruitment phonographs are all well and good, but Christmas is all about the kiddies.
I have no idea why the giants of Lilliputania are a Chinese launderer and a police officer standing on a colossal pair of scissors.  I guess I would have had to buy the absorbing fairy story book that went along with the 120-piece model city. Now we'll just have to wait for Disney to make the feature film version.

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