Christmas Tree..So Gay and Bright

Today a friend of mine posted an AMAZING link on her Facebook page – the site is WishbookWeb.com, “The Vintage Christmas Catalog archive project.” Once you go there, you can view nearly fifty Christmas catalogs from a variety of retailers, dating all the way back to 1933. As I said, it is amazing…

I spent a few minutes on the site today, browsing away. It is interesting to note the changes in prices (loads of items for under $1.00 – spend $20.00 and get special financing), the changes in gender roles and tastes (lots of men’s cuff links pre-1960; ladies get hostess skirts and holiday aprons, LOL!) and the ever-increasing costs of like items from decade to decade (my income has not escalated at a similar growth!) Anyway, visiting this site is a lot of fun and made me remember my Mom and how she anxiously awaited holiday catalogs every year, so she could look at all the “pretty things” and – as the website implies – wish…

I was born in 1958 so I was pleased to see that the bright, beautiful 1958 Sears Christmas Book is archived at WishbookWeb.com. The cover is definitely appealing –

1958_SearsChristmas_Page001The ornaments featured caught my eye, especially as my Sweetie and I are in the process of “putting up” our own Christmas tree at the moment. I turned to page 336 as directed by the cover. Once the page opened, I laughed out loud –

1958_SearsChristmas_Page336Really? I mean, really? “Christmas Tree..So Gay and Bright” – it was if the past was speaking to me from the pages of a holiday wish book, more than half a century old. It made me smile; I LOVED it.

It’s a little hard to read the page but 125 ornament hangers for only a dime? Six 9-foot strands of glass garland – in assorted colors – for only $1.29? And are you kidding me? I could get ALL the ornaments featured on the cover – three round glass balls with jewel decorations, one ringing bell, two 3-D reflector balls, one glass onion ball and one regular glass ball – ALL those for only $3.58? As recently as last night, I was looking at a dozen punky “snowflake” scented tea lights for $9.99.

In 1958, for ten bucks, I could have almost decorated a whole tree!

I know it isn’t fair to compare today with yesteryear, or to wish to live in the past when the present is now. But sometimes, I sigh and wonder what Christmas must have been like before it become ultra-commercial and over-hyped. Then again, I am dreaming about a past I imagine through yellowed old “wish books,” so maybe even then the holiday was beginning to lose its true meaning…

I hope each of us will take time this year to remember the true meaning of Christmas – not necessarily the religious genesis of the holiday, but the goals outlined by many a Christmas carol: peace on Earth, goodwill to men.

Thank you, WishbookWeb.com, for the great work you do! Merry Christmas!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s