I was still in a nostalgic mood after I'd finished that book and wanted more. So I went to the bag where my small collection of vintage Christmas magazines are stored, and pulled out the one on top:
The December 8th, 1951 issue of The Saturday Evening Post, purchased for a quarter a few years back at a library used magazine sale. This copy has slightly beat-up front and back covers, but even at that, 25c was a bargain (according to the eBay listings I checked out earlier today).
I didn't read this magazine while growing up, but from glancing through it, it seemed to have covered a broad range of domestic and international issues. There were stories of politicians proposing changes to election procedures, and worries about the Bad Things Certain Big Countries May Be Doing To Undermine Other Countries. In other words, in some ways, not much has changed in 65 years.
So instead I'll focus on some of the ads, where much has changed. For instance, this product:
A REO Royale Power Lawn Mower - which looks exactly like a reel mower with a small motor on top. I guess that's what it is!
Ads in color are, well, more colorful, but I loved the Santa line drawing in this one. He looks like he's standing by a chest of drawers, but folks, that's a 21" RCA Victor Suffolk. Cost: $425. In today's money, that's almost $4,000!
Fortunately, this gift would have been considerably less expensive:
Lifesavers Candy Book. A friend and I were talking the other day about the little candy treat bags or boxes we got at Christmastime during our grade school years. She said she always wanted a Lifesavers Candy Book, and I told her I used to give them as gifts to middle school and high school friends (didn't have the money for anything bigger!). Until I saw this ad, I hadn't realized how far back this packaging went.
I couldn't resist another TV ad, this one by Motorola. This 20" Mahogany Table Model sold for $279.95, which is equivalent to a little over $2,600. Whew, that's better!
Cameras were more reasonable in price than televisions. The camera on the left cost $32 by itself (now: almost $298), $55 (now: around $511) with a variety of accessories included. The model on the right was priced at $14.95 (today: around $139),or $29.95 (today: almost $279)for the complete gift set.
Still kind of pricey, but hey, at least there's some nice wrapping paper shown!
So yeah, consumer tastes and prices have changed in 65 years, but this gift would likely still find favor today with many men:
Pendleton wool shirts; this pattern is called "Kilgore Tartan". The man is shown wearing the Topster Jacket (then, $18.95, now $176). Below his arm is the Regular Shirt ($15.35, $142.71)and below that shirt is the Sport Shirt. It looks very similar, and has the same price as well.
There were a lot more ads I could have shown off, for there was page and page of gift ads. Consumers were implored to buy toasters, electric roasters, cigarette lighters, pipes, watches, clocks, fountain pens, cuff links, and more.
I guess that part of Christmas hasn't changed in 65 years either! Nevertheless, I really enjoyed my nostalgia trip, courtesy of this issue from The Saturday Evening Post.
Note: price comparisons were courtesy of the US Inflation Calculator website, which can be found here.