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After surviving this past year’s extended edition of the Barnum & Bailey/Nintendo reality game, Jumbo the Elephant versus Donkey Kong, I decided to substitute my usual introspective, holiday missive with a festive infusion of humor.  I thought a trip down memory lane of what used be considered acceptable holiday advertising in days gone by might fit the bill.  I’m a big fan of vintage advertisements, and follow a few Pinterest pages dedicated to it. I was born in the early fifties, and some ads invoke warm flashbacks of when I was a tyke (and no, I didn’t ride horseback to school, we had cars). We had a different mindset inherited from the earliest days of the twentieth-century. Looking back, some of those ads now have me ROTFL.

Back in 2012, I was asked to guest post a holiday article to cheer folks up during difficult economic times. I blew the dust off it, and added a couple more graphics.

To quote a cigarette campaign from 1968, “We’ve come a long way baby.”  Enjoy.

Original Guest Blog Post – Blame it On The Muse, December 12, 2012



Many folks long for the good old days, especially holidays filled with nostalgic childhood memories of crackling hearth fires, and family gathered around a decorated, live-cut tree. Mom served eggnog in her new apron. Dad lit up a Lucky in his favorite chair. The kids wore their Sunday finest, jiggling with impatience for Santa to come.


Dad wasn’t always in tune with what the love of his life really wanted for Christmas in those days. Retailers paid special attention by offering advice to wives on how to drop hints to get that new toaster. Mom’s expression of sheer joy when she opened her gift was the highlight of Dad’s day.


I can almost hear Dad now, lighting up that special, holiday flavored Tiparillo.  We’d all go “eeeewwww” when mom sat in his lap, all giggly and snuggly, buried inside a cloud of smoke when he asked, “Honey, would you make me a sandwich?”


He’d give her a little pat on the backside to signal enough lollygagging. What he really wanted was for Mom to get started on dinner with her new mixer.


Mom gently tweaked his nose. Dad smiled and gave a wink. “Wait, there’s more.” Santa left another present for Mom. What could it be?


It was really Mom’s year for the good things in life. Now she wouldn’t have to use the kitchen table to get that perfect crease in Dad’s trousers.

Oh darn, the baby is fussing. Mom knew exactly what would soothe the little tyke.


“He’s probably teething,” Dad suggested. “I’ll run down the local Rexall and pick up some medicine.”


Raising seven kids was kind of distracting back then. Every once in a while, things got a little too hectic, and Mom would burn the ham. Dad understood, just as long as she remembered to stock up on his favorite beverage.


Heaven forbid, though, if she tried to save a few pennies buying a less expensive coffee. Dad was little persnickety  about his coffee.


Christmas feasts were the best. Turkey with stuffing, ham, candied sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes with cream (whipped to perfection with Mom’s new mixer), green bean casserole, and three kinds of pie for desert.

Dad would kick back, unbuckle his size 48 belt so he could breathe better. He’d gaze at Mom at the sink, up to her elbows in dish soap. “Wonderful dinner honey, but you might consider skipping desert next time,” then toss her a pack of cigarettes.


Yes, holidays were so much more special in the old days. Mom finished cleaning up the kitchen, stowing the leftovers, washing the floor, and putting the baby down for a nap.

“Can we watch TV?” we kids would clamor. “Well, since it’s so educational, just for awhile,” Mom would smile.


Mom looked tired while sweeping the floor, but she knew if she was good for another year, maybe Dad would get her that new Hoover she dreamed about.


Holidays are so special, Mom thought back then.

To the soothing sound of Dad’s snoring on the couch, she made a promise to give herself a gift next year, with a big tag that said:  Open Me First.


Still Pining for the old days?

Happy Holidays. May the presents beneath the tree contain lots of laughter. 

Graphics from Pinterest Vintage Advertisements.