Monday, December 4, 2023

K.A.C. 2023 - T - 21 Days ...


1955 - Something tells me that wall of dishes isn't the ONLY wall going up in this house between Mom and Dad. The Hotpoint ad is actually from 1950, but it's our theme for the day - Vintage Christmas ads. Always headshaking and horrible, this is a never-ending bottom of the barrel where Christmas Cheer is concerned, as Mom always gets some damn houseware appliance or another while Dad and the kids get all the good stuff. Like what, you say? Just this once, we'll open our Christmas presents early - it'll give Mom more time to think up an alibi for the justifiable homicide charges to follow:

     1931 - Indoctrinate them early with a toy fridge by Electrolux. The ad copy is particularly heinous here (click on any photo for a larger look): "What's a woman at Christmas time but a little girl grown up? Tickled to pieces with a toy refrigerator when she's little. Even more thrilled with an Electrolux when she's big." Uh huh ... name one. I can't think of any, then or now.

          1936 - Fast forward five years and AGAIN with the refrigerator! Meet the '36 Frigidaire (with the "Meter-Miser", no less). As the ad says, "You will be sure it will delight Mother beyond words." OH, TRUST ME, Mom's got words, all right, especially for that smug bastard Santa, but she can't SAY them with the kids in the room! And the Iago Award goes to Frigidaire for this extra fillip seen directly under Suzie on her trike: "This handsome medallion, engraved with any inscription you desire, will be affixed to your Christmas Frigidaire free of charge ...", to make sure you remember this wretched, etch-ed Christmas for years to come. Can you fit 'RIP, TED, 1936' on that tiny thing? 


     1939 - By the end of the decade, we've moved on from refrigerators (and the disappearance of both 'Santa Ted' and the Frigidaire, which I'm sure was just a coincidence) to ... vacuums! The 'little lady' is thinking of a NUMBER of ways to use all those attachments, I'm sure (cleaning the blood out of the carpet, etc. What were YOU thinking of?) Yikes ...


1946 - Prosperity is in the air, World War II has ended and Johnny has come marching home. While he was away, women everywhere MORE than picked up the slack, becoming 'Rosie The Riveteers', among other jobs, did the jobs exceedingly well AND liked the new-found freedom that working (and their own paycheck) provided. So it was a culture clash when the boys came back, not only for them trying to get their jobs back that were now being done (and better, in almost all cases) by the 'girls', but also trying to fit these ladies back into the now-broken 'housewife and mother' mold. How does Madison Avenue respond? By giving women a certifiable sharped-edge RED-HOT IRON as a murder weap ... 'desirable Christmas gift'. Some people never learn.

     1959 - But what about the rich, you ask? Surely they won't be satisfied with just some janky refrigerator or self-killing, self-cleaning iron? Won't somebody think of them? Not to worry: somebody DID, way back in 1926 and continuing to this day. Their name was Neiman Marcus and their 'fantasy books' began then and got more and more extravagant and crazed with the passage of time, continuing to this day. This picture of the 'do-it-yourself-Arbys' is from the 1959 edition, featuring "NM’s first “fantasy gift” ... a prize Black Angus steer served on the hoof, paired with a mahogany and silver roast beef cart." And this is one of the more demure gifts. We've featured them annually in the K.A.C., and this year is no exception. First up is a historical look at their unique gifts over the years, followed by this year's selections. Operators are standing by ...

     Some of us know when to stop while they're ahead, plus we're exhausted from all the shopping choices, so we'll end it here. Come back tomorrow for our 1956 entry.

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