Just a month ago, I ran across a whole paper slip folder of old Christmas magazines at the ELC bazaar and white elephant sale. They ranged in age from the mid to late 1960s to the late 1980s. Talk about a blast from the past! I can remember poring over the Christmas issues of the Good Housekeeping and Better Homes and Gardens magazine searching for patterns and projects to make into presents.
When I was a kid, I made almost all of my Christmas presents: hats, scarves, mittens, slippers, pillows, baby booties, lace, doilies, purses, bookmarks, stuffed animals, snowflake ornaments, and more. The most striking thing about the magazines from the 1960s was that people made decorations, gifts, and ornaments out of junk they had around the house plus felt, glue, sequins, and glitter. They made snowflakes out of plastic berry boxes (Remember those?) and decorated angels with cotton swabs. Ham cans enshrined felt Virgin and Childs. Cotton, twigs, and pinecones became reindeer, and don’t even ask me how they made Santa!
Later, I sold crocheted items to get the money to buy presents. My biggest seller for many years were tiny hat and mitten lapel pins. People hung them on their trees as ornaments, attached them to wrapped presents, and even cut them up to use as Barbie clothes!
Some of the magazines I am keeping and others I will donate to St. Vincent de Paul. A few I will keep because they have great articles on Christmas history and ornament collecting, great recipes, or ideas for food presents to make. (I always try to give the mail carriers something different each year.) Others I value for a few funky crochet items from the 1970s.
One or two I am keeping simply for the ads! They are time capsules. I am a small appliance freak and was fascinated to learn when some of my favorite gadgets first hit the market–shiny and new–as Christmas presents. (The prices are another interesting point about the ads.) It made me realize that my mother’s generation wasn’t the first to go from the equivalent of Odor O No (a very early cream antiperspirant) to the moon shot. They take me back to being a preteen and how it felt to have Christmas approaching, family coming home, stuff to look forward to in ways that I don’t experience as an adult anymore. Begonia