For reasons I don’t quite get myself, I’m drawn to images of Christmas from earlier decades. And, Christmas being such a commercial enterprise, I guess it makes sense that holiday-themed ads would grab my interest as well as any other image.
Maybe it’s because they capture some twisted idea of celebrating the holiday spirit in my mind, but most of the ads I’ve collected are all about booze and smoking. A couple just seemed lovely examples of mid-century graphic design.
And anything that tugs on heartstrings tuned to the frequency of wartime America gets me every time. I’m sure this will disappoint most of my friends but, despite the horror of warfare and killing (and the greedy interests that are eager to profit from the warfare and killing), there’s something about the second World War and its popular belief in a unity of purpose that still hints at people’s better natures. All that business about the families at home working hard to support the young men and women abroad — a mythology carefully crafted and disseminated through the popular culture of the period — always forms a lump in my throat.
So there you have it. Without anything more interesting to say about them, here is a small collection of holiday advertising images from decades past.