Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Holiday Shopping Guide--Whitman's Samplers

Anybody else grow up thinking a Whitman's Sampler was the height of luxury? Every special occasion called for a big yellow box and everyone in the family had their favorites, and you didn't dare infringe on the individual sampler space(s).

My mother, who is 83, has informed us that all she wants for Christmas this year is, in fact, a Whitman's Sampler. So we will oblige...and hope she insists on sharing!

This, from Time magazine, Dec. 23, 1940:
Just look at the selection of Whitman's chocolates. If you're like me, you've only ever seen the yellow-boxed samplers in stores. And even finding the giant boxes that used to denote the most generous of gifts is difficult.

In my search, I discovered that the old company, Whitman & Son, went through a series of owners and is currently owned by that other famous chocolate boxer-upper, Russell Stover. And while you can't find these:

Chocolate cigarettes! Candy-loaded toys! !!

you can readily find the samplers, although they don't look exactly like this anymore:

But if Whitman's makes you nostalgic, like it does me, check out the Russell Stover Web site. There you can find a few different spins on the sampler, like peanut butter, nut and chewy, along with special boxes, like Peanuts and "the meaning of Christmas." They have a 40 oz sampler! A 9 oz caramel mallows (oooooohhh! aaaaaahhhh!)! Sugar-free samplers! And the neatest, this 100th anniversary sampler in a tin. Unforntunately, that gorgeous tin is sold out... sob...

So for a sweet vintage treat of a gift, how about a Whitman's sampler?

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Holiday Shopping Guide--Wonder-Full Gifts

And no, I don't mean wonderful... I mean things that make you wonder about a gift giver! Here are a couple of ads, from the same 1953 Good Housekeeping. For him and her:

Now these aren't rude gifts, like a scale or a floor sweeper. And they aren't necessarily bad gifts, especially is she loves rolled ice cream and he loves to garden (or vice versa!). It's not even that they are utilitarian, because they are a step up from a spoon or ... I don't know... a non-stainless steel sprayer? I suppose in JUST the right situation, these are appropriate and even quite thoughtful gifts. I just can't imagine what that perfect situation is that would warrant either of these gifts as a Christmas gift, even a host or hostess gift.

I know these are ads, from companies wanting to make sales. It's just their suggestions of their items as "thoughtful" Christmas gifts that just make me scratch my head!

Oh well. It looks like the joke's on me! Both of these companies are still in business and STILL making these SAME products! So if you happen to want an ice cream scoop by Zeroll or a stainless steel sprayer from Hudson, you're in luck! But if I receive either of these, I will wonder about the giver...

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Holiday Shopping Guide--Watch the Time!

Do watch the time... Christmas is only 15 days away!

Here's a lovely gift idea from 1940, Time magazine:

Vintage jewelry is lovely for sure, but a vintage watch, for me, is just so special. There seems to be a kind of connection, maybe because that watch has literally been ticking off the time since it was made. And so many of them still are ticking off the time, as they were made to last...and have!

I've lately been hankering after a ladies watch on the cord band. My  mother had one when I was little, and it disappeared (like so much). They are so jewel like, so dainty, and so evocative of their era.

And by the by, when did we stop putting things like watches in such lovely boxes? That is often my most favorite thing about vintage jewelry of any kind, when the original box is with it. They were just as lovely, often, as the gift inside.

Sigh... so pretty!

Just look at "F" there. And those men's watches are so classy.

Happy hunting!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Holiday Shopping Guide--That Takes the Biscuit

Ah McVitie's.

If you've ever been to the British Isles or know anyone from there, chances are you know this brand of biscuits...HobNobs, Chocolate Digestives, Rich Tea biscuits... yum. In fact, they are so much a part of the culture, Prince William's groom's cake was made out of Rich Tea biscuits and chocolate. What's not to love?

This ad is from November 17, 1949, The Sphere (UK):

The ad is a lovely thing in itself. Let's take a look at the "grand old Christmas customs":


Once upon a time, one bought one's biscuits (or received them as gifts) in beautifully decorated tins. These were so lovely that few of our grandmothers ever threw them out! As such, there are tons of vintage tins out there, biscuit and otherwise, to make lovely gifts.

Or better yet... use a vintage tin as a gift box, put something really extraordinary inside, and wrap a pretty ribbon around it. We vintage types always have uses for old tins, and of course...for what might be inside! (especially biscuits!) So that's a gift in a gift....and if the ribbon is pretty enough... a bonus gift for the hair! Perfection!

So think outside the "box" for putting gifts under the tree, and give your gifts a vintage flair!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Holiday Shopping Guide--Usefulness

Well, I certainly did fall off the blog wagon and went on a non-blogging binge... What with Thanksgiving, houseguests, illness, sheer busy-ness, and a touch of laziness, I haven't been here in a while. But I'm back with gift ideas for those starting to get a little frantic!

So, without further ado:

Now this may seem a bit utilitarian, but I like it. Receving it in 1940 (this ad is from Dec. 2 Time) may not have been terribly exciting, but getting a vintage tape dispenser today is a pretty cool gift. Those suckers were made solid, and most old office equipment is very desirable today. Pens and pencils, in-baskets, filing cabinets, desks, chairs, telephones, stamp dispensers and moisteners, and what have you. Lovely items any vintage lover would appreciate -- and use!

So if someone on your list has a space on his or her desk crying out for a perfect supply, look around for vintage office supplies. You'll find something to fill the bill!

I recently received a great early gift of a voucher for a local antique mall. I thoroughly enjoyed spending a couple of hours trying to spend it all! I came up $14 short, but the mall was kind enough to just give me the difference. I've tucked it away for another trip...and yes, I will find something I love for that amount...or less!

Here's my first haul:

That's a couple of 1940 Life magazines, a lovely little dish that matches one I got from my sweet husband a couple of Christmases ago, a lovely little bottle of Yardley Red Roses perfume in its original box, a fantastic Westclox Big Ben alarm clock that I've had my eye on for the better part of a year, and a simply wonderful Collins box bag that is now the pride of my Collins collection. I had a great time shopping with my voucher and tried to make the most of it. I love my special goodies so much and the day out leisurly shopping was the added bonus.

So how are things going out there? Getting that shopping done? Dropping enough hints to be sure you get what your heart desires? :)