This post is about Christmas advertising one hundred years ago, in December 1914. However, I could not write this post without touching on the Great War which began on August 4th, 1914 when Britain declared war on Germany. I won't go into the reasons as this post isn't about the war, but I want to say that as Canada deemed its allegiance to the British Crown, Canada automatically put what little might she had behind Britain and began recruiting. After several months, shortages were being felt. Some Canadians thought Christmas should be cancelled and all money and efforts put toward the war effort, but others said life must go on and that they could not give their children a life of fear, as long as the war stayed in Europe. And the British children had a reason to fear as can be seen by this Dec 17, 1914 headliner.
|The Morning Leader (Regina, SK) - Dec 17, 1914|
The following clippings are recipes from Regina, Saskatchewan, and Barrie, Ontario, the latter which includes the reason for making candy at such a time as war.
The costs for sugar and flour were higher, but not by much, and rationing hadn't been implemented yet, so the array of goods available for baking was quite suitable.
The Morning Leader (Regina, SK) - Dec 21, 1914
Stores still carried a full line of toys and books to keep little minds and hands occupied, along with skates and guns for outdoor adventure.
The Morning Leader (Regina, SK) - Dec 21, 1914
The Morning Leader (Regina, SK) - Dec 21, 1914
An interesting find while searching for men's gifts was the wording change from mufflers, as in the Morning Leader ad, to scarfs, as in the Barrie Examiner ad. In my research of the early days on the Canadian prairies, a knitted scarf was always referred to as a muffler, so to see it printed as a scarf in an Ontario newspaper makes me wonder if it was a geographical difference or a change of the times.
Gift ads for her were harder to choose from because although newspapers usually had a plethora of fashion ads for women's wear, December papers seemed to display everything but fashion except for furs. When you look at the other prices, these fur coats seem extravagant although they were the warmest to wear through the prairie winters.
The Morning Leader (Regina, SK) - Dec 12, 1914
Here are some of the things listed as gifts for women in Ontario and Saskatchewan.
|Barrie Examiner, (Barrie, ON), 10 Dec 1914|
No mention of a correlation between the war and shopping was made other than what I mentioned at the start of this post. I believe it may have been a determined effort to give the families, and children in particular, a happy Christmas, due to many of the men volunteering for the Canadian Expeditionary Force and leaving their families alone at Christmas.
What are your thoughts on these Christmas gifts and their cost? Any surprises? Did you see anything you'd like to find under your tree this year?
In celebration of the publication of my short story, Here We Come A-Wassailing, I'm holding a draw with a deadline of 11:59 pm this Sunday, Dec 7th, for a giveaway of one copy of A Cup of Christmas Cheer Vol 3&4. If you want to be entered, leave a comment.
Anita Mae Draper is retired from the Canadian Armed Forces and lives on the prairie of southeast Saskatchewan, Canada with her hubby of 30 plus years and the youngest of their four kids. She writes cowboy stories set in the West, and Edwardian stories set in the East. Anita is blessed to have two short stories in Guideposts Books A Cup of Christmas Cheer collection which includes Here We Come A-Wassailing, published in Volume 4 Heartwarming Tales of Christmas Present, October 2014, and Riding on a Christmas Wish published in Volume 1 Tales of Faith and Family. Anita Mae is represented by Mary Keeley of Books & Such Literary Management. You can find Anita Mae at www.anitamaedraper.com
Very interesting! I was surprised to see gold cufflinks on the list!ReplyDelete
Me too, Connie. Without having researched men's shirts, I always felt that cufflinks were a product of the Big Band era.Delete
By the way... I forgot to announce my book giveaway today, so Connie, you're automatically entered. :)
I love wearing perfume so the perfume looks nice. But a little on the expensive side. The covers of your books are beautiful.ReplyDelete
Hey Danie, I guess the cost of perfume is one of those things that's the same throughout the years and we're always going to have people who are willing to pay for it. I used to wear perfume until I took up golfing and then I quit to keep the bees and other insects away.Delete
Thanks for stopping by. :)
My grandmother made a "fudge" that I have never been able to replicate. Imagine my surprise when I found the recipe in Homemade Candy advert. It's number 3--Maple Cream. I also remember her stuffing dates to put in our Christmas stockings. It all makes sense since she was born in 1888. She was a young woman by 1914.ReplyDelete
Oh, that's wonderful! I'm so glad you found the recipe. I haven't tried these recipes yet, but I've been wondering if it's the same Maple fudge that my mom used to make. I'd like to try a few of these this December when I have my baking stuff out.Delete
I'm working on my husband's genealogy over on my website and his paternal grandmother was born in 1890, and his grandfather 1887, both in Ontario. They're the reason I use the Ontario and Saskatchewan newspapers because upon their marriage, they made a home on the prairies. My post is based on the research I found as they stand together in 1914.
I appreciate your visit today. :)
Read these Cup of Christmas Cheer books and liked your Wassailing story, too. These books will make a great Christmas gift for anyone. I 'd like to find a gift for 95cents! and I'd love to find fudge in my stocking, this year. Thanks for your post. sm wileygreen1(at)yahoo(dot)comReplyDelete
You're right about that, Sharon. The things we buy for a buck at today's Dollar Store is certainly not the same quality as what was sold in 1914. And yes, I'd love some fudge in my stocking too. My mom used to put Christmas oranges, nuts, and hard candy in our stockings every year which is why she layered the inside with plastic when she made them. Sure was hard to clean, though.Delete
Thanks for the thumbs up on my Wassailing story. :)
The prices really surprised me because they are even lower than I imagined for a lot of the items. The recipe for Maple Cream is exactly like I make my Pecan Pralines every year for Christmas gifts. People love them and try to get me to make them during the year, but they are a Christmas only candy for me. My grandmother made a fudge very similar to that listed with the others. Mimi was born in 1886. I've never been able to get mine exactly like hers not could I make her divinity. Thanks for a walk down memory lane.ReplyDelete
Thanks for your comment, Martha. Your Pecan Pralines sound wonderful. I also have recipes that I leave for Christmas alone to keep them special and enhance the holiday feeling. I've never attempted divinity though.Delete
I wonder if Mimi was your grandmother's real name. My aunt is Miriam, but everyone always called her Mimi. Thanks for the visit. :)
Wow, Anita. Your research has provided an invaluable resource for WWI-era writers. The ads are so interesting. I especially love that food choppers and bread makers are "universal needs." But my heart ached reading the Morning Leader headline. How sad. Even almost a hundred years later, it's just so very sad.ReplyDelete
Thank you, Johnnie. Yes, the food choppers and bread makers caught my eye, too, and although they weren't the same as the ones sold today, it still dates the "labor saving devices" earlier than I had guessed.Delete
Yes, I cried as I read that first page of the Morning Leader. So hard to think of people preparing for Christmas and then facing such turmoil while everyone else celebrated...especially the parents who lost their children and vice versa. And to think that a century later, it's still happening. Very sobering.
The stories in the 4 volumes of A Cup of Christmas Cheer are truly heartwarming. Thanks Anita for yours. They make the books that much more special.ReplyDelete
I also read the above articles and clips and will comment on the Maple Cream recipe. Growing up in rural Quebec in the 1940's and 1950's and having our own maple trees and maple syrup, I never realized that maple cream could be made any other way than with real maple syrup and cream!
LOL Sandra, as I read the comments yesterday I thought of my Quebecois cousins and their Sugar Pie and wondered what they would think of the above Maple Cream recipe. So glad you popped in to comment. We'll have to talk some day of your memories. :)ReplyDelete
Thanks for attending my Author Reading and buying the Christmas Cheer books. I'm really glad you enjoyed the stories because your support means a lot to me.
Very interesting! I saw that ivory vanity boxes were .25 and ivory teeth brushes in a case were .50. Amazing. It's hard to imagine war in our home country. With all the wars and killing going on in the world today, it gets depressing.ReplyDelete
Oh dear, KayM, my intention wasn't to depress anyone, but I guess it's hard to avoid it when you can't turn on the news without seeing current world events. And those of us who live without the sounds of guns and bombs are certainly blessed.ReplyDelete
Like you, I'm always amazed at seeing things like ivory for sale when we now know the path it's taken to get to the store. But then, these old newspapers have several ads that I refuse to use because they are distasteful by today's standards.
Thanks for dropping by and sharing, KayM.
Using random.org, I have a winner of my A Cup of Christmas Cheer giveaway!ReplyDelete
And the winner is... Johnnie Alexander!
Congrats, Johnnie. Keep an eye on your inbox. :)