Monday, December 17, 2007

Ten best "dowdy world" gifts

In time for holiday shopping, forty or fifty years or so too late:

For herFor him
1. Mink stoleNew set of golf clubs
2. Fountain penFountain pen
3. BlenderElectric shaver
4. Monogrammed hankiesMonogrammed hankies
5. Charm for charm braceletTie
6. Monogrammed stockingsMonogrammed socks
6. StockingsSocks
7. Dusting powderOld Spice
8. RobeRobe
9. Box from Emperor of Japan's houseBowling-ball bag
10. Carton of cigarettesCarton of cigarettes

1. The ultimate gifts, no? And why a new set of golf clubs? Because the recipient is of course already a golfer. A mink stole though would of course be a first.

2. The pen must be practical, a workhorse: a Parker 51 or 61, for instance, not a Mont Blanc. See Norman Rockwell's illustration, which I dare not reproduce here: "They gave each other a Parker 61."

6. Just kidding.

7. All I know about dusting powder: Women used it, and I brought it in as a teacher's present in elementary school.

9. Hommage à The Honeymooners. In the episode "'Twas the Night Before Christmas" (broadcast December 24, 1955), Ralph gets Alice "a box to keep hairpins in," made of "2,000 matches glued together," from "the house of the Emperor of Japan." Or so he was led to believe. Alice gets Ralph a bag for his bowling ball.

10. Cigarettes? Sure. Cartons were familiar holiday presents in the dowdy world. We gave our mailman Lucky Strikes; my grandfather got Camels. Lots of people got Chesterfields.

[Chesterfield Christmas ad, 1938, from Tikigirl at Flickr.]

[No minks were harmed in the making of this post. I have never golfed. Orange Crate Art is a smoke-free zone. Your "dowdy world" gift suggestions are welcome in the comments.]
Related reading
All "dowdy world" posts (via Pinboard)

Related viewing, from YouTube
Kent satisfies best at Christmas (Dick Van Dyke and Rose Marie)
This Christmas, make it "Camel time"

comments: 5

Elaine Fine said...

What? No fruitcake?

Anonymous said...

A set of encyclopedia for the kids.

Anonymous said...

A Lanz flannel nightie for her and some pipe tobacco for him.

Genevieve Netz said...

I still have my grandma's beautiful mink stole from the late 50s or early 60s. Her initials are monogrammed on the satin lining.

Michael Leddy said...

Thanks, Elaine and Anon., for more gift suggestions. Genevieve, what a great link to your family's past you have.