The Perfect Christmas Gift: 9 Ideas from Decades Past

Buying the perfect Christmas gift seems to get harder and harder each year. What do you get for the person who has everything or the hard-to-please family member? Why not take inspiration from the ‘perfect Christmas gifts’ of the past, featured in some of our UK newspapers.

Perfect Christmas gifts of the past

We’ve all been on the receiving end of a pair of slippers at Christmas. The Alderley and Wilmslow Advertiser may divide opinions with its December 1920 advertisement. We, however, would love a new pair to keep our feet warm during the hours spent browsing historical newspapers. Brrrrrrrr.

17 Dec 1920, Fri Wilmslow and Alderley and Knutsford Advertiser (Alderley Edge, Cheshire, England)

What do you get for your teenage nephew now taking an interest in his appearance, hogging the bathroom mirror? This was the perfect Christmas gift in 1952 for keeping his hair styled to perfection.

07 Dec 1952, Sun Sunday Mirror (London, London, England)

Bookseller and stationer Gilbert G. Walmsley didn’t hold back in his December 1924 advert in the Liverpool Daily Post. ‘There is no doubt a ‘Swan’ Pen solves the Christmas problem. Its beauty and usefulness appeal to all tastes.’ They would still make a lovely stocking filler.

04 Dec 1924, Thu Liverpool Daily Post (Liverpool, Merseyside, England)

Midland Electric Co. made a bold statement in 1952. There’s nothing better than a gift that reminds you of your mounting chores. We can picture the scene: ‘Wow, is that big present under the tree for me? Surely you didn’t get me the set of golf clubs…’

19 Dec 1952, Fri Leicester Mercury (Leicester, Leicestershire, England)

What to get the music lover in your family? We’ve all seen the face of a relative who loves heavy metal receive, with good intentions, the latest boy band’s new album. In 1917, every owner of His Master’s Voice gramophone had the choice of ‘all that is best in British Music’. No need for a receipt.

13 Dec 1917, Thu Evening Chronicle (Newcastle upon Tyne, Tyne and Wear, England)

For the book lovers of 1899, who wouldn’t want the ‘most popular book ever produced by human ingenuity’? Going hard on sales, the publication demanded a whole page spread in The Standard. A little bit of light bedtime reading, anyone?

15 Dec 1899, Fri The Standard (London, Greater London, England)

There’s so much to choose from when it comes to children’s presents, from the latest trends to the hottest toys on the market. What, then, was the perfect Christmas gift for children in days gone by?

In 1993, BBC English produced the perfect Christmas gift for children in the form of the ‘Rockin’ Rhymes’ CD. We are beyond intrigued about ‘Heavy Metal Humpty Dumpty’. Happy learning, kids.

05 Dec 1993, Sun Sunday Telegraph (London, Greater London, England)

The Harrow Observer raised the excitement levels in 1936 with the ideal Christmas present for children. Forget the novelty piggy bank to store your hard-earned pocket money, it’s the recording home safe, making every child’s dream come true on Christmas morning.

11 Dec 1936, Fri Harrow Observer (Harrow, London, England)

Surely, our pets deserve to share in the Christmas cheer, too? In 1913, The Daily Mirror featured a selection of gifts that would ‘call forth barks and mews of gratitude’. What a beautifully ornate plate for Rex to eat his dinner off of. He’s not getting any of my turkey, not after last year…

23 Dec 1913, Tue Daily Mirror (London, London, England)

Perhaps this has given you some inspiration for any last-minute Christmas shopping in search of that elusive ‘perfect Christmas gift’.

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