Thursday, June 24, 2010

Why have they given us a door-knocker, Mum?

Thumbing through the Christmas edition of Good Housekeeping for 1954 - or the Christmas 'number' as the publishers quaintly describe it - I chanced upon an article by Julia Coppard, who has some fine suggestions for yuletide gifts.

The author identifies a number of categories of potential recipient, starting with the elderly. Grandmother might want a lorgnette or a 'lacy woolen stole in a gay colour', but you'd be on very safe ground if you gave her a canary in a 'fancy cage of gilt or wicker'. Granddad meanwhile would be delighted to receive some red or yellow 'cad's braces' or a sun-ray lamp.

Having dealt with the older generation, Miss Coppard really starts to get into her stride. Abyssinian kittens for people who live alone. Russian tea glasses for a hostess. Or how about giving a teen-age (sic) boy a subscription to jazz club or a course of lessons in ballroom dancing, if he's 'approaching the social stage'.

Housewives might welcome a weekly char for six months, while a tough little boy could benefit from boxing tuition.

My favourites are the old door-knocker or box of Cox's Orange Pippins for a family. Or maybe the old snuff box for a 'gay young man'.

1954 was certainly another world and there are plenty of other treasures in my bumper festive edition of Good Housekeeping. Naturally, I'll keep WARTE readers posted as I explore further.

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