Oh sure, there are lots of people giving you New Years greetings online with pretty little New Years pictures, but how many people with serious head colds are giving you dancing cats from 1908? Yeah, that's what I thought.

Click on either image to see them larger.


Last minute GIFTS!

Still have a few people to buy for? Can't come up with the perfect gift? Well...I like to be useful, sooooooo...put the kids to work making stuff from cornstarch and food coloring. Let their imaginations run wild. Then wrap up whatever they are and hand them out as people stop by to visit. I promise they won't come back next year.


DON'T FORGET the Napkins!

Apparently Santa is pretty picky about his napkins. I'm mentioning this so you can rush out to get the right napkins for the milk and cookies, or chablis and cheese, or ze pigs in ze blanket, or Svedish meatballs. Remember, presentation is everything. And ummmm...if that's a bowl of eggnog you might want to leave out a cup for the old guy. The idea of him having to pick that up and chug-a-lug is just unpleasant. Now, if that's not eggnog...whatever it is, don't put it out!

(SOURCE: Sunset, December 1968)



I didn't want you fretting over getting the plastic bag poodle, so I'm giving you other options. All of these come from the Better Homes & Gardens Christmas Ideas 1974 magazine. There's some mighty fine ummmm...well...junk to choose from.

Who wouldn't want to crack alligator nuts?

Yeah, scare the heck out of your favorite kid by sticking Jimy-Jim on their wall. I wonder if it glowed in the dark. Now that would be cool!

This item might have actually worked, but I included it because, well, it's just so doggone odd looking. It takes industrial design to a new level.

I remember these little figures. I hated these little figures. I STILL hate these little annoying figures. And don't get me started on "Love is...."

Pity the home that has one of these.

And just why? WHY? WHY would you send this to anyone?

And simply...a classic.



Still racking your brain for that PERFECT gift? You've come to the right place. Seriously, I doubt there is another place online that gives you three cookie recipes AND PIERRE THE POODLE made from plastic bags. As usual, you get your money's worth here. I will however tell you that I have not made any of these items. I know, you're stunned to think I'd offer up something without first doing extensive testing. You're on your own!

(SOURCE: Beter Homes & Gardens Christmas Ideas for 1963)



Want to wow that youngster anxiously waiting by the tree? Give them something they'll never forget! Their own transistor radio! Yes, this will keep the little critter's fingers poppin' while they spin the dial listening to all the crazy hits from the top 40! Good times! Good times!

Okay, so the kid would actually give you a look of disgust if they even looked at you at all. They want an iPod or an iPhone. They don't want to listen to random radio stations. They want something they can program themselves so they only listen to the music they want to hear, not programming put together by some corporate media gorilla in a far off city that's actually into some serious payola. Still...

I have fond memories of my various transistor radios and still have one I keep on the nightstand. For years, especially during the British invasion, my folks used to say I would need to have it surgically removed from my head. If one channel wasn't playing what I wanted to hear I'd quickly tune to the other. In my day in the San Francisco Bay Area it was KEWB and KYA. It would be several years before I needed a radio that picked up FM so I could hear KMPX or KSAN thanks to radio legend Tom Donahue. Yeah, good times. Good times.

Oh well, I still like the look of these old radios.

Click on image to see it larger. (SOURCE: Better Homes & Gardens Christmas Ideas, 1957)



Looking for stocking stuffers? Made a list? Checking it twice? Still not finding the perfect gifts for those relatives you only have to see once or twice a year?

Are you looking for something to give that nasty little nephew who purposely broke your Fiestaware pitcher at the summer BBQ? How about giving him pencils with his name misspelled. Just an idea.

Or how about something for that cranky old uncle who never has a nice thing to say to you, but goes on and on about how great his grandchildren are. When he's not looking give his sweet little babyboo a Talented Toy Dog, but make sure the thing never turns off.

And for the sister-in-law who thinks she knows everything there is to know about decorating because she once subscribed to "Table Runners Around the World"...the Last Supper Plaque.

And for your favorite brother...how about a bottle of whiskey hidden in the Scotch-Oven?

All of these items are readily available, providing you have a time machine to 1957.

(SOURCE: Better Homes & Gardens Christmas Ideas, 1957)


Gettin' a Little CHRISTMAS CRAFTY!

Okay Christmas crafters, I'm rollin' out the big guns now! Are you crafty enough to handle it? We're talkin' BH&G in 1957!! Read 'em and weep!!!

I could go on, but I'm gettin' tired of typin' exclamation points!!!!

Fifty 4" foil plates? Uhhhh...no.

(SOURCE: Better Homes & Gardens Christmas Ideas, 1957)



I lived outside Washington D.C. for a few years as a child and for two of those years my family went to Tupper Lake in the Adirondack's for our summer vacations. The best part of those trips was our visit to Santa's Workshop at the North Pole in New York state. I'm telling you I saw Santa. I saw the REAL SANTA and nobody could tell me otherwise.

I have old movie footage of myself waiting in line to meet Santa and then sitting on his lap. I never wanted to leave and my folks had a hard time dragging me away to go look at the rest of the park. I was in awe of the man. For many years when other kids would tell me that Santa was not...well you know...I would say they were wrong because I'd met him at his summer home.

The second year we took our neighbors along on vacation and I have slides of all of the kids touching the North Pole as reindeer wander around us. It was a perfectly joyous place to be and I'm glad to see it still exists and in much the same way as I remember it. It turns out that it is the oldest theme park in the U.S.

One of the years following our visit Santa sent me a postcard of his sleigh. I cherished that card for years, but it got lost along the way. Fortunately I have this set of View-Master reels. Here are a few of the images from one of the reels.

Am I right or am I right? This guy IS SANTA!

Do you have memories of the perfect Santa?

If you're in the North Pole area and have some wee ones with you why not make a stop to see the place. The bairn will remember it for years to come. Here is their website.



I'll admit that Christmas is very difficult for me. For a very long time it was my favorite time of year, but  when my mother died two days before Christmas it changed everything forever. Now I have to try a little harder to find Christmas.

Looking through an old magazine my mother owned can slowly take me a few steps back in time. The following vintage magazine ad is from the 1957 Better Homes & Gardens Christmas Ideas magazine. I have several years of Christmas craft magazines that my mother kept and throughout each year as a child I used to enjoy looking through them, anticipating the Christmas to come.

A View-Master is no longer a toy kids long for. I still have my View-Master and a box of reels. I still get a kick out of looking at them, but then I can be easily pleased. With a View-Master you step into a quiet little world that only you can see; you don't need to share it with anybody else. And surprise, no batteries needed.

I think I might just need to get out my Santa's Village reels and take a trip back in time.

Do you have memories of a View-Master?

Click on image to see it larger.



I had been planning on running this vintage magazine ad for a Sam Cooke album, but when I saw the above offer on Amazon I knew it was important to run it NOW. I don't know how long Amazon is going to have this album at this price, but for $2.99 it's a steal for Sam Cooke fans. You can click on the image or title to see the offer. 

UPDATE: This special price is no longer available.

On December 11th it will be 48 years since Sam Cooke's death. He was part of the soundtrack of my youth.

Click on image to see it larger. (SOURCE: Teen, March, 1964)



Consider me that little whisper in your ear that tells you, "Go ahead, eat all you want this holiday season! Eat I tell you! EAT! It will just melt away after December 31st."

And here I am to offer you ways to make the fat just melt away while playing leap frog or roll and stretch while encased in vinyl. Yes, you can feel how great it is to wear vinyl for a short period of time or wear it all day! It's all up to you!

Click on any image to see it larger.

(SOURCE: All images from Mademoiselle, November 1970)

Also perfect for Christmess gifts!

Just think of how fabulous you'll feel in your Fredrick's of Hollywood vinyl playsuit! Wear it under your suit to work! Wear it on that special first date! Wear it and watch the water pool up around your thighs and hope the elastic barrier holds it back! And remember...IT'S NO-BREATH VINYL!

So practice your leap frogging now and then buy all this junk and wear it at the same time for hours and hours and you'll just watch yourself fade away!



I have published a new book of images called Tattered and Lost: Telling StoriesUnusual, with a twist, I think you'll find they are perfect for pondering on a cold winters night. Settle down with these images from long ago and let your imagination run wild. 

Click on the image in the left column to find out more!

Also, from Tattered and Lost is a new edition of Tattered and Lost: Childhood. Available at CreateSpace and Amazon, it includes many more photos than the previous Blurb edition in a larger trim size.

Click on the image in the left column to find out more!



(SOURCE: Mademoiselle, November, 1970)

To find out more about the Red Cross.



Short on cash this year, but still want to give a gift that will be memorable? Your family member will be able to express themselves...WITHOUT PAIN! 50 cents! Only 50 CENTS! They'll talk about your (cheap) gift for months to come, especially if you misspell their name.

(SOURCE: TEEN, May, 1966)

And now you're asking yourself, "Why didn't I think of this? I'd be rolling in cash!"



This Christmas make sure you buy your loved ones something to wear made from Dacron. Why? Because…
Dacron (dāˈkrŏn, dăkˈrŏn) [key], trademark for a polyester fiber. Dacron is a condensation polymer obtained from ethylene glycol and terephthalic acid. Its properties include high tensile strength, high resistance to stretching, both wet and dry, and good resistance to degradation by chemical bleaches and to abrasion. The continuous filament yarn is used in curtains, dress fabrics, high-pressure fire hoses, men's shirts, and thread. The staple fiber is ideal for mixing with wool in men's and women's suits, as well as in dress fabrics, knitted wear, and washable woven sportswear. (SOURCE: Infoplease)
It doesn’t wrinkle when it’s shipped from China. It resists stains so you need not worry about the wine you spill on your crazy relatives at the holiday dinner. It doesn’t breath because it was never alive. But ummmm…it’s interesting to see American Airlines used in an ad for Dacron. If you don’t know it by now, don’t wear polyester blends when flying. Wear natural fibers. Why? If that sucker goes down natural fibers will not melt onto your skin.

(SOURCE: Teen, May, 1966)

But hey, if you feel like a princess in orange or sun gold polyester for only 12 bucks...go for it!



 If you talk down to your target audience, inferring they're stupid, does your audience get it?

This comic is from an old Teen from the mid-1960s. In order for there to be humor a teenage girl would have had to recognize that someone is stupid. I'm guessing it was hoped that the reader would not identify themselves as the target, but would instead think, "Oh yeah, Margie is just like that!"

So why would editorial think this was funny? Am I reading too much into this? Hey, it's late and my net access has been out all day.



During the coming month I'll be offering creative gift ideas. They come with a warning: If you know anybody who would want any of these items...for cryin' out loud get them off your gift list! However, there is one caveat...these items are perfect secret Santa gifts, but try not to laugh too hard when they open it or the jig is up.

(SOURCE: Oh heck I don't remember. Some stupid Teen magazine from the '60s, as if that weren't obvious.)

WARNING: This blog is not responsible for any undo retching caused by the idea of going to Fruggyville. Dig it? I know you do.



In February 1967 airline hostess Judy Neumann received the honor of being called a Breck Girl. Very pretty lady, but again all of the Breck girls start to look alike. Luckily for Judy, there doesn't doesn't seem to be any information about her online. If they ran ads like this today she'd have her own FB page and be marketing herself all over the place.

(SOURCE: Teen, February 1967)

I long for the days when people didn't become famous just for having a huge ego. Judy Neumann had just the right about of fame, a lovely portrait, which I hope the Breck company gave her.


GENTLY GUIDING a woman to a career

I know younger women don't fully grasp the way it used to be, that their options were limited, but when you came of age the number one career choice was always supposed to be wife and mother. If you didn't want to quickly go down that path you had a few other options: secretary, nurse, stewardess, teacher, fashion. Those were the career paths you were to choose from. You'd then neatly fit in the box that society had created for you. For those of us who did not follow those suggestions we faced a lot of head shaking and at times ignorant pity. You had to learn to shrug it off and follow the path you wanted. These days there are virtually no paths blocked for women. If you're passionate about it, go for it.

Now, I don't look at women's magazines, or specifically magazines for teens, anymore so I don't know what is advertised in the back pages where the ads are cheapest.

In the November 1970 Mademoiselle they were still pushing you towards the big 6 (marriage, secretary, nurse, stewardess, teacher, fashion) even though the world was rapidly changing for women.

There's absolutely nothing wrong with any of these career choices. What was wrong was believing that these were the only choices. I saw it happen to a friend who longed to go to college, but was informed by her father that only sons went to college. Her dreams were stifled before she had a chance to make choices. She became a secretary. Another wanted to be a doctor but was told by her father that girls weren't doctors. She became a nurse. One was happy with her choice, the other wasn't.

This isn't to say that young men weren't also corraled into jobs for a variety of reasons; it's just that the doors weren't shut before they even stood in front of them.