Cyber Monday helped U.S. retailers in an otherwise down year. A click of a mouse can give you same-day gift delivery. We live in a world of convenience and instant gratification.
The holiday shopping season took on a different form decades ago.
Let’s turn back the clock seven decades. It’s December 1949. Gene Autry’s “Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer” debuted that year. Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas” was still a popular tune seven years after it hit the airwaves.
The ghosts of holiday shopping past are preserved in archived editions of Wayzata-based newspaper The Minnetonka Herald.
Its pages in early December of 1949 were filled with holiday sales advertisements.
Two major themes emerged from the black and white pages: 1.) Shop Local and 2.) Plan Ahead.
The Louise Shop promoted a variety of clothing for women and a late closing time of 9 p.m.on Fridays.
The Foursome, still going strong today, featured clothing but also offered “the Finest Toys we’ve seen since pre-war days”. The toys included a train set and a hospital set for a Jr. Doctor or Nurse.
Modern day smartphones might be the equivalent to what the Wayzata Pharmacy was showcasing 70 years ago. It sold Brownie Cameras for $2.75 and 8-mm Movie Cameras for $147. 50 ($1,500 in today’s dollars).
Rettinger Motors’ was promoting the new 1950 Fords. And for your current vehicle, Dickey and Milbert was selling signal lights for $12.50 completely installed. Yes, there were cars on the road back then without blinkers.
Need a tree? August Frick was selling “Top Quality Fresh Cut Spruce, Western and Native Balsam”.
And what would the holidays be without food and drink.
A Sween Bros. Dairy Farms ad promoted “Toast the season with Egg Nog”. Vodegal’s Supervalu was selling fruit baskets for $4.95 and Wayzata Food Store offered order forms for your Christmas turkey. “We’ll bake them but please order early” – stated an Olsen’s Bakery holiday pastries advertisement.
Your holiday dinners will be a hit as long as you plan well in advance. You get the picture. Back then you could take care of all your holiday shopping within your own community.
Shopping local was the norm, not the exception.
You might expect that the last newspaper edition before Christmas (December 22, 1949) would be filled with advertisements for last-minute deals. Nope.
Instead, businesses took out ads thanking their customers and wishing them a festive holiday and a happy New Year.
A lot has changed through the years, but you can still support your community the old fashioned way by shopping local.