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More Vintage Christmas Ads | Santa and Other Curiosities

Published: December 20, 2013

Santa the Ad Man

More than one child must have been troubled by all these commercial Kringles. Why would Santa Claus appear in so many ads, urging people to buy gifts, when he and his elves were making all the gifts up at the North Pole?

Over the years, they saw Santa promote everything from gasoline to chewing gum, socks, typewriters, electric lights, orange juice, and antacid. Some of the more interesting versions of Santa can be seen in the 1920 ads for Interwoven socks and Kuppenheimer good clothes. They were created by the popular illustrator, and frequent Post cover artist, J.C. Leyendecker.

Here’s one weird-looking Santa from 1911:

1911_12_16--028
 
 

Post cover artist J.C. Leyendecker illustrated this ad.

1921_12_17--063_SP
 
 

You can count on clothing ads to feature quality artwork.

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Another Leyendecker Santa ad.

1922_12_09--106
 
 

Done with Christmas, Santa begins work on his memoirs:

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Santa’s elves, all hard at work making… appliances?

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Whatever happened to flying reindeer?

1940-conoco-oil
 
 

Santa’s only request:

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Still looking for gift ideas? Because everyone needs socks.

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It doesn’t get more Christmas-y than this.

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I guess he’s done with milk.

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Even Santa needs an Alka-Seltzer sometimes.

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Something’s off about this Santa…

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Curious Christmas Ads

In an effort to cash in on Christmas sales, everybody from car manufacturers to tobacco companies to the United States government released Christmas-themed ads. In 1919, The Faultless Rubber Company tried to get in on the Christmas-gift-buying momentum to sell their baby bottles, hot water bottles, and enema bags. The American Chain Company used a Christmas theme to promote their tire chains and automobile jacks. Mueller Faucets selling plumbing fixtures by showing a rooftop Santa listening for dripping faucets in 1926.

Christmas is a time for giving, but it has also long been a time for buying and selling. Enjoy this selection of Christmas ads that have little to do with Christmas.

When I think Christmas, I think ‘rubber goods.’

1919_12_06--126_SP
 
 

Out of gift ideas? How about tire chains?

1924_12_06--132_SP
 
 

Here’s Santa with a sack full of knives.

1924_12_06--160_SP
 
 

Because Santa won’t go in if you have a leaky faucet.

1926_12_04--127
 
 

If you want to go big, you can always give a Buick.

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Is this Santa in space?

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Lacquer: Another classic Christmas gift.

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Who wouldn’t want to receive savings bonds on Christmas?

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From model trains to the real thing.

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Tobacco companies used to issue special holiday cigarette cartons.

1940-chesterfield-skiing
 
 

You can make any ad a Christmas ad by adding a small child with gifts.

1940-fisher-body
 
 

This Christmas ad’s a bit of a stretch.

1941-general-tire
 
 

Nothing says Christmas like ‘Pliofilm’!

1941-pliofilm
 
 

Since so many people travel around Christmas, travel ads are a holiday fixture.

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If dad wants a new Plymouth so bad, maybe he should ask Santa himself.

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As travel became easier, luggage ads became more common.

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