Classic Covers: Black Friday

The tradition of gift giving is as old as Christmas itself. But, like all traditions, it changes over time. In lieu of Black Friday madness, here’s how gift shopping used to work back in the day.

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Christmas commercialization is no modern phenomenon. Put the Post cover artists in charge and the mundane experience of making lists, checking them twice, and scavenging stores to gather holiday bounty becomes a delightful, miserable, and just plain silly occasion.

Christmas Shopper

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Christmas Shopper
Neysa McMein
December 13, 1919


How we envision ourselves while Christmas shopping — calm and fabulous. This stunning self-portrait by Neysa Mc Mein, one of the Post’s more popular female artists, makes the whole event appear effortless. But we know it’s not as simple as waltzing into the nearest department store adorned in your favorite black mink.

Department Store at Christmas

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Department Store at Christmas
John Falter
December 6, 1952


Even 63 years ago the ugly tie was universally recognized as the least desirable Christmas gift. But sometimes, well, that’s the best a person can do.

Lost Child Department

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Lost Child Department
Thornton Utz
December 20, 1958


Black Friday may not have existed back in 1958, but Christmas gifts were still serious business. Shoppers flooded malls from gift finding through gift wrapping stages.

‘Twas the Night Before Christmas

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‘Twas the Night Before Christmas
J.C. Leyendecker
December 26, 1936


Probably not a coincidence, this mom bears an uncanny resemblance to St. Nick. Although J.C. Leyendecker was best known for his stylish illustrations of fashionable people, he occasionally produced comic numbers, such as this colorful depiction of the frantic, last-minute shopper.

White Christmas

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White Christmas
Norman Rockwell
December 25, 1937


“Pops” Fredericks, the model for this illustration, never achieved fame on the stage or big screen. From a hobo, to Santa Claus, his many appearances on Rockwell covers have turned Pops into a crowd favorite here at the Post.

Father Rushing Home with Gifts

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Father Rushing Home with Gifts
J.C. Leyendecker
December 4, 1909


The crazy was felt even in 1909. Take notice of the rocking horse. After being popularized in England during the 1800s, it galloped into factory production. By the time this father ran home with the toy, it had become a staple present in America.

Hiding the Presents

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Hiding the Presents
Richard “Dick” Sargent
December 7, 1957


After the shopping is all said and done, we recommend being extra sneaky about where and when you decide to hide the presents. Kids have a knack for watching their parents with hawk-like eyes during the month of December.

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