A Plea for Conscientious Gift-Giving

In 1905, Post editors offered some general guidance for choosing meaningful gifts that still rings true more than a century later.

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The madness of Black Friday has become so ingrained in American culture that it can be difficult to imagine a time before it. However, in 1905, the Post’s editors felt compelled to let readers know that the weekend after Thanksgiving would be a good time to start shopping for Christmas gifts “in calmness and deliberation, without recklessness, without hysteria.”

The editors also offered some general guidance for choosing meaningful gifts that still rings true more than a century later.

An editorial clipping from The Saturday Evening Post, that reads: "Now is the time to buy your Christmas gifts. Don't leave it until the last minute; don't wait until prices have soared, and the stocks have been picked over, and shoppers tand a dozen deep before the counters. Buy now, in calmness and deliberation, without recklessness, without hysteria. Don't buy trashy ornaments. Don't send the stuff that makes the recipient say: "What a waste of money!" Buy things that are of use — of use to the person who is to get them. Don't buy expensive presents. No proper-minded person likes to receive an expensive present, one he knows the give could not well afford; and it goes without saying that no one likes to give a present he couldn't afford. Above all, let the present show that you have really thought about the person you are giving it to — have thought about his or her tastes and wants."
The editorial as it appeared on December 2, 1905




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  1. What three paragraphs have ever been written that make more beautiful sense concerning the most important aspects of gift giving advice?

    This editorial is onc that most Americans today would scoff at and ridicule as being so hopelessly old fashioned and out of date, out of touch, as to have no meaning at all.

    How sad it is that the day after Thanksgiving is nothing BUT shoppers standing in deep dozens before the counters in a reckless hysteria, often buying trashy gifts for recipients who’ll want to return them OR “re-gift” them to someone else. Lack of core values and common sense today, combined with unprecedented corporate greed have created the most terrible/stressful/ugly time of the year. The very name “Black Friday” has an ominous grotesqueness to it that’s really disturbing.


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