Gallery: Christmas Ads You’ll Never See Again

Flash back to a simpler time when marketers presented a world in which dads and little boys care only for having fun, moms want nothing more than a clean house, and Santa is smokin’!

Woman happy that she got a iron for Christmas in this magazine ad

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Big Boys, Little Boys — They’re All the Same!

In mid-century America, men (supposedly) ruled the roost but were frequently portrayed in ads as juvenile, no different from the pint-sized gunslingers at below.

Magazine ad of two grown men playing cowboy and indians
Textron Menswear, December 11, 1948 (Click to Enlarge)


Two young boys wearing cowboy hats with their pjs on Christmas morning
Sears, December 1, 1956 (Click to Enlarge)

The Facts of Wife

Ideal gifts for the high priestess of home and earth? Why, more cherished tools of her trade — vacuums, dishwashers, refrigerators — of course!

Woman working in the kitchen while her family enjoys television in the den.
Hotpoint, December 2, 1950 (Click to Enlarge)


Woman being excited for a vacuum she got for Christmas
Premier, December 2, 1939 (Click to Enlarge)


Woman happy that she got a iron for Christmas in this magazine ad
Proctor, December 7, 1946. (Click to Enlarge)


Little girl excited to get a toy refrigerator
Electrolux, December 5, 1931 (Click to Enlarge)


Family happy that mom got a fridge for Christmas in this magazine ad
Frigidaire, December 5, 1936. (Click to Enlarge)

Where There’s Smoke …

Some of us recall making ashtrays for Dad and Mom when the world was a whole lot smokier, but who knew that Jack Benny and Santa himself were in on the action!

Jack Benny smoking cigarettes in this magazine ad
Lucky Strikes, December 6, 1958 (Click to Enlarge)


Santa Claus smokes cigarettes in this ad
Lucky Strikes, December 14, 1935 (Click to Enlarge)


Wife is shocked that her G.I. husband got her cigarettes for Christmas
Old Gold, December 16, 1944 (Click to Enlarge)


Santa Claus holding a package of Camel cigarettes
Camel Cigarettes, December 15, 1951. (Click to Enlarge)


Santa Claus selling tobacco products in this magazine ad
Camel Cigarettes and Prince Albert chewing tobacco, December 6, 1947. (Click to Enlarge)

This article is featured in the November/December 2020 issue of The Saturday Evening Post. Subscribe to the magazine for more art, inspiring stories, fiction, humor, and features from our archives.

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  1. I remember buying Christmas themed cartons of Winstons, RawLeigh’s and other cigarettes for my granddaddy and dad.

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