Classic Covers: Post-Thanksgiving Shopping

Let the post-Thanksgiving shopping begin! Post cover artists over the decades have shown us how it’s done. And how darn tiring it can be.

The kid is having a meltdown; Dad already has more than he can handle, but Mom has a list and is on a mission! The 1936 cover by artist J.C. Leyendecker has a message: If you see a shopper this determined, get out of the way!

Children and husbands are not the only sufferers. Take the “Santa’s Helper” on Norman Rockwell’s 1947 cover. The poor woman in the toy department is footsore and exhausted. Rockwell did the cover in Chicago in the summer heat. Deciding the scene needed more dolls, he set about shopping, somewhat sheepishly, until he had “forty-eight dollars’ worth”. In 1947 we’re sure this amounted to a mountain of dolls. According to the editors, Rockwell thought “he probably has more dollies than any other kid of fifty-three.”

Crammed full of shoppers and travelers is the December 1944 cover of a Chicago train station also by Rockwell. Santa ringing a bell, servicemen kissing sweethearts – even some poor schmuck squeezing through the crowd with a Christmas tree – ‘tis the season for hectic!

The Lost Child Department (or lost parent department) is shown to us in artist Thornton Utz’s 1958 cover. A dizzying amount of hurly-burly is happening in what the editors dubbed “the Madding Throng Department Store”. A lady in the foreground is hitting hubby up for additional money and a lady in the background is considering some rather wild boxers for her own beloved. Alas, it is the poor lost little urchin that worries us! The editors assure us, however, the parents will show up, and “their distress will lose itself in the reunion—their sweetest Christmas present of the year.”

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