A look at the ghosts of Christmases past
By: Jeremy D. Wells
Carter County Times
Spirits were on the minds of folks following Christmas 1917, but not the kind found in a Charles Dickens novel. Instead the spectre of impending Prohibition – still two years away – was on the minds of the Carter County Herald staff, who were openly on the side of the “dries” in the wet/dry debate gripping the state and the country. Specifically, they were thankful for a quiet and sober holiday season and hoped for more of the calm in the new year.
The wet/dry argument is one that would resurface again and again in election coverage and the lead-ups to state and national prohibition efforts, as we have seen in other Uncle Jack installments. But when the holiday season hits, then as now, folks first thoughts went to gift giving – often skipping straight over preparations for Thanksgiving to start planning what they were going to get for their kids and loved ones. Or at least, that’s what the advertisements might lead you to believe.
While of course a lot has changed over the last 100 years, you can see patterns to the advertisements that you’d likely recognize from seasonal ads today. For mom it was home items; home décor, furniture, kitchen implements, and the like. For dad it was tools, hardware, and things to help with work around the home or the farm. And for kids, it was toys, with J.E. Wallace & Company advertising that they had, “one of the largest and best assortments of toys ever shown in this city.”
Eat your heart out FAO Schwarz.
Of course our favorite advertisement was the one from the Herald, suggesting that you give the gift that keeps on giving all year long – a subscription to the newspaper.
Who can argue with logic like that?
Editor’s Note: This is the 19th in a series of articles drawn from the historical newspaper clippings in the scrapbooks of Jack Fultz. We thank Sally James of Sally’s Flowers in Olive Hill for sharing her uncle’s collected clippings with us and the community. – Jeremy D. Wells, editor, Carter County Times