I have a great appreciation for vintage. I love the kitsch and the potential history of an item; thinking about what it would have been like when it was new or how people would have seen it. This extends to all aspects of “vintage” and one thing that really gives me kick is vintage advertising. So, since our beloved Wind at My Back is set in the 1930s, and we are right in the middle of the Holiday Season, I decided to have a look at some vintage Christmas ads from that period. Here are the best ones I found, in no particular order:


1930s christmas ad

First off is this ad for Silverware. The headline of this “advertorial” is what really stands out to me: ‘Mother will never stop thanking us for this gift!”. I have seen what would now be considered vintage Silver and I have to agree it is quite nice, but I’m not sure that this is a gift that I would want to receive. Or that my Mother ever would have. I do understand the appeal though and back in the 1930s I’m sure this would have made a lovely gift! I love the imagery of this ad, the way the little girl is excitedly getting the gift ready with her Father.


Coke Christmas Santa Claus T (1939)

Next is this Coca-Cola ad. I’m not sure when the Coke ads became synonymous with Christmas, but somewhere along the way they did and the image of Santa having a refreshing bottle of Coke is particularly iconic, which is what really stands out to me. I definitely prefer this ad to the ones that we see now!


Third, we have this ad for Sunkist Oranges. From my own studies of history and culture, I know that Oranges were something that you might find in your stocking on Christmas morning and that they were an especial treat. That’s why this ad stands out to me so much; the idea that this is what you might see in a shop or a paper or a magazine on the lead up to Christmas, and that special excitement you might feel at knowing that you may find a Sunkist Orange in your stocking or on the table at Christmas. I like the headline and I love that Santa is delivering the Oranges!


Dorothy Gray – For a lovely lady’s Christmas (1934)

Next we have this ad for Dorothy Gray! It’s the language of this one that really stands out to me: “ The lovely ladies who look so longingly  at Dorothy Gray’s Christmas Array remind one of little girls in candy stores.” And, “ So why don’t you play Santa Claus? Not a too serious Santa. But that gay, understanding fellow we used to know.” Even if I didn’t like pretty things, this ad would catch my attention based on the text. I love what they are implying; when did Santa become too serious? What happened to the Jolly Elf everyone knew and loved? I’ve seen a lot of ads like this for Women’s products and something about them is just very catchy.



Lastly, we have this ad for Lucky Strike. Now, we all know that Smoking is not cool or hip. But back in the 30s this would have been just the thing to catch the customer’s eye. Here is a trendy Santa and he’s smoking Lucky Strike; you want to be like Santa too, right? Because Santa is jolly and cheeky and giving. So obviously if you are going to smoke, Lucky Strike is the brand for you! I always get a kick out of old time cigarette ads, especially the ones from the 20s, 30s and 40s, and this is probably one that if I saw in a vintage shop somewhere now I would want to take home and frame.


Have you ever seen any vintage Christmas ads that have stood out to you?


For more 1930s fun, check out Wind At My Back and other Sullivan movies set in that period!


By Adriana Pacheco, Sullivan Entertainment 

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