Christmas in the 1950s
Television became perhaps the greatest influence during the 1950s, bringing programs such as The Honeymooners and Father Knows Best into living rooms across the nation, first in black and white, and then in color. Rock and roll arrived on the music scene, as did a polio vaccine on the health front. Mr. Potato Head, Frisbees, and Barbie dolls made names for themselves in the toy departments.
Your Christmas Budget in the 1950s
With items such as slide projectors becoming more available, everyone could be treated to pictures of the family vacation!
Slide projector: $43.95
Men’s topcoat: $18.00
Quilted rayon and taffeta robe: $8.95
Pipe and lighter set: $1.94
Television set with “lifesize seventeen-inch screen”: $229.95
Donald Duck xylophone: $2.65
Mickey Mouse train set: $1.59
Musical milk mug: $6.95
In the News in the 1950s
A Message from Independence
“Our hearts are saddened on this Christmas Eve by the suffering and the sacrifice of our brave men and women in Korea. We miss our boys and girls who are out there . . . they are trying to prevent another world war. We pray to the Prince of Peace for their success and safety.”
—President Harry Truman in Independence, Missouri, December 24, 1951
Forsaking the White House tradition of sending formal Christmas cards, President and Mrs. Eisenhower commissioned cards that feature drawings of them in caricature, wearing bright red suits with white trimming and wishing the recipient a merry Christmas. Clearly, observers note, this is a First Couple that does not mind letting down its guard now and then.
If Western civilization dies in a rain of nuclear explosions, it will be written in a later day that the tragedy of our century was the inability of man to apply to the problems of peace the genius that loosed a most fearful Armageddon. “Peace on earth,” the angels sang 2,000 years ago, but peace today is as tremulous as thin fog at dawn along the shore. . . . Today is a day for happiness . . . but we shall end by trading that happiness for horror if we cannot recapture the humility, the simplicity, the understanding, the faith, the affection, and the lack of fear that marked the shepherds who saw His tiny fists wave in the lamplight of a stable at Bethlehem.
—From an editorial in the Providence Journal, December 25, 1957
Christmas Advertising in the 1950s
Hectic Xmas Shopping Give You Gas, Indigestion, “Hurry-Worry Stomach”?
You shop too fast, eat on the run, worry. No wonder your stomach gets upset! But you can now get immediate long-lasting relief—with AMITONE! Only AMITONE contains GLYCINE, that automatically regulates excess stomach acids. Minty tablets melt on your tongue. At drugstores.
—An ad from the early 1950s