Oh sure, there are lots of people giving you New Years greetings online with pretty little New Years pictures, but how many people with serious head colds are giving you dancing cats from 1908? Yeah, that's what I thought.

Click on either image to see them larger.


Last minute GIFTS!

Still have a few people to buy for? Can't come up with the perfect gift? Well...I like to be useful, sooooooo...put the kids to work making stuff from cornstarch and food coloring. Let their imaginations run wild. Then wrap up whatever they are and hand them out as people stop by to visit. I promise they won't come back next year.


DON'T FORGET the Napkins!

Apparently Santa is pretty picky about his napkins. I'm mentioning this so you can rush out to get the right napkins for the milk and cookies, or chablis and cheese, or ze pigs in ze blanket, or Svedish meatballs. Remember, presentation is everything. And ummmm...if that's a bowl of eggnog you might want to leave out a cup for the old guy. The idea of him having to pick that up and chug-a-lug is just unpleasant. Now, if that's not eggnog...whatever it is, don't put it out!

(SOURCE: Sunset, December 1968)



I didn't want you fretting over getting the plastic bag poodle, so I'm giving you other options. All of these come from the Better Homes & Gardens Christmas Ideas 1974 magazine. There's some mighty fine ummmm...well...junk to choose from.

Who wouldn't want to crack alligator nuts?

Yeah, scare the heck out of your favorite kid by sticking Jimy-Jim on their wall. I wonder if it glowed in the dark. Now that would be cool!

This item might have actually worked, but I included it because, well, it's just so doggone odd looking. It takes industrial design to a new level.

I remember these little figures. I hated these little figures. I STILL hate these little annoying figures. And don't get me started on "Love is...."

Pity the home that has one of these.

And just why? WHY? WHY would you send this to anyone?

And simply...a classic.



Still racking your brain for that PERFECT gift? You've come to the right place. Seriously, I doubt there is another place online that gives you three cookie recipes AND PIERRE THE POODLE made from plastic bags. As usual, you get your money's worth here. I will however tell you that I have not made any of these items. I know, you're stunned to think I'd offer up something without first doing extensive testing. You're on your own!

(SOURCE: Beter Homes & Gardens Christmas Ideas for 1963)



Want to wow that youngster anxiously waiting by the tree? Give them something they'll never forget! Their own transistor radio! Yes, this will keep the little critter's fingers poppin' while they spin the dial listening to all the crazy hits from the top 40! Good times! Good times!

Okay, so the kid would actually give you a look of disgust if they even looked at you at all. They want an iPod or an iPhone. They don't want to listen to random radio stations. They want something they can program themselves so they only listen to the music they want to hear, not programming put together by some corporate media gorilla in a far off city that's actually into some serious payola. Still...

I have fond memories of my various transistor radios and still have one I keep on the nightstand. For years, especially during the British invasion, my folks used to say I would need to have it surgically removed from my head. If one channel wasn't playing what I wanted to hear I'd quickly tune to the other. In my day in the San Francisco Bay Area it was KEWB and KYA. It would be several years before I needed a radio that picked up FM so I could hear KMPX or KSAN thanks to radio legend Tom Donahue. Yeah, good times. Good times.

Oh well, I still like the look of these old radios.

Click on image to see it larger. (SOURCE: Better Homes & Gardens Christmas Ideas, 1957)



Looking for stocking stuffers? Made a list? Checking it twice? Still not finding the perfect gifts for those relatives you only have to see once or twice a year?

Are you looking for something to give that nasty little nephew who purposely broke your Fiestaware pitcher at the summer BBQ? How about giving him pencils with his name misspelled. Just an idea.

Or how about something for that cranky old uncle who never has a nice thing to say to you, but goes on and on about how great his grandchildren are. When he's not looking give his sweet little babyboo a Talented Toy Dog, but make sure the thing never turns off.

And for the sister-in-law who thinks she knows everything there is to know about decorating because she once subscribed to "Table Runners Around the World"...the Last Supper Plaque.

And for your favorite brother...how about a bottle of whiskey hidden in the Scotch-Oven?

All of these items are readily available, providing you have a time machine to 1957.

(SOURCE: Better Homes & Gardens Christmas Ideas, 1957)


Gettin' a Little CHRISTMAS CRAFTY!

Okay Christmas crafters, I'm rollin' out the big guns now! Are you crafty enough to handle it? We're talkin' BH&G in 1957!! Read 'em and weep!!!

I could go on, but I'm gettin' tired of typin' exclamation points!!!!

Fifty 4" foil plates? Uhhhh...no.

(SOURCE: Better Homes & Gardens Christmas Ideas, 1957)



I lived outside Washington D.C. for a few years as a child and for two of those years my family went to Tupper Lake in the Adirondack's for our summer vacations. The best part of those trips was our visit to Santa's Workshop at the North Pole in New York state. I'm telling you I saw Santa. I saw the REAL SANTA and nobody could tell me otherwise.

I have old movie footage of myself waiting in line to meet Santa and then sitting on his lap. I never wanted to leave and my folks had a hard time dragging me away to go look at the rest of the park. I was in awe of the man. For many years when other kids would tell me that Santa was not...well you know...I would say they were wrong because I'd met him at his summer home.

The second year we took our neighbors along on vacation and I have slides of all of the kids touching the North Pole as reindeer wander around us. It was a perfectly joyous place to be and I'm glad to see it still exists and in much the same way as I remember it. It turns out that it is the oldest theme park in the U.S.

One of the years following our visit Santa sent me a postcard of his sleigh. I cherished that card for years, but it got lost along the way. Fortunately I have this set of View-Master reels. Here are a few of the images from one of the reels.

Am I right or am I right? This guy IS SANTA!

Do you have memories of the perfect Santa?

If you're in the North Pole area and have some wee ones with you why not make a stop to see the place. The bairn will remember it for years to come. Here is their website.



I'll admit that Christmas is very difficult for me. For a very long time it was my favorite time of year, but  when my mother died two days before Christmas it changed everything forever. Now I have to try a little harder to find Christmas.

Looking through an old magazine my mother owned can slowly take me a few steps back in time. The following vintage magazine ad is from the 1957 Better Homes & Gardens Christmas Ideas magazine. I have several years of Christmas craft magazines that my mother kept and throughout each year as a child I used to enjoy looking through them, anticipating the Christmas to come.

A View-Master is no longer a toy kids long for. I still have my View-Master and a box of reels. I still get a kick out of looking at them, but then I can be easily pleased. With a View-Master you step into a quiet little world that only you can see; you don't need to share it with anybody else. And surprise, no batteries needed.

I think I might just need to get out my Santa's Village reels and take a trip back in time.

Do you have memories of a View-Master?

Click on image to see it larger.



I had been planning on running this vintage magazine ad for a Sam Cooke album, but when I saw the above offer on Amazon I knew it was important to run it NOW. I don't know how long Amazon is going to have this album at this price, but for $2.99 it's a steal for Sam Cooke fans. You can click on the image or title to see the offer. 

UPDATE: This special price is no longer available.

On December 11th it will be 48 years since Sam Cooke's death. He was part of the soundtrack of my youth.

Click on image to see it larger. (SOURCE: Teen, March, 1964)



Consider me that little whisper in your ear that tells you, "Go ahead, eat all you want this holiday season! Eat I tell you! EAT! It will just melt away after December 31st."

And here I am to offer you ways to make the fat just melt away while playing leap frog or roll and stretch while encased in vinyl. Yes, you can feel how great it is to wear vinyl for a short period of time or wear it all day! It's all up to you!

Click on any image to see it larger.

(SOURCE: All images from Mademoiselle, November 1970)

Also perfect for Christmess gifts!

Just think of how fabulous you'll feel in your Fredrick's of Hollywood vinyl playsuit! Wear it under your suit to work! Wear it on that special first date! Wear it and watch the water pool up around your thighs and hope the elastic barrier holds it back! And remember...IT'S NO-BREATH VINYL!

So practice your leap frogging now and then buy all this junk and wear it at the same time for hours and hours and you'll just watch yourself fade away!



I have published a new book of images called Tattered and Lost: Telling StoriesUnusual, with a twist, I think you'll find they are perfect for pondering on a cold winters night. Settle down with these images from long ago and let your imagination run wild. 

Click on the image in the left column to find out more!

Also, from Tattered and Lost is a new edition of Tattered and Lost: Childhood. Available at CreateSpace and Amazon, it includes many more photos than the previous Blurb edition in a larger trim size.

Click on the image in the left column to find out more!



(SOURCE: Mademoiselle, November, 1970)

To find out more about the Red Cross.