One hundred years ago, the closest thing to a home entertainment system might have been a Columbia Grafonola and a stack of records.
Still, the headline on the 1917 advertisement for that record player — “Give Music this Christmas” — could have been used last week.
The Vancouver Daily Columbian’s pages in December 1917 served as a catalogue of gift ideas that local businesses were pitching to Christmas shoppers.
The connections between merchants and their gift suggestions might seem a little hazy to us today. The advertiser selling Columbia record players and discs was Vancouver Stationery.
Here are other businesses and their gift suggestions, with prices when available. (Not everybody listed prices. One advertiser, Marshall-McCall, was satisfied to tell shoppers “Our prices are O.K.”)
- C. Frederick Paige jewelry: “A real patriotic and practical gift for your Soldier Boy” — Silver knife, fork and spoon kit, neatly wrapped in khaki flannel ($1.50 to $3.50).
- Flynn Furniture: “Visit Toyland, bring the little ones.”
- Rice & Christensen: “Make that boy or girl happy with a bicycle this Christmas.”
- Bennett Hardware: “Useful and lasting Christmas presents” — Chafing dishes, pocket knives, kiddie cars, boys’ wagons, skates.
- Van Nostrand’s Furniture: “Presents for Everybody” — Rockers, furniture, dishes, doll carts, rocking horses, kiddie cars.
- The CC Store: “Items that are necessities yet are suitable for Christmas” — Sweaters, rain coats, toys, games, books, purses, collars, garters, cuff buttons, shirts, socks.
- Stokes Dry Goods: Ladies’ silk hose (75 cents to $1.65), silk crepe gowns ($3 to $3.75), silk jersey camisoles ($1 to $2.50).
- Cohen & Dietderich: Men’s hats ($3.50), house coats and bath robes ($4 to $10), neckwear (25 cents to $2.50), gloves (50 cents to $3.50).
- Jas. J. Padden Clothier: Holiday combination sets of suspenders, garters and arm bands (50 cents to $3).