Stuck for Last Minute Christmas Gift Ideas? Some Suggestions & Advice From 150 Years Ago

For many of us, Christmas Eve sees a final dash to the shops as we seek out those last few gifts. If you are struggling for ideas, why not take some of the suggestions and advice offered to readers of the New York Irish-American, 150 years ago in December 1864. Remember, nothing says I love you like a Clothes Wringer!

'Something useful and diverting': Crandall's Building Blocks for Children c. 1867 (Library of Congress)

‘Something useful and diverting’: Crandall’s Building Blocks for Children c. 1867 (Library of Congress)

A HOLIDAY PRESENT.- What shall it be?- For the child, something suited to the sex, useful and diverting- not for the moment only, then to be cast aside- but that will link year with year, and mark and improve the character. For an adult of either sex the variety is endless, suiting the infinity of circumstances. The mother and head of a family has learned to prize most what lightens the household burden and betokens affectionate sympathy: a Baby-Tender, a Washer, Wringer, or a Wheeler & Wilson Sewing Machine.- The first are winning their way to public favor; the last is old and well tried. There is no question of its utility and suitableness as a present of affection and charity. Its low-toned voice will prove a sweet reminder of friendship and effective sympathy, and mingle with the hymn of thankfulness. Try it for your wife, or the widow toiling for the support of her children. (1)

The original 1864 patent drawings for Dr. Brown's 'Baby Tender'. It had a spring to provide and up-and-down motion for the child. The drawings show the different fittings that could be placed on it, from a chair, to a cot and even a hobby horse (Google Patents)

‘Winning their way to public favor’: The original 1864 patent drawings for Dr. Brown’s ‘Baby Tender’ or ‘Baby Jumper’. It had a spring to provide and up-and-down motion for the child. The drawings show the different fittings that could be placed on it, from a chair, to a cot and even a hobby-horse (Google Patents)

Many thanks to everyone for reading and contributing to the Irish in the American Civil War site in 2014, and wishing you all a Merry Christmas and New Year.

A woman enjoying her new sewing-machine, c. 1853 (Library of Congress)

‘A sweet reminder of friendship and effective sympathy’: A woman enjoying her new sewing-machine, c. 1853 (Library of Congress)

(1) New York Irish-American 31st December 1864

References

New York Irish-American 31st December 1864. A Holiday Present. What shall it be?

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Categories: New York

Author:Damian Shiels

I am an archaeologist based in Ireland, specialising in conflict archaeology.

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6 Comments on “Stuck for Last Minute Christmas Gift Ideas? Some Suggestions & Advice From 150 Years Ago”

  1. John Murphy
    December 22, 2015 at 12:06 pm #

    Merry Christmas Damian.
    Thanks for an interesting year looking forward to the surprises you’ll discover next year.

    • December 22, 2015 at 1:58 pm #

      Thanks John, and the same to you, thanks for all the support during the year and many happy returns!

  2. December 23, 2016 at 1:06 am #

    Happy Christmas Damian and have a great 2017.

    • December 23, 2016 at 1:07 am #

      Oh, and Damian, the clothes wringer is a great idea. Thanks! Christmas is saved.

      {I hope she likes it.}

    • February 18, 2017 at 9:55 am #

      Likewise John! (though a bit belated…)

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