12 fantastic Christmas gifts we found in a 1963 Spencer Gifts catalog
Take-Apart Clown Breakfast Set: It's the gift that keeps on giving.
Images: Ladies' Home Journal / archive.org
1963 was a big year for Spencer Gifts. The mail-order catalog company opened its first retail store in the Cherry Hill Mall in New Jersey. For about a decade and a half, Spencer had been selling novelty items through its mailers and ads in magazines.
Recently, we were flipping through the December 1963 issue of Ladies' Home Journal, as is our wont, when we came across a two-page holiday spread for Spencer Gifts. The quirky items on display took us back to our childhood. Even if we never had our own personalized toothbrush holder, we wanted one at some point as we flipped through catalogs at the kitchen table.
Here are a dozen of the inexpensive presents you could order from Spencer in the Sixties. Did you have any of them?
1. GIANT ELECTRIC CLIMBING SANTA
Wait, doesn't Santa land on the roof with his magic sleigh? Why does he look like a burglar? You could save two bucks and get the plain ol' "weather-resistant paperboard" version, but, c'mon, you gotta spring for the lights.
2. PERSONALIZED TAKE-APART CLOWN BREAKFAST SET
Don't worry, it's not just for clowns — it's for anybody who likes to take apart clowns. Clowns dominated the breakfast scene back in the day, as the circus performers were pitching cereals like Sugar Smacks and Sugar Rice Krinkles.
3. PERSONALIZED CLOWN TOWEL
Clowns: not just for breakfast, but for the shower as well!
4. PERSONALIZED DRUMMER BOY TOOTHBRUSH HOLDER
3 for $2.79
Clown towels were not the only personalized item for the bathroom. Kids could also get a drummer boy toothbrush caddy. Your brush became the plume in his hat, which made his drum cup somewhat pointless.
5. OH! THEM GOLDEN SLIPPER
Dress just like an elf and slip your feet into some "marshmallow-soft vinyl."
6. JINGLING SANTA SLIPPERS
You'll definitely hear your kids snooping around the presents when you strap bells to their feet. It's like how you keep birds safe from cats.
7. TRANSISTOR PET… HE'S A RADIO!
"A twist of his nose — the radio plays." What better way to listen to "Hound Dog"? We also like this simple description from the fine print: "Furry pile."
8. FURRY FREDDIE… THE FREUDIAN PHILOSOPHER
"Stomp on him, cuddle him… tell him all." Eesh, take it easy on your toy. What did he do to deserve this?
9. 10 FOOT ELECTRIC LAWN SET WITH SANTA, SLEIGH AND 8 REINDEER
This plastic prop will turn any yard into the North Pole. Unlike the Electric Climbing Santa, he does not seem to be breaking and entering.
10. LIFESIZE SANTA DOORMAN… WITH MAGIC EYES!
Plain: 98¢, personalized: $1.50, electric: $2.98
Imagine your guests' delight as the St. Nick on your front door winks at them. We assume that's what the "Magic Eyes" bit refers to, and that he doesn't have X-ray vision.
11. ELBOW-LENGTH MITTENS
Putting up all these decorations outside the house can be rough on the hands in winter. You'll need some "Elbo-Mitts" to get the job done in comfort. Nobody was taking Johnny's Elbo-Mitts.
12. GIANT 3-FOOT CHRISTMAS CHANDELIER
By now you might be wondering what $2.98 equates to in today's dollars. It's about $23.50. We're not sure how multi-colored foil discs relate to Santa Claus, or why the fixture seems to be in an earthquake, but that's not too expensive.
SEE ALSO: 12 STRANGE XMAS GIFTS FROM THE 1970 SEARS WISH BOOK YOU WILL NOT FIND TODAY
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