Vintage Christmas Ads

I’m obsessed with vintage beauty ads. There’s something about them that you don’t find with contemporary ads. It’s not that they’re any less commercial, but they have a certain charm that I find lacking in today’s holiday ads. The artwork is what appeals to me the most. The tradition of fashion illustration in advertisements of the 20th century is what makes them so unique to their period, and that tradition is even more charming in holiday ads. Illustrators could create flights of fancy such as a Christmas tree decorated with perfume bottles, or a glamorous woman in a green dress in front of a Christmas tree, where the distinction between dress and tree is blurred. These ads are stunning, stylish, and works of art.

Not to say that I don’t enjoy a good Christmas ad with photographs. The holidays bring out the whimsical nature of even the most hardened advertising man (think Don Draper after a few glasses of eggnog). Any advertisement that features Santa, snow, or Christmas trees combined with beauty products makes me anticipate the holidays even more. Having grown up in the Seventies, I remember leafing through my mother’s issues of Better Homes and Gardens. The December issue was always my favorite, not just for the holiday cookie and cake recipes, but for all of the holiday ads. So from today until Christmas, Boston Red Lox will be featuring one or two vintage Christmas ads every day.

Today’s ad is one that reminds me of leafing through my mother’s magazines. It’s for Charlie by Revlon, from 1977.

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