Saturday, December 22, 2012

Christmas Articles and Music From 1917

 Hang Up a Jar Instead of A Stocking 
      No little Mexican boy or girl ever thinks of hanging up a stocking. They have something far more interesting. Three or four days before Christmas stands spring up about the alameda, or open park, without which no Mexican village is complete. All about those shops are hung the pinatas, which take the place of Christmas stockings. These are apparently great dolls 2 or 3 feet tall, dressed in tissue paper, with papier mache faces and dangling legs and arms. In reality their flowing paper garments conceal earthen jars for the holding of candles. 
      Sometimes the pinatas are in the form of angels or fairies, but usually they represent some person prominent in Mexico. President and Mrs. Diaz used to smile from every stand. The Mexican child may live in a hut built of flat stones piled together in a public lot, but he has his pinata at Christmas time.
      In the better homes the pinatas are strung on a rope across a room. They are already heavy with their load of dulces, or candies, and they dangle somewhat dangerously over the heads of the beholders. Finally, the tallest man is blindfolded, given a stout cane and turned round and round. Leaping up, he strikes at the suspended figures. Amid shrieks of laughter and directions he keeps striking until he hits one of the jars. "Crack!" go its sides, and being made of only baked clay, they crumble away and the sweets come pouring out. Nobody is too dignified to scramble for them. The older people are on their knees with the children. Every body gets at least a mouthful. Then another is blindfolded, turned about and told to strike for another sugary deluge. D. Crozer in McCall's Magazine.

 "March of The Toys" soundtrack from 1917
 
William Norris as a "toy soldier", 1903
      Babes in Toyland was a operetta composed by Victor Herbert with a libretto by Glen MacDonough (1870–1924), which wove together various characters from Mother Goose nursery rhymes into a Christmas-themed musical extravaganza. The creators wanted to cash in on the extraordinary success of the stage musical The Wizard of Oz, which was produced in New York beginning in January 1903, under producer Fred R. Hamlin, and directed by Julian P. Mitchell. MacDonough had helped Mitchell with revisions to the Oz libretto by L. Frank Baum. Babes in Toyland features some of Herbert's most famous songs–among them "Toyland", "March of the Toys", "Go To Sleep, Slumber Deep", and "I Can't Do The Sum". The theme song "Toyland" and "March of the Toys" occasionally show up on Christmas compilations.  
      The original production opened at the Chicago Grand Opera house in June 1903, produced by Hamlin and directed by Mitchell, and toured to East Coast cities before opening in New York on October 13, 1903 and ran for 192 performances. This was followed by many successful tours and revivals. The piece was so popular that it spawned other "fairy-tale" shows over the next decade.

What Others Like to Eat at Christmastide
      Spain loves her turkeys, Nor does she find it necessary to run them to death on the farms in order to make their meat tender, for the fowls are driven into town from long distances, and their feet are tarred to withstand the hardness of the roads. For three days before Noche Buena the streets of the cities and villages are thick with squawking poultry and bleating lambs and kids that are destined for the slaughter.
      Cuba fattens up her turkeys on walnuts to make their flesh more toothsome. Mexico grinds the cooked turkey to a paste, which is mixed with chili, raisins, currants, wine and a few other ingredients into what is called mole de guajalote. France, too, although she shows her partiality for turkeys by cramming them with truffles, coquettes with her Christmas menu. Now she throws her scarf to blood red sausage, fat and juicy; now to stewed hare with unfermented wine; again to pheasants, to hazen hens, to heath cocks.
      In Brittany the home cured ham gives savor to the rye bread and to the chocolate porridge, especially dedicated to Noel. In Cuba baked hams, preciously boiled in champagne and well sugared, vie for favor with a Spanish piece de resistance called "Mors and Christians," in reminiscence of a page in Spanish history, and made of black beans and rice.
      In southern Italy eels, curled round with tail in mouth, defy time on the Christmas board by the emblem of eternity. In the smaller Italian cities on the day before Christmas the air is shrill and cries of kids being brought to market in panniers swung from donkey backs. Chickens, pigeons, tripe, boiling hot, are other dainties appropriate to the season, as well as turkeys, geese and calf's head.
      German and Scandinavian countries are noted for the bounty of their Christmas cheer. In rural neighborhoods the tables are spread from Christmas to Epiphany. England, too, offers wide and varied hospitality. In Warwickshire, for instance, they serve roast crab apples with fresh pork and elder wine. Yorkshire has its frumenty, its Yule cakes and plum pudding. Scotland boasts one with all her own-- haddock, stuffed with oatmeal and onions. Chicago Tribune.

Christmas Night
 ***
Sometimes I think Christmas night's the 
best.
Before the nursery fire, when we're un
dressed
And all the toys are put away, except
Perhaps my engine and the baby's bear.
Then mother comes away from all the
rest
Downstairs to tell our Christmas story
there.

She takes the baby on her lap and we
Sit 'round her on the hearth-rug so we
see
The pictures in the fire, and then she
tells
About how shepherds watched their
flocks by night
And what the angels said, and how the 
three 
Wise kings came riding--and the big
star's light.

And then she tells us how it showed the
way
To just a stable where the oxen stay.
And there they found Him in His
mother's arms.
A little baby Christ-Child-and he
smiled;
And that (she says) is what made Christ-
mas day
For you and me and every little child.
Before the nursery fire when we're un-
dressed
Sometimes I think that Christmas night's 
the best.  

Christmas Advertising From J. C. Penny in 1917
      James Cash Penney began his career in retail management when he opened The Golden Rule store, a partnership with Guy Johnson and Thomas Callahan, on April 14, 1902 in Kemmerer, Wyoming. He participated in the creation of two more stores, and purchased full interest in all three locations when Callahan and Johnson dissolved their partnership in 1907. In 1909, Penney moved his company headquarters to Salt Lake City, Utah to be closer to banks and railroads. By 1912, Penney had 34 stores in the Rocky Mountain States. In 1913, all stores were consolidated under the J.C. Penney banner. The so-called "mother store", in Kemmerer, opened as the chain's second location in 1904. It still operates, as of 2011, albeit with hours shorter than many of its other store locations.
       In 1913, the company was incorporated under the new name, J. C. Penney Company, with William Henry McManus as a co-founder. In 1914, the headquarters was moved to New York City to simplify the buying, financing, and transportation of goods. Around this time, Bert J. Niver joined the company as a junior partner. By 1917, the company operated 175 stores in 22 states in the United States.
Gift suggestions for women in 1917
Gift suggestions for men in 1917.

Popular Christmas Dolls in 1917


      Carl and Pat along with Gretchen and Hortense, are making eyes at us this Christmas, inviting us to inquire into their merits. They belong to a new order of the beloved rag dolls that have always held the warmest corner of little folk's hearts. 
      These dolls are made of discarded socks or stockings and stuffed with cotton. White socks are used for the heads and colored ones for the bodies. Fancy stitching with heavy mercerized cotton or yarns, outlines the jackets, makes ties and garters and represents buttons. The eyes, nose and mouth are outlined also in black and red.

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