Saturday, November 19, 2011

19 November 1957 “1950’s ‘On-line Christmas Shopping: The Magazine & Buttermilk Bread Recipe”

maggifts1 This little advert made me laugh so much, I had to share it. And so I thought I would share many of the little ‘gift ideas’ in some of my November issues of 1950’s magazines. The idea’s for Christmas gifts being bought in a magazine was there version of “online shopping”. Remember a basic conversion for the Inflation of the dollar is to multiply it by around $7 which was the rate from 1955. You will begin to see first that things were more expensive, but that in reality our dollar today buys very little in comparison.

Now I know it isn’t even Thanksgiving yet here in America, but with ‘Black Friday’ looming this coming Friday, its all I can do to not see everything Christmas when I went out on my errands and marketing yesterday. So with the Christmas spirit comes, I suppose, the Christmas buying. Why not enjoy the fun and odd gift ideas available back then in magazines: The online shopping of its day.

maggifts2 For the man who has everything? Couldn’t you just see this hung on 1950’s paneling?

maggifts3 Some lovely items. I adore the ‘knotty pine’ spice box. It’d be a gem in an Early American Kitchen motif with rooster wallpaper. I like the little bedroom door knocker as well. It would again go well with a colonial or Early American theme. And it be a fun way to announce your entrance to a bedroom.

maggifts4 I happen to love fruit cake. Well, homemade fruitcake that it. It is a wonderful treat, but one can see where the running joke that once existed of the ‘traveling fruitcake’ given as a gift over and over. So preserved and so full of candied fruit there was little cake in it. This appears to possibly be of that variety, one can never know. But, I wonder how many grannies (having her tastes from the 19th century when sugar was more scarce and such a treat a joy) happily ordered this for the young suburban 1950’s family, only to have them groan upon opening it?

maggifts5 I think this is a brilliant idea. I like the idea of such a sturdy magazine rack. I have tried, in the past (well the future really) various magazine racks bought at Home stores only to find they are bad at display and make it impossible to have more than one or two magazines yet the holder takes up So much wall or floor space. These look clever and would look darling in a home library a study or even the living room. I like the idea of the double sided version on legs for $29.95. I might have to make a set of plans from this and see if I couldn’t make one up myself out of simple pine.

maggifts6 I wonder if this was one of the first dry/paint and wipe artist set ups for children? The precursor to the etch-a-sketch? Which came first this or  the dry erase board for Father’s office? A chicken and egg situation I suppose.

maggifts7 This ad has some fun items and treasures that have been bought up and saved, I am sure, for many Christmas. These type of items can often be found on eBay or in antique stores. But now, due to their nostalgia, can sometimes be too pricey for what they are. But often yard sales and estate sales give up such fun little treasures that some auntie ordered with excitement to decorate for the holidays.

maggifts8 Some more Christmas items and some fun stocking stuffers. I would love to have known what type of plant came out of that shell you place in water. Was it a real plant that grew over time? Or was it a plastic treat that was exposed when touched by the water? Does anyone know?

maggifts9 Was the nativity snow globe the first of its kind? Did the Ticky Tacky grandfather watch suggested as a stocking stuffer really work? Did little Timmy ever find Papa’s ‘striptease’ knife in share it with his pals up in the Tree house? I actually recall the wooden apple/tea set. I had one when I was a child and now I see it must have been one of my older Sisters who were children in the 1950’s.

Do you see anything you like?

I promised the buttermilk bread recipe I use in tandem with my home-made butter. With one quart of whipping I cream I get one pound of butter and two cups of buttermilk. Those two cups go into these two loaves of bread. The recipe came from

Buttermilk Bread


  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
  • 1/2 cup margarine
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 (.25 ounce) packages active dry yeast
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 5 1/2 cups bread flour


  1. Proof yeast in warm water.
  2. Place the butter or margarine and buttermilk in a small saucepan. Heat slowly until butter or margarine has melted. Cool to lukewarm.
  3. Place sugar, salt, baking soda, buttermilk mixture, and yeast in large mixing bowl. Add 3 cups flour one cup at a time, and mix with the dough hook attachment of an electric mixer. Gradually add the remaining flour while continuing to mix. When dough is not sticky, turn out on a lightly floured surface. Knead for several minutes, until the dough is soft and smooth. Place in a greased bowl, and turn once. Allow to rise until doubled in size.
  4. Punch down the dough. Divide, and shape into 2 loaves. Place in two well greased 8 x 4 inch bread pans. Allow to rise until dough has risen one inch above pans.
  5. Bake in a preheated 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) oven for 30 to 35 minutes. Loaves are done when nicely brown and hollow sounding when thumped.

Well, happy day dream shopping in the past and Happy Homemaking.

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