My dad always bought our Christmas presents on Christmas Eve. This was before online shopping, so people did actually shop in stores (as some still do.) I’m not sure why he waited until then, but it may have had to do with not having the money until he was paid, which seemed to happen right before Christmas. Once or twice Mother put money in a Christmas club at the bank (now there’s another antique concept!) but usually our Christmas was dependent on credit at the store and Daddy’s paycheck.
I made a Christmas list, being careful not to ask for anything I knew we couldn’t afford, or at least, as far as I knew. Sometimes Daddy’s perception of what fit the bill was a little off. One year I asked for a guitar, and I got a plastic one from Santa Claus. Ooops! Not what I had in mind. But I was grateful and started learning chords. The next Christmas Mother made sure I got the real thing, a 1968 Sears Silvertone Spanish acoustic guitar, so I could look mournful and sing “Where Have All the Flowers Gone,” an essential for any moody teenager at that point.
Sometimes Daddy got taken with a toy himself. At least that’s the only way I can explain receiving a Charley Weaver Bartender mechanical toy when I was pretty small (see photo above, from an eBay seller.) He was a character on Jack Paar’s Tonight show, invented and played by Cliff Arquette, telling old jokes and stories about “Mount Idy” and its residents. In later years he was on the Hollywood Squares, and a heavy user of double entendres.
My family was teetotaling Southern Baptist. So it was a little odd to get a Charley Weaver toy which shook a cocktail shaker, downed the “drink,” then turned red and spouted smoke from its ears! If only I had kept that thing–it’s worth up to $200 on eBay at this point.
So to all my family and friends who are celebrating Christmas, have a merry one! And I hope your shopping is done.