Christmas 1923 was the year for radio and most anything electrical.
Clarke Electric Company at 545 Main Street (moving later to the Old West End) advertised the RCA Radiola (above). According to Clarke, “Dad will enjoy the speeches of great men, mother and sister the classic selections, sonny the sports, grandma the sermons, and everybody will get a kick from the famous orchestras. Truly a gift for everybody.”
With prices ranging from $37 to $350, radio was clearly for the well-to-do. Even $37 amounts to over $500 today. And in 1923, the local Ford dealer, Crowell Auto Company, at Craghead and Newton, was offering the hand-cranked Model T Runabout (at right) for just $265 – much less than the best radio. (Model T electric starters were an accessory.)
Wells Electrical Company, at 123 Market Street, said: “Make It Electrical. Electrical Appliances are a boon to every home. They are ornamental and inexpensive and the very thing for Christmas Gifts.” Lewis Neal Electric Co. thought a Royal Vacuum Cleaner would be the ideal gift.
R. A. White’s Sporting Goods suggested electric trains, Indian and cowboy suits, boxing gloves, and erector sets. P. Belov promoted its line of stick pins and cigarette cases. On Main Street, The Hub said every man needs a smoking jacket.
Galeski Optical Company said every mother should have a lorgnette. She could use it to watch “Step This Way,” the high-class professional show presented by the Kiwanis at Central Warehouse on Union Street. Or she might attend one of the two Christmas Day matinees at the Majestic Theater featuring Captain Carl Andrews and his four trained black bears.
B.S. Motley & Co. thought you should give a Carving Set. Meanwhile, the Dunford Studio at 317 Main Street suggested, “The Gift That Can’t Be Duplicated” – your photograph.
Davis & Collie Motor Company suggested a road trip in a U-Drive-It rental car. They offered a wide selection including Cadillacs, Studebakers, and two new sport-model Hupmobiles.
Being practical, Kingoff Brothers, at 310 Main Street, said luggage would add to the comfort of the recipient for years to come. Of course, it could be used with the Davis & Collie rental car.
The Lee Piano Company, in the Leland block on Main Street, asked if “you have ever reflected on your past Christmas Gifts and discovered for yourself what has become of them? Most likely they have disappeared in some way or another.” That’s why they suggested, “you give for this Christmas the everlasting gift – a Piano.”
Clements, Chism & Parker offered 30% off on Grandfather Clocks. Not surprisingly, the Register Publishing Company believed the most thoughtful gift would be a year’s subscription to the morning Register or the evening Bee.
As the Bee noted on Christmas Eve 1923, the holiday has changed in many ways over the years, but “unadulterated joy will still reign on the morrow.”