On this Day Factola

December 6 and 25 - Santa, Christmas and the Phonograph


By Doug Boilesen, 2020

At the end of the nineteenth century, when the phonograph became a home entertainment device, the phonograph industry joined other products which used Christmas and Santa Claus as part of their advertising campaigns. The phonograph, it was said, "Brings Christmas Cheer All the Year." And Santa could deliver the gift that exceeded all other gifts, the "ideal gift" -- a gift for children that was "the best present" and "better than toys."

December 6th is the birthday of Edison's Phonograph.

It's also the day in some cultures when Saint Nicholas, Sinterklass, et al. visits and brings gifts (in the evening of December 5, or on December 6).

Originating in Western Christian culture on Christmas Eve Santa Claus delivers Christmas gifts which in many homes are opened the following morning, Christmas Day December 25.

"Santa Claus, also known as Father Christmas, Saint Nicholas, Saint Nick, Kris Kringle, or simply Santa, is a legendary character originating in Western Christian culture who is said to bring gifts on Christmas Eve of toys and candy to well-behaved children, and either coal or nothing to naughty children...The modern character of Santa Claus is based on traditions surrounding the historical Saint Nicholas, the English figure of Father Christmas and the Dutch figure of Sinterklaas." Wikipedia

December 6 and December 25, therefore, are combined on this page as one "On This Day" FACTOLA connecting Santa, Christmas and the phonograph.

The following phonograph advertisements are examples of phonograph marketing which use Christmas and gift-giving as reasons for purchasing a phonograph -- a gift that could literally say "Merry Christmas."

"A Merry Christmas Says the GRAMOPHONE."


Munsey's Magazine, 1896



The Cosmopolitan, 1896



"The most interesting, amusing and instructive of all gifts." Munsey's Magazine, January 1897



Munsey's Magazine, December 1897



The Edison Phonograph is the best present...Better than Toys. December 1903



Everybody's Magazine, December 1905



Edison newspaper ad, The Talking Machine World, November 1905



Edison newspaper ad, 1905



Pearson's Magazine, December 1906



Harper's Magazine, 1907





Victor Talking Machine Co., 1909



Make this Christmas last all winter - Columbia the one ideal gift for all the family for all the year around, 1911



Christmas Wish for every boy and every girl. Edison ad, 1911




Victrola Advertising Brochure, 1915



Victrola Advertising Brochure, 1916



Columbia Records Catalogue, December 1919



Columbia Grafonola, The Ladie's Home Journal, December 1919




Sonora Advertising Postcard, November 1920



"Give your family a Columbia Grafonola with Columbia Records for Christmas." Music right at your fireside. Pictorial Review, December 1920



Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

"The World's Musical Instrument" Brings Happiness Entertainment and Education To all Mankind.

The Talking Machine World, December 1920



"The finest gift of all!"

"The gift that keeps on giving" -- Victrola" 1924




"What shall we give the children for Christmas?"

"Are You Ready, Mr. Santa Claus?" The General Phonograph Mfg. Co., November 1926



"Yuletide Music" - General Electric Radio-Phonograph Combination, 1930




GE radio-phonograph newspaper ad, 1941



Emerson Phono-Radio magazine ad, January 1941



Decca - Listen to Christmas...on Decca Records, magazine ad, 1946



RCA Radio-Phonograph Combination - Clear as Carols on Christmas Eve, The Saturday Evening Post, 1947



This Christmas..."Give the gift with a lift...a genuine Philco, 1947



Westinghouse Radio-Phonograph magazine ad, 1947



Stromberg-Carlson Radio-Phonograph for Christmas, 1947



Admiral radio-phonograph newspaper ad, 1948



Admiral Triple-Thrill Home Entertainment - Radio-Phonograph-TV, 1948


Santa Picture Record, Voco, Inc., 1948



Emerson "All Clear for a Merry Christmas" 1950



Santa Picture Record by Scotty MacGregor, 1950



"Three Generations have said Merry Christmas with an RCA Victor," 1951



Admiral "Yours for a Truly Wonderful Christmas" 1952



Philco for the gifts you'd give yourself! Life magazine, November 1955



Rudolph and Santa Record Player Christmas Tree Ornament

Hallmark Magic Light and Sound Ornament, Nello Williams, Sculptor 2020




Rockin' with Santa Record Player Christmas Tree Ornament

Hallmark Magic Music and Light Ornament, Sharon Visker, Hallmark Keepsake Artist 2005



Color embossed postcard, postmarked December 23, 1900





LISTEN to Ring Out the Bells for Christmas Edison Record No. 9806 (1907) accompanied by phonograph ephemera



WATCH A Christmas Carol - A dramatized presentation featuring illustrations from "A Christmas Carol" print editions (1844–1915) and the recording of “The Awakening of Scrooge” on Edison Amberol Record No. 12378 (1911) performed by Bransby Williams as Ebenezer Scrooge as he awakens on Christmas Day.