On this Day Factola

December 6 and 25 - Santa, Christmas and the Phonograph


By Doug Boilesen, 2021

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 is also the day in some cultures when Saint Nicholas, Sinterklass, et al. visit and bring gifts (in the evening of December 5, or on December 6).

Originating in Western Christian culture Santa Claus delivers Christmas Eve gifts normally opened the following morning, 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 both "On This Day" FACTOLAS connecting Santa, Christmas and the phonograph.

The following phonograph advertisements are examples of phonograph marketing which use Christmas and Santa as themes and reasons for purchasing a phonograph.


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





"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






Admiral radio-phonograph newspaper ad, 1948





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




Emerson "All Clear for a Merry Christmas" 1950





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.