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 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
Stromberg-Carlson Radio-Phonograph for Christmas, 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.