By Patrick McCue
Patrick is working temporarily on the Montana Digital Newspaper Project.Chronicling America to see if this is true. On December 9, 1865, one Virginia City merchant acknowledged the holiday but without much fanfare. This Frank’s Bakery ad showcases holiday confections, but the adjacent advertisers have not caught on to the season's commercial potential.
|Montana Post, December 9, 1865, p. 3|
|Montana Post, December 22, 1866, p. 8|
The editor also offers a distinctly non-commercial message on December 29, 1866:
No references to gifts or reindeer, and no mention of eager children awaiting St. Nick. By the 1880s, things have shifted. Christmas sales are now front-page news, and retailers unabashedly cash in on the holiday spirit. All wares, from garments and toys to jewelry and cigars, are proudly promoted, using creative designs and seasonal slogans. The following ads appeared in the Daily Yellowstone Journal on December 3, 1889.
“Anthems of praise in honor of the sojourn of the Redeemer upon the Earth are this day resounding throughout the world… It is the grand anniversary, compared with which those of nations dwindle into nothingness.”
During the 1890s, Christmas ads begin to appear in November and in greater numbers. This ad sports some clever wordplay:
|Anaconda Standard, November 11, 1897, p. 1|
By the new millennium, holiday ads are larger and more sophisticated, as evidenced by these full-page ads from the Fergus County Argus in 1902 and 1904.