The tree at Market Plaza has been lit and the annual Christmas parade has been had – Wheeling’s holiday season is officially underway. If you haven’t already begun hunting for those perfect gifts, now might be the time to start. 

Before the internet and its targeted advertisements and 2-day shipping, the newspaper was THE place to hawk your wares. Christmas advertisements didn’t just communicate to readers what vendors had, they would also suggest for whom the gifts were thought to be appropriate for. 

Stores would not only run quarter, half and full-page advertisements with illustrations for what they were selling but would also take out smaller classifieds listings as well. Classifieds pertaining to Christmas may have run with a Santa icon or have been part of a larger holiday shopping section, like the Gift Spotter of the 1960s. 

Holiday clothing, futuristic coffee pots, war bonds, musical instruments, and comic books have all been touted as the “hot holiday gift” of their respective seasons. Click through this collection of Christmas ads from days gone by, maybe it will help you make a list of your own! 

• Kate Wietor is currently studying Architectural History and Historic Preservation at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Virginia. She spent one glorious year in Wheeling serving as the 2021-22 AmeriCorps member at Wheeling Heritage. Since moving back to Virginia, she’s still looking for an antique store that rivals Sibs. 

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