Have you tried themes for your holiday gift lists? My sisters and I have found that it makes inexpensive gift-giving more fun. How we scamper to figure out how to meet the year’s buying rule!
One year, everything had to come from a hardware store. Another time, our gifts had to come in sets. Still another, everything had to be made of wood. When we had our “Once in a Blue Moon” theme, some of us chose truly unique items, and others found all blue gifts.
Knowing how Emilie Loring loved color, you might imagine that a color theme would appeal to her. In 1915, she even wrote an article about it, only in her version, she requested that all of her gifts be a special color. One hundred years ago, the items were different from now–I didn’t ask for boudoir garters or a parasol this year–but the idea is adaptable to any time.
Here’s Emilie’s 1915 article in its entirety, my gift to you today!
“Do Your Christmas Planning Early”
“How do you get such charming color effects in your costumes?” I burst forth enthusiastically.
“By having a one-color Christmas and planning it early,” laughed the young matron, pleased and amused at my very evident admiration.
“A one-color Christmas!” I echoed. “Aren’t the colors for that festal day always green and red?”
“I referred to gifts, not decorations,” she explained. “In September I decide what color I want my Christmas gifts to be. I find that relatives and friends are only too glad to know what one wants. Hit-or-miss gift-making is such a waste of time and money.
“To the victim belong the spoils,” I paraphrased gloomily, my mind reverting to some of the mistaken kindness of which I had been the recipient. “Do you also say what you want when you specify the color?”
“Yes, but I am never extravagant in my suggestions. Jim insists upon giving me something personal. He argues that just because we are married is no reason why he should make presents to the house instead of me.”
“Sensible Jim,” I applauded, “would there were more husbands like him!”
“I started the plan with a white Christmas. White makes a good foundation. Silver counts as white and Jim gave me my mesh bag. I had adorable things but the green Christmas was a wonder.
“Tell me everything you had,” I prompted eagerly.
“Jim gave me jade earrings. I knew that I was silly to want them, but he said that I was entitled to something frivolous once a year, that harmless frivolities which one enjoyed, helped when perplexities loomed large.
Then I had linen for a gown, silk stockings, a parasol, a kimono and boudoir garters to match. One of the girls embroidered my initials in green on a fine linen handkerchief; another made me a card-case of a glorious shade of green leather; there were green ribbon dress-hangers; ribbon covered trees for my green shoes; and a dream of a green work-bag.
Then there was the daintiest shirtwaist cover made from green-sprigged white dimity; a green enameled belt buckle and a set of white linen collar and cuffs embroidered in white with artistic touches of green. Someone had my monogram done in green on simple note paper and another friend sent me a half dozen dainty corsage sachets.”
“The plan must prove economical as well as artistic,” I ventured.
“It does. Both for the giver and recipient. A very simple, inexpensive gift which had been designed and executed especially for a person seems infinitely more valuable than the costliest article selected at random. As for my side of it, after the holidays I plan for summer and make my purchases with my Christmas color in mind. This year I have decided upon yellow and I have persuaded mother to try the plan and have a violet one. I know just what I shall make for her.”
I took fire from her enthusiasm. “Me for a rose-color Christmas!” I cried as we parted.