Categories
creepy cringe misogyny rape culture sexual harassment sexualization

Hot for Santa: The Unbearable Horniness of Vintage Christmas Ads

For vacuum fetishists, it’s the best Christmas ever!

By David Futrelle

With Christmas only a couple of days away, I decided to put together a little roundup of some of the most wildly misogynistic Christmas ads from the Mad Men era — loosely and somewhat expansively defined as the mid-50s through the mid-70s.

Looking through a number of examples — I borrowed a bunch from a big collection of them here — I was struck by how weirdly horny a lot of the old Christmas ads were. Now, obviously sex sells, and advertisers look for any excuse to work it into their ads. But I have to say I was a little startled to see how eager the ad execs of the Mad Men era were to shoehorn sex into the stereotypically wholesome world of Christmas ads.

I was also a bit surprised by how often Santa himself figured in these sexy ads. Evidently the real-life Mad Men of the era spent a lot of time thinking about Santa fucking.

Let’s start our tour of Horny Vintage Christmas ads with an example of a Christmas-ized version of one strangely popular ad trope from that bygone era: Women positively ecstatic over household appliances. Though in this case the woman in question is portrayed as being as excited by the symbolic submission as she is by the Hoover itself.

But it’s not just appliances that arouse this level of lust. This is definitely the horniest ad for spoons I’ve ever seen.

And somehow this ad for boot polish managed to be even hornier, to the point that the model’s nipples are visible. Was this one aimed at actual shoe and boot fetishists? Or just at women hot for Santa?

Turns out Santa was a bit of a horndog himself. And more than a bit creepy.

Hey ladies! Wear our stockings and creepy old dudes will look up your dress!

In the minds of mid-century ad men, Santa had a wife who was kind of way to young for him — and who evidently loved ironing as much as she loved to swoon over her candy-cane daddy.

Those Mad Men really did spend a lot of time pondering the secret sex life of Santa.

And of Mrs. Claus, who had admirers of her own, and who was apparently into threesomes.

I guess the Clauses had an open relationship.

Of course, not all of that era’s sexy Christmas ads involved the Man in Red himself. There were plenty of horny ads with no Santas in sight:

On the Eighth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me

One juicy steak

Two crab legs

Free parking

Four teriyakis

Five fab desserts

Six great drinks

Seven artichokes, yep!

And a really nice pair of jugs!

There were definitely some weird Christmas traditions back in the day.

More weird ads tomorrow.

We Hunted the Mammoth is independent and ad-free, and relies entirely on readers like you for its survival. If you appreciate our work, please send a few bucks our way! Thanks!

Subscribe
Notify of
guest

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

48 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
weirwoodtreehugger: chief manatee

Either the lady in the spoon ad is a corpse, or it’s really an ad for Real Dolls. That’s some creepy looking shit right there. It’s like a Criminal Minds episode.

Surplus to Requirements, Observer of the Vast Blight-Wing Enstupidation
Surplus to Requirements, Observer of the Vast Blight-Wing Enstupidation
1 year ago

In fairness to the Santa ones, in most of those households if anyone was wearing a Santa suit it was the woman’s husband.

Loopier is that women are depicted wearing high heels to do the ironing and to climb a stepladder (shudder).

I’m amazed the sheer-nightie one made it into print, given the prudish mores of the times. Most other content from those times that shows a nipple was unavailable anywhere but on the top shelf at the cigar store, or delivered to one’s doorstep in a plain brown bag, and subject to ongoing Supreme Court litigation regarding its very legality.

Iseult The Idle
Iseult The Idle
1 year ago

Pretty sure if some dude was hanging in my living room I wouldn’t be ogling his shiny, shiny boots.

Flora
Flora
1 year ago

What is happening to that poor woman’s spine in the Hoover ad?? Those two perspectives (the vacuum and the woman) just make no sense together

Moggie
Moggie
1 year ago

Why has nipple lady hanged Santa?

weirwoodtreehugger: chief manatee

Why has nipple lady hanged Santa?

That’s the name of my new indie rock album.

Tovius
Tovius
1 year ago

@Flora
I think she’s supposed to be laying on the floor.

@Moggie
To steal his clothes, obviously. She clearly needs them.

F is for 'Fro'
F is for 'Fro'
1 year ago

Why’s the Hoover lady laying on the floor anyway? That struck me as extra odd.

Buttercup Q. Skullpants
Buttercup Q. Skullpants
1 year ago

I love that artichokes (wink wink, yep!) get a call out in the swinging steakhouse ad. Men’s magazines of the 1970s used to tout them as a surefire aphrodisiac. They’re the Axe of vegetables.

Dormousing_it
Dormousing_it
1 year ago

I’ve never seen an ironing board meant to be used while seated. It’s a pretty good idea.

Only thing is, I iron about three times a year.

I’ve seen old copies of “Wink” and “Flirt” magazine, which I understand were the precursors to Playboy. I wonder if that shoe polish ad was in one of those magazines.

Pagan Reader - Misandrist Spinster
Pagan Reader - Misandrist Spinster
1 year ago

That shoe polish ad would be blocked on Tumblr for having female presenting nipples.

Bina
1 year ago

Other than the color scheme, I fail to see what the “jugs” ad has to do with Xmas at all. On the other hand, it sure is cringe-inducingly suggestive. In a thump-you-over-the-head-with-clunky-crockery kind of way.

It just doesn’t get more cheesy-’70s than that, does it?

C.S.Strowbridge
C.S.Strowbridge
1 year ago

Ad number two… She’s a hostage, right. Or a real doll. One of the two.

Nikki the Bluth Wannabe
Nikki the Bluth Wannabe
1 year ago

The Seagram’s ad is actually kind of cool/classy, in a very 70s way. The rest are just weird.

Moggie
Moggie
1 year ago

That ironing board would be good for people with mobility issues, so it’s sad that they didn’t show the woman in a wheelchair.

@Dormousing_it:

Only thing is, I iron about three times a year.

Now I’m annoyed, because I have a pile of shirts and trousers to iron.

There are people who iron their bed linen! I’ve never understood that. If your sheets have a few wrinkles, so what? As long as they’re clean, who cares?

Cat Mara
Cat Mara
1 year ago

The “nice pair of jugs” (groan) ad reminds me of a blog I came across recently: Broken Chains. It’s about fast-food chain restaurants whose corporate mortherships have died and have dwindled to a handful of outlets, or sometimes even a single remaining one, very often trapped in the time period of when the hammer finally came down, like insects in amber. Or this ad. Presumably very nostalgic for the people who grew up in the chains’ heydays.

Dormousing_it
Dormousing_it
1 year ago

@Nikki the Bluth Wanna be

The Seagrams ad reminds me of my ’70s childhood, ‘cos my dad was an alkie. Also, IMO, the guy in the ad is pretty hot.

@Moggie

I’ll do ANYTHING to avoid ironing. It helps to work at a place with no dress code.

Bluecat
Bluecat
1 year ago

@ Dormousing_it

I’ve never seen an ironing board meant to be used while seated. It’s a pretty good idea.

The one in my childhood home was like this. I thought it was great. In fact I was kind of hoping to inherit it after my Mum’s death… until I realised the heat-resistant bit was asbestos. We had to pay quite a bit to get it disposed of safely.

When I finally became a home owner, in my late 40s, I was disturbed by how interested in vacuum cleaners I became. But I’ve never thrown myself at one’s feet. And if anyone ever tried to decorate one for me with bows and holly they wouldn’t get a warm thank-you…

To everyone, and especially to David, thank you for laughs, insights, information and plumbing of the depths of the manosphere with wit and humour. Merry Festiveness, and I hope we all see a much happier and healthier New Year for us all.

Kevin
Kevin
1 year ago

Well we seem to have survived another year down the ‘I can’t believe that’ll happen !’ leg of the Trousers of Time. Happy Hogswatch everyone.

Moggie
Moggie
1 year ago

@Bluecat:

The one in my childhood home was like this. I thought it was great. In fact I was kind of hoping to inherit it after my Mum’s death… until I realised the heat-resistant bit was asbestos. We had to pay quite a bit to get it disposed of safely.

Yes, I think ironing boards of that vintage always used asbestos. Certainly that was the case with my family’s board.

And now I remember, as a little kid, “helping” dad build his garage, out of asbestos sheeting. Last time I looked at the old place in google streetview, that garage was still there, in a state of disrepair. I wondered why the new owners hadn’t disposed of it. Never occurred to me that this might be a big problem for them!

Katamount
Katamount
1 year ago

I have to wonder where these ads ran. Booze ads I could see running in Playboy or something, but where the hell did that bootblack ad run???

Eh, probably Playboy too.

@Surplus

You noticed that too, huh? Totally impractical tree-trimming footwear.

Sheila Crosby
1 year ago

Years ago my husband bought me an iron for Christmas.

I was not pleased.ç

Then he explained that he knew I hated ironing, so he thought the posh iron would help me get it over with faster. It did.
But with hindsight, I wonder why on earth I never asked him to do the ironging instead?

@Katamount I remember the 70s and some of the 60s. That ad could have run in a woman’s magazine, or a regional magazine or… Nt just Playboy and similar. Ads were like that then.

Weird (and tired of trumplings) Eddie
Weird (and tired of trumplings) Eddie
1 year ago

where the hell did that bootblack ad run

Esquire was running ads like that, too… I remember Esquire running Alberto Vargas” soft-porn drawings of women in my Uncles’ Esquire mags… that was my intro to objectification of women…. 🙁 🙁

Something that’s been encouraging to me in these troubled times is the amount of diversity seen in advertisements. While “white on white, man on top” is probably still the default, there seems to be a lot of non-conformity. I saw a Jared (jewelers) ad on Saturday which, at least to my perception, had diverse groups in every scene. Mixed-race couples, a white and a black child playing together, a white MAN proposing marriage to ANOTHER MAN… and a black man at that!

What made this odder by a couple orders of magnitude, the ad was on ESPN during a college football game….

Now, I don’t believe the corporatists are doing this as a service to the forces of change and social justice… they obviously feel there’s money to be made. Still, the longer that horse runs, the more people will see social progress on the small screen! Call it “subliminal enlightenment”…?

Bakunin
Bakunin
1 year ago

The woman on the ladder, there’s no way those heels are actually on the rung, is there?

Weird (and tired of trumplings) Eddie
Weird (and tired of trumplings) Eddie
1 year ago

@ Bakunin:

The woman on the ladder, there’s no way those heels are actually on the rung, is there?

That’s called “artistic license”….

Buttercup Q. Skullpants
Buttercup Q. Skullpants
1 year ago

Maybe Santa should wait till she climbs down before handing a bunch of packages up to her?

The “inanimate object/pet naughtily lifting up the skirt WHOOPSIE!” pose is a really annoying vintage ad trope. It takes some effort to snag a dress on a Christmas tree from a stepladder. I can’t even get ornaments to stay on the branches, let alone fabric. (Granted, I have a cat, but still…)

Podkayne Lives
Podkayne Lives
1 year ago

I’d just like to comment that in a novel published in 1927 (Emily’s Quest, by the great Lucy Maud Montgomery), the heroine tells her aunt that she declined a marriage proposal because she thought the suitor was the kind of man who would give his wife a vacuum cleaner as a Christmas present. (The aunt comments that a girl who is nearly 24 shouldn’t be so picky, but Emily is unmoved.)

Podkayne Lives
Podkayne Lives
1 year ago

Also, I like the dress the woman in the Hoover ad is wearing, with the little black and white doodles, and would love it if EShakti or someone who does plus sizes decided to recreate it.

Katamount
Katamount
1 year ago

@Weird Eddie

Something that’s been encouraging to me in these troubled times is the amount of diversity seen in advertisements.

As unfortunate that it takes the efforts of Madison Avenue to reflect society as it is, I can think of no better example than this delightful ad I see on the Toronto Subway right now for the Royal Ontario Museum:
comment image?itok=8AGbaR6_

I wish it was bigger so you could see the detail, but we not only have multiple ethnicities depicted, but a coded biracial same-sex couple in the lower-right and what appears to be a multiracial father and daughter in the top right. It’s nice to see that the ROM is keeping up with the times.

They still owe me an apology for that crystalline monstrosity they built on the back of it:

http://manchesterhistory.net/architecture/2000/ROM2.jpg

Weird (and tired of trumplings) Eddie
Weird (and tired of trumplings) Eddie
1 year ago

@ Katamount:

re: crystalline monstrosity

Double-Yoo_Tee_EFFFF????

Jenora Feuer
Jenora Feuer
1 year ago

@Weird Eddie:

Yeah, WTF was the reaction of a lot of people when that was built. Didn’t help that there were a number of construction issues (‘visionary’ architects often seem to have problems with basic engineering issues such as ‘can this support its own weight’), the thing leaked through the edges, and between fixing the preceding problems and the number of strange corners, it had a lot less usable space than it was supposed to.

Also, yeah, there’s a market there. There’s almost always been a market there, but now the money to be made catering to that market is much larger than the money lost not catering to the bigots.

Ohlmann
Ohlmann
1 year ago

So, the christmas night have started with me having to explain why it isn’t tasteful to say that the turkey was stuffed “as hard as Delanoe” [an ex-maior of Paris who is one of the first openly gay french politician]

The good part to me is the look of the nephew I highly suspect to be homosexual. Also the fact the most christian of the assembly (who as far as I know is an homophobe too) actually helped me explaining that crude insults are never appropriate on Chritmas eve, regardless of the scorn you think the target should have.

plz sant halp.

Jenora Feuer
Jenora Feuer
1 year ago

I don’t remember which ad it was now (was it the Cheerios biracial one?) but I remember seeing a video response to the complaints where they said they printed out all the complaints, rolled the paper into tubes, and built the company logo out of them. Then they printed out all the positive mail (on narrower paper), rolled them into tubes, and filled out all the background of the logo, sprawling it out across the floor because there were several times more compliments than complaints.

Rattus
Rattus
1 year ago

For those who hate ironing, this is how I deal with de-wrinkling my clothes before work. I sit on the toilet while steaming a dress that is hanging on the shower rod with one hand while reading on the Kobo being held with the other, thereby killing three birds with two hands.

Jane Done
Jane Done
1 year ago

@Katamount
RE: crystalline monstrosity

Looks like some sort of post-modern art installment depicting the modern technological world devouring history.

The sci-fi geek in me loves it, cause it’s funky and futuristic but kind of a little off taste and disrespectful the way they literally attached it to the beautiful historic building next to it.

Like hosting a rave at a SCA event. They’re both great but terrible together.

Moggie
Moggie
1 year ago

@Jenora Feuer:

‘visionary’ architects often seem to have problems with basic engineering issues such as ‘can this support its own weight’

And yet they keep getting hired. Seeing that Crystal thing, I was going to rant about Daniel Libeskind, but the blame lies with the people who hired him. They knew what they were getting.

kupo
kupo
1 year ago

@Katamount
Looks way better than this turd Paul Allen shat out:

comment image

Red R. Lion
Red R. Lion
1 year ago

Meanwhile in pathetic white person xmas news;

White house declares war on christmas with sad dark tree.

First came the hallways stacked with bloody tree carcasses lined like impaled prisoners warning off advancing enemies. Now, the darkened branches of the National Christmas Tree droop on the White House lawn with all the disrespect of a Target cashier cursing “happy holidays” at an apoplectic aunt. The battle for Christmas has begun.

On day three of a government shutdown that means a paycheck-less Christmas for thousands of government employees, the National Christmas Tree, whose maintenance falls under the auspices of the National Park Services, will be dark for the holiday.

On December 23, the Park Service posted the following notice: “During the federal government shutdown, the White House Visitor Center and National Christmas Tree site will be closed.”

The tree remains up until January 1, so it will probably end its run unlit. This is every bit as concerning as a Starbucks cup with no mention of the Christ child, and some brave white man should go on television to yell about it.

Where is my angry hero? ¯\​_(ツ)_/¯

Rabid Rabbit
Rabid Rabbit
1 year ago

On the one hand, I have to admit I can understand getting ecstatic over household appliances. Vaccuum cleaners really are a wonderful invention, especially if you have carpets. Time is saved, stress levels are lowered.

On the other hand, anyone who gives one to their spouse as a Christmas present (unless specifically requested to) should be hit over the head with it. Repeatedly.

What I wonder, though, is how these ads dealt with the fact that vaccuum cleaners meant letting the little lady operate heavy machinery.

Dormousing_it
Dormousing_it
1 year ago

Damn! I broke my reading glasses, plus, I’m hammered!😁

epitome of incomprehensibility

Hm. I’m planning to move in the spring, and I’m looking for a small vacuum cleaner – probably a battery-powered one. But I want to buy it myself, given that a) it’ll cost around $100 and I can’t really expect others spend that much money on a present and b) I want it to have specific features (a clear middle so I can see how much dust is in it, etc).

I join the chorus of those who find ironing annoying. I’m just not good at it. The parents say “practice, you’ll get better,” but it’s not a terribly fun thing to practice.

So, the christmas night have started with me having to explain why it isn’t tasteful to say that the turkey was stuffed “as hard as Delanoe” [an ex-maior of Paris who is one of the first openly gay french politician]

Ohlmann – sounds like a headache and a half, being around comments like that. I’m glad you spoke up but I hope you don’t have to deal with more of that.

Sheila Crosby
1 year ago

I’d love the “crystalline monstrosity” if it was standalone, but not on the back of a classical building. I mean, I like sardines and love milkshakes, but I don’t want a sardine milkshake.

OTOH there’s a very old church on the island (late C15th) which was doubled in size in the 1970s and the new half looks 1970s and it works. I stood there looking from one side to the other, trying to work out how the blue blazes the architect got it to look so harmonious. OK, both sides have whitewashed walls and Canary pine woodwork, but there has to be something more to make it work, surely?
http://lapalma-island.com/tazacorte-church/

Moggie
Moggie
1 year ago

@Weird Eddie:

Now, I don’t believe the corporatists are doing this as a service to the forces of change and social justice… they obviously feel there’s money to be made. Still, the longer that horse runs, the more people will see social progress on the small screen! Call it “subliminal enlightenment”…?

Which reminds me of this CollegeHumor video, which hopefully isn’t prescient:

Sniper Kitty, She-Tornado
Sniper Kitty, She-Tornado
1 year ago

RE: vacuum cleaner as a Christmas gift –

I do remember my dad getting my mom a new vacuum cleaner for Christmas one year – he decided wrapping it was a waster of time and paper so he threw a bed sheet over it and stuck a bow on top. 🙂 I believe however they had gone out and picked the vacuum out together.

Plus, we kids got to play with the box afterwards. ^^

HAPPY YULE EVERYONE!

AuntieMameRedux
AuntieMameRedux
1 year ago

@Katamount

You deserve an apology for that. I was reminded of an article I read about experimental architecture that said some of the confections were so unwieldy that computers had to do the math and even then it didn’t work well.

I think the vacuum cleaner lady might be on the floor to show how wonderful the vacuum is. No schmutzy on her dress. Or at least that is the only logical explanation I can see.

Miracle Whip defies everything sacred but not all jello salads are bad. Fruit however is better than vegetables when combined with jello.

@SheilaCrosby

They did do a great job with that church. Even better, thank you for that wonderful painting of The archangel Michael. Very anime meets medieval with a lot of life to it. Do I understand that you’ve actually been here?

Merry and Happy everyone. Or if you are a traumatized survivor of the ghosts of bad Christmases past, take heart as it will be over for another year very soon.

Hambeast
Hambeast
1 year ago

Guess I have to cop to being the only one who like the crystalline monstrosity. I really like the juxtaposition of the styles.

HOWEVER

The very next thoughts in my mind were:

1. I’ll bet it leaks like sieve

2. Looks like a lot of wasted space

Jenora Feuer
Jenora Feuer
1 year ago

@Hambeast:

You’re two for two. (Though the ‘leaks like a sieve’ part was fixed at the cost of even more wasted space.)

Hambeast
Hambeast
1 year ago

Jenora Feuer – That’s why, even though I like it visually, I’d never argue with anyone who said it needs to go on the trash heap of bad design. ETA: Architecture is an art form that has to include function in its form and this ain’t it!

That thing with the billowing sheet metal and crumbling tile is pretty monstrous, though. As in, I expect to see kaiju sitting down for a meal at any moment!