Continuing the theme, I thought I’d have a nosy in the magazines for more Christmassy things. I’ve included some crafts and stories in some other posts but I have some new magazines to look through, and there are other things I’ve not used before.
Naturally Blyton references Christmas in several of her letters at the start of magazines published in November and December.
And now I must send some special messages of my own to my readers. First, the Famous Five Club members: Happy Christmas, Famous Five Members, and may you enjoy the next adventures of Julian, George, Dick, Anne – and Timmy! Thank you more than I can say for all the help you have given to our little Children’s Home this year. You really are good friends.
Next, the Busy Bees. Happy Christmas to all my Bees, and may you buzz loudly and often in the coming year! Thank you very much indeed for all your kindness to animals and birds this year, and your really splendid work.
And last the Sunbeams, our newest Society. Happy Christmas, Sunbeams, and may you shine brightly in the months to come. Thank you with all my heart for the way your are helping our little Blind Children.
And now to every one of my readers, big and small, I send my warm wishes for a wonderful time at Christmas – plenty of cards, children, a stocking full to the top on Christmas morning, a fine Christmas pudding, Christmas tree, balloons and crackers! I must wish you a Happy New Year too, because it will be in 1954 before I write to you again.
– Vol 1 Issue 21, Dec 23 1953
DEAR BOYS AND GIRLS,
Only a little more than four weeks and Christmas will be here! I have had many letters from you, telling me of your Christmas plans – and I am very pleased to hear that o many of you are thinking more of that to give other people than of what you are going to have yourselves! Some of you are suggesting that you might send toys to our little Children’s Home here, but as the generous Famous Five Club members have, as usual, send me almost enough money to buy new toys for every one of our small children, I suggest that you send your toys to the Evening News, who are asking for Christmas Toys for Sick Children… I know they will be grateful. The toys will go to children ill in hospital, of course.
And now I must tell you some news you have been waiting for. I told you that my pantomime “Noddy in Toyland” is to be performed again this Christmas – and that I had written another play also, for older children, about the Famous Five. Well, we are now busily rehearsing for both plays – and they will both be in the same theatre, one in the afternoon (Noddy) and one in the early evening (Famous Five), and the theatre is – PRINCES THEATRE in London. I know that hundreds of you could not see “Noddy in Toyland” [I think there are a few words missing here!] telling you early, in order that any of my readers may be sure of seats at either of the plays.
– Vol 3 Issue 23, Nov 23 1955
DEAR BOYS AND GIRLS,
Now that we are in December I expect you are all thinking of the excitements of Christmas-time – the carol-singing, gay cards arriving, mysterious parcels – the Christmas tree and the Christmas pudding – parties and pantomimes! It really is a merry time, isn’t it? I have already had my first Christmas cards – they came from abroad, where they had to be posted early – and they must have caught a fast boat because they certainly arrived in good time. One is from South Africa, two from New Zealand, and three from Australia. I wish I could post cards back to the kind senders, but they wouldn’t get there in time.
As you can guess, I am very, very busy now, not only with Christmas, but with rehearsals for the two plays… which must be ready to be performed the week before Christmas. We haven’t much time left!…
There will be another number of the magazine for you before Christmas, so I shall be able to give you my Christmas wishes there. We shall all be feeling very excited by then, shan’t we?
– Vol 3 Issue 24, Dec 7 1955
There is also another letter from Father Christmas in Vol 2 Issue 26.
While Sunny Stories was advert-free from what I’ve seen, Enid Blyton’s Magazines have quite a lot of adverts. Some are for her own books, and lots of others for Noddy toys, but there are plenty for other toys of the time as well as adverts for sweets and chocolates.
Here are a selection of Christmas-themes adverts I’ve picked out (some are similar to ones that had already been running with ‘perfect for Christmas’ type wording added!).
Three consecutive years (1853, 1954 and 1955) feature a list of books which would make good Christmas gifts.
Of course an Enid Blyton book is at the top of each of these lists! Malcolm Saville features on them all as well.
The Children of Green Meadows even gets its own advertising space in 1954, after being serialised.
These are just some of the Noddy adverts – if I’d shown all the ones from November/December issues we’d have been here all day. I’ve just picked the ones that say ‘Christmas’ in them. Also in there is an advert for the Enid Blyton Diary.
And here are a couple of confectionery adverts which feature Christmas. The comic-style one is for Mars and tells the story of a boy who dreams that Santa only gives Mars bars to boys who help others. The boy then goes carol-singing for the children’s hospital and is rewarded with a Mars bar.
The Palm toffee bar advert is a good example of the times Enid was living in – and why she used golliwogs so often. You can see along the bottom that the banana split flavour is illustrated by a banana, the fruit and nut by a strawberry, and the chocolate and liquorice flavours with a golliwog’s face (I assume as they are ‘dark’ or ‘brown’ flavours). That’s far worse than anything Blyton ever wrote! I’ll stop there as this is supposed to be a Christmas post not a debate about racism in her books.
And some other bits
If you do decide to make skittles out of cotton reels I’d advise you to leave off the stereotypical ‘Chinaman’ additions. You could easily paint them in reds and greens with more pointed hats as elves, or in red, black and white with a cotton-wool beard and red hat for Santa.
Possibly the least-festive Christmas greeting I’ve ever seen!
A part advert and part puzzle from Cadbury.
And lastly a Christmas carol.