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The Hottest Gifts of 1933: A Great Depression Gift Guide

The Hottest Gifts of 1933: A Great Depression Gift Guide

The Christmas of '33 was not "off the hook."

From the early days of frankincense and myrrh to the Tickle Me Elmo craze of the mid-90s, every generation has had its own "must have" gifts for the Holidays. As part of our ongoing effort to rewrite history with little to no factual basis, we're going to venture back about 85 years - during the heart of the Great Depression - to take a peak at the the hottest, most requested gifts on every man's wishlist in 1933.

An Honest Day's Work

Unless your last name was Rockefeller, there’s a good bet the top item on your holiday wish list was just an honest day’s work. And by ‘honest day’s work,’ we mean 14 hours spent in the bottom of an unventilated coal mine or spending Christmas Day with the whole family slaughtering cows at the Pulaski Ave. meatpacking plant.

A Dime

For those not fortunate enough to receive an honest day's work for Christmas, another popular gift for any gift giving occasion in 1933 was a dime. Much like Cabbage Patch Kids in in 1980s, dimes in 1933 were in such hot demand that people would actually create signs asking their brothers for this scarce gift. The craze would be short lived, however, as many folks would often settle for, and receive, the less popular nickel.

A Babe Ruth Baseball Card for Kindling

The early 1930s were the heyday for the biggest names in baseball history. Legends like Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, and Dizzy Dean ruled the diamond, and entrepreneurs like Enos Goudey fanned the fervor by creating the first baseball cards to be sold in packs of gum. Adults and kids alike would flock to their local Woolworth’s with a nickel or two in hopes of landing a mint Babe Ruth card that would ultimately make for a great piece of kindling in a Hooverville dumpster-fire.

Some Decent Soup

One of the hottest culinary trends in the early 1930s was soup. Urban foodies couldn’t get enough of this staple, and makeshift restaurants sprung up on seemingly every corner to meet the demand. With the rapid expansion, however, came steep declines in quality, leaving many soup enthusiasts to ask Santa for “just a touch of spice”, or perhaps a “chunk or two of fresh potato.”  

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