January 1

What was advertised in a colonial newspaper 250 years ago this week?

Jan 1 - 12:30:1765 New-York Gazette
New-York Gazette (December 30, 1765)

“According to his annual Custom, [GARRAT NOEL, BOOKSELLER and STATIONER] begs Leave to offer to the Public, the following List of Books, as proper for Christmas Presents and New-Year’s Gifts.”

At this time of the year we often hear laments that Christmas has become too secularized, evidenced in particular by the commercialization of the holiday.  The appropriately-named Noel, however, demonstrates that some advertisers developed a marketing strategy that linked consumption and Christmas in the eighteenth century.

And, since everyone loves a bargain at Christmas and New Year, Noel promised “extraordinray low Prices” to “those who are willing to be generous on the Occasion.”  For those who may not have considered giving gifts during the season, Noel planted the idea that they could confirm their benevolence and thoughtfulness by presenting books and stationery wares to family and friends.

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