This story originally appeared in this blog in December 2013.
How do you decorate the outside of your house for Christmas? Have you ever decorated a building or a street during the holidays?
I often spot old appliance manuals at estate sales, but I've never seen anything else quite like this Christmas decoration manual for small business owners (and/or their electrical contractors), which I picked up at a sale earlier this year.
It's a manual published by Westinghouse Electric, and it gives basic instructions for decorating the exteriors of buildings for Christmas. (Westinghouse used to make all kinds of light bulbs.)
I'm not quite sure how old it is. Westinghouse adopted the marketing phrase "You can be sure...if it's Westinghouse" in 1954, so the manual probably dates to the mid-1950s or early 1960s.
Here are scans of a few pages. As I look at them, I have a mental picture of George Bailey (Jimmy Stewart) in It's a Wonderful Life, running through the streets of Bedford Falls in the snow, shouting:
"Merry Christmas, movie house! Merry Christmas, emporium! Merry Christmas, you wonderful old Building and Loan!"
The film It's a Wonderful Life predates the catalog, but the sentiment is still a good one.