Christmas Shopping


Black & white printed cover of catalogue with Santa carrying sack - details of his costume and sack are coloured red.
Performers from the Deep Sea Astronaut troupe at Family Fair Photo © James Horan for Sydney Living Museums
As Christmas approaches, many of us seek out the perfect gift for our loved ones and the stores are filled with shoppers keen to find that special item. Catalogues offer up enticing suggestions, eager to welcome us as shoppers to their stores.

In 1907, the Christmas shopping scene was no different. In the collection of Rouse Hill House & Farm is a David Jones Christmas catalogue that assures shoppers “The Puzzling Christmas Question…Answered by David Jones Ltd’.

The cover depicts a jolly Santa complete with hat and abundant gift sack. Inside, 32 pages offer up all manner of items such as silver mounted toilet ware for the dressing table, handbags, picnic baskets, stands for hat pins, toys and games, delicate lace collars and scarves. The men are not forgotten with silver shaving equipment, leather cigar cases and grooming sets. There is also elegant table ware including a sterling silver sweet tray and a silver plated dinner gong. 

The catalogue may well have been the inspiration for many purchases, as held in the collection of Rouse Hill House is a lace scarf that one imagines was purchased after being admired within its pages.

It is easy to picture the children of the Rouse and Terry household pouring over the catalogue, imaging the gifts they may receive, just as children do today.

Merry Christmas and happy shopping!

You can see a selection of our digitised Trade Catalogues collection on the Internet Archive.

About the Author

Portrait shot of woman in outdoor setting.
Rebecca Jones
Assistant Curator
House Museums Portfolio
Raised in a family of collectors with a fascination for objects and stories, Rebecca Jones was destined to work with museum collections.

Exterior view of the Justice & Police Museum, former Water Police Court, Albert Street at night.


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