Advertisements tend to be more popular for the advertiser than for the advertisee—especially when the ad is interrupting a favorite movie or television episode. Advertising in 1870, S. D. Condit manages to do just that, breaking a unique version of “Account of a Visit from St. Nicholas” into quatrains laced with statements intended to entice customers into the store. (The change in font size between the lines of Moore’s poem and the phrases extolling the wonders to be found in Condit’s store is like the change in volume between the television episode and the interrupting commercial.) Condit’s ad rewrites a line or two in ways not copied in other reprints of the poem.

Did it work? Condit’s Dry Goods Emporium opened on 22 April 1867 (see the ad in the Cleveland Daily Leader [Cleveland, Ohio] 20 April 1867; p. 2, which includes an illustration of an hilariously huge building that presumably contains Condit’s store), and closed in 1872 with Condit’s bankruptcy.
Advertisement for S. D. Condit & Co. (from Plain Dealer [Cleveland, Ohio] 22 December 1870; p. 3)

St. Nicholas.

’Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house

Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;

Condit has a very choice assortment of goods selecting with special reference to the Holiday trade.

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,

In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there.

Articles for the Holidays at Condit’s cheaper than elsewhere.

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,

While visions of sugar-plums danced through their heads;

Condit’s Store will be open to-night.

And mamma in her kerchief and I in my cap,

Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap—

Good Handkerchiefs at Condit’s 10 cents each.

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,

I sprang to the window to see what was the matter;

Fine Handkerchiefs at Condit’s 25 cents each.

Away to the window I flew like a flash,

Tore open the window and threw up the sash.

Elegant Ribbon Sashes at Condit’s, Case Building.

The moon on the breast of the new fallen snow,

Gave a lustre of mid-day to objects below;

Pure Mohair Lustres at Condit’s, at 75c per yard.

When, what to my wondering eyes should appear

But a miniature sleigh and eight tiny reindeer,

Extra quality Traveling Rugs at Condit’s—anything but dear.

With a little old driver, so lively and quick,

I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.

Extra quality Black Silks at Condit’s at $2.45; really worth $3.00.

More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,

And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name—

S. D. Condit & Co. are the sole agents for the Panther Alpacas in this city—guaranteed to be the very best goods of this description ever introduced in this country.

“Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!

On, Comet! on, Cupid! on, Donder and Blitzen!

Condit’s Store will be open every evening this week.

To the top of the porch, to the top of the wall!

Now, dash away, dash away, dash away all![”]

All should visit Condit’s Store this evening.

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,

When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky;

Six papers of Good Pins at Condit’s for 20 cents.

So, up to the house-top the coursers they flew,

With a sleigh full of toys—and St. Nicholas, too,

Fancy Boxes at Condit’s from 15 cents to $12 each.

And then in a twinkling I heard on the roof

The prancing and pawing of each little hoof;

Six papers best Pins at Condit’s for 35 cents.

As I drew inn my head, and was turning around,

Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.

Black Mixed Waterproofs at Condit’s, only 82 cents per yard.

He was dressed all in fur from his head to his foot,

And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot.

Holiday Goods a specialty at Condit’s for the next week.

A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,

And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.

Evening Silks at Condit’s at attractive prices.

His eyes how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!

His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry;

Great bargains in Dress Goods at Condit’s.

His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,

And the beard on his chin was as white as the snow;

Paisley Shawls at Condit’s cheaper than you have seen the same quality for ten years.

The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,

And the smoke, it encircled his head like a wreath.

Beaver Cloaks at Condit’s from $4 to $50.

He had a broad face, and a little round belly

That shook when he laughed, like a bowl full of jelly.

Condit has the best assortment of Laces in Cleveland. Nothing handsomer for a holiday gift than a real Lace Set.

He was chubby and plump—a right jolly old elf,

And I laughed when I saw him in spite of myself.

Imitation Lace Collars and Handkerchiefs at Condit’s at low prices.

A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,

Soon gave me to know that I had nothing to dread.

Eight Spools of good Machine Thread at Condit’s for 23 cents.

He spoke not a word, bt went straight to his work,

And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,

The best stock of Holsier in Cleveland is on exhibition at Condit’s.

And laying his finger aside of his nose,

And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose.

S. C. Condit & Co. are offering extra quality Lyons Silk Clothing Velvet at $15 per yard.

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,

And away they all flew like the down of a thistle;

Initial and Embroidered Handkerchiefs, Hemstitched, Corded and Tucked Borders, in all qualities, at Condit’s from 25c to $5.

But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.”

Condit’s Store, Case Building, next to Postoffice, will be open to the Public every night this week until nine o’clock.

Recollect that S. D. CONDIT & CO. are emphatically the only House in Northern Ohio who retail Notions and Fancy Articles at CLOSE wholesale rates. [sic] Go and see if you think this statement overdrawn.

Copyright 1999-2024, Pat Pflieger
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