Avon for Christmas

As I had mentioned in a previous post, I loved getting Avon products as Christmas presents. This ad from 1971 shows a dazzling array of Avon items, any of which I would have loved to get for Christmas. I think I actually had the Snoopy in the bathtub. This ad, like many in the early Seventies, reflects the growing diversity of models appearing in ads.


The Avon Lady

Back in the Seventies, the Avon Lady was as much a neighborhood institution as the fire department or the Fourth of July picnic. In my neighborhood, it was Mrs. Peerless. I can still picture her today. I can recall the excitement I felt when she came to the door because she had two things I really wanted: the white paper bag containing my mother’s order from her previous visit, and the new Avon catalogue. Whenever my mom placed an order, she’d let my sister and I look at the catalogue and pick something out. Avon made fun, unique items that they don’t make today, like their famous figural perfume bottles, and plastic figural brooches that contained solid perfume. I would always get a solid perfume brooch in my stocking at Christmas, and often I’d find under the tree a wrapped box containing a jar of creme perfume shaped like a snowman, or a bottle of liquid perfume in the shape of a girl, her top half serving as the cap, while her skirt contained the perfume.

Sweet Honesty ad, 1975. Is that Pam Dawber of "Mork and Mindy" fame?

My two favorite Avon fragrances were Sweet Honesty and Pink and Pretty. Pink and Pretty has long since been discontinued, though Avon still makes Sweet Honesty. But the figural perfume bottles that made getting something from the Avon Lady so special are gone. I guess tweens and teens are more sophisticated these days, or more interested in celebrity-endorsed products like Hannah Montanah perfume. Today the figural perfume bottles are highly collectible, even if they’re empty. I recently purchased on eBay a bottle of Zany (1979), which I loved in junior high but which was discontinued after only two years or so. The bottle is shaped like a Christmas tree, so in a way I can still feel like I’m getting something special from Avon for Christmas.