The Swiss Colony, 1975
This one is personal.
Of all the catalogs that arrived on our family’s doorstep each Christmas season, the Sears Wishbook and the Swiss Colony were what I looked forward to the most. I don’t know how or when we got on their mailing list, but I devoured the Swiss Colony catalog each year. (Figuratively, of course). Other children may have had visions of Sugarplums. I had dreams of Dobosh Tortes, and Summer Sausages the size of Yule logs.
The pages overwhelmed me. The color, the quantity, the scale of it all! How extravagantly American were these Swiss! Why, if you received a family favorite or a VIP box, you could skip buying groceries for a month, so it seemed to me half a century ago. And like a good American, I wanted it all. Now. The Baconaire. The Grand Prize. OK, I’m a kid, I’m on a budget – but look, the Family Treat is only six bucks. Granted, those cheeses are small 1 and 2 ounce versions, but the resplendent photography dazzled me and kept me from noticing the fine print. These pages are from from 1975 or 1976.
Selling gift cheeses for Christmas was the idea of a Wisconsin college student in 1925. He took his class assignment and turned it into a real company the following year.
Happily, the Swiss Colony survives today. Happily, it’s still family-owned. Happily, they still print catalogs every Christmas, looking remarkably similar to the ones of my youth. Not much has changed – not much needed to. Excuse me now, I need to flip through at their 2020 catalog right now. Oh look – Petite Fours! mmMMmmmmmm.