Christmas Thoughts: Giving for the Holidays

This post was produced with help from Heidi Holmstrom and Ivy Donnell, who made the GIFs.

In December of 1920, Ford Motor Company sent prints of the film Christmas Thoughts (FC-FC-328) to Ford dealers around the country. The film encouraged viewers to establish a local Goodfellows’ Club, with their local dealer serving as the headquarters. The clubs helped poor families at Christmastime.

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In Christmas Thoughts, local businessmen (described as “honest-to-goodness bachelors”) decide to provide a holiday dinner to families in need. While one of the men sleeps that night, he dreams of children sledding and looking at toys in a shop window.

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The next day, the men gather together and head out to deliver food baskets. 

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Intertitle showing dialogue from the film (Still from FC-FC-328).

Col. Landers delivers a goose and trimmings to the family of a man who has been unable to work due to illness.

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Col. Landers delivers a Christmas goose to a needy family (Still from FC-FC-328).

The children have been tucked in bed and dream of Santa Claus arriving to deliver toys.

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Santa steps along the roofline and prepares to go down the chimney. He places toys around the tree, and then sits to admire his work. The living space is more luxurious than the needy family’s, which is how we know that it is a dream.

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The children awake on Christmas morning excited to receive their gifts.

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The children jump with joy as their mother hands them their stockings and the film comes to a close with wishes for a merry Christmas.

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While there does not appear to be a formal structure, local Goodfellows Clubs still exist across the country, providing Thanksgiving meals and Christmas toys.

You may view the complete film in our online catalog.

Check out more GIFs from the National Archives at our GIPHY channel.

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