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Jim Kershner’s This day in history » On the Web:

From our archives, 100 years ago

Returning unwanted gifts was already a well-established Christmas tradition in 1911.

Store clerks were already dealing with crowds of gift-exchangers.

Managers reported that business would remain heavy for at least two more days. The Spokesman-Review sent reporters out to the return/exchange counters, and they observed plenty of wives and husbands “sneaking back” to exchange:

• One pair of silk hosiery for six of cotton

• A size 42 vest for a size 34.

• A pair of dressed kid gloves for undressed.

“Feminine thrift came to the surface on several occasions,” said the paper. “Where someone had received two pairs of gloves, the thrifty ones came in and asked for a refund of money. This practice is not invited by the stores, neither is it turned down flatly.”

One common exchange: “A red tie given by ‘wifie’ for a plain black or blue one.” Or: Silk hosiery given by hubby.

“The wives came in droves yesterday to exchange for less showy and perhaps more practical articles,” noted the paper. “In the lingerie departments, similar activity prevailed.”

Also on this date

(From the Associated Press)

1968: Apollo 8 and its three astronauts made a safe, nighttime splashdown in the Pacific.