Although you can get modern versions of these vintage tea towel calendars (see some of the ones available at Amazon here), we think the best part of these old-fashioned linens is remembering the ones from years ago — just like our moms and aunts and grandmothers (and grandfathers) used to have in their kitchens.
In addition, we have some crafty tips from people about how to make good use of the old towel calendars — although in my family, the old dishtowel calendars simply became… dishtowels.
This calendar is a dish towel (1957)
Have you seen the calendars that are really linen dish towels? The whole 12 months of 1958 are printed on the lower half with a picture of some sort printed above, and the idea is to hang it on the kitchen wall for the coming year, then demote it to the task of drying dishes for year after year… or until your husband buys you an automatic dishwasher.
Since last January 1, I’ve been enjoying the 1957 model of one of these calendar towels. My mother brought it back from Boston to tuck in with my Christmas surprises, and it was definitely my favorite surprise. So glad I can now replace it come December 31.
Mine’s the type with a slender bar slipped through a narrow top hem with cord attached at either end to simplify hanging. One of our department stores now has a similar model, packed in a tubular carton, for $1.49. Choice of a Pennsylvania Dutch design or a scenic view above the calendar half, on yellow or pink background.
Destined for kitchens where pink and black spark the decor are linen slipcovers for automatic toasters at 98c and matching aprons with two pockets for the lady of the house, at $2.49, both sporting the calendar treatment. Tea towels to match exactly are sold out, unfortunately, but there are others that would do, having a pink background, at 88c.
Vintage cloth calendar towel from 1958
A Pennsylvania-Dutch style design in red, blue and green
Retro calendar towel from 1963
This cloth calendar features three wonderfully 60s stylized cat designs
1965 linen cloth kitchen calendar with an old kitchen shelf image
Shown are in this olde-time kitchen scene are nutmeg, stage, thyme, cider, cocoa, a cookie jar, fruit basket, corn, and a “Peace and plenty” sign
Two 1968 dishcloth calendars with roosters
Despite the roosters here, 1968 was actually the Chinese year of the Monkey.
Vintage calendar towel – Retro stained glass design from 1971
From an old advice column: I have read and heard about many different ways to use those cute linen towel calendars, but thought you might like to hear what I do with them.
I embroider a new baby’s name and circle the birth date (parents’ names optional). Then I keep it for the child’s 18th birthday or present the towel, framed, to the new mother.
Also, it is good for a keepsake memento for the bride and groom with wedding date circled. Makes a nice gift at the time of marriage or 10th anniversary, if kept.
I have calendars for four grandsons, for four consecutive years, and will hold them until they are old enough to appreciate them.
On my modest income, expensive gifts aren’t practical. but these wonderful towels make very nice keepsakes, and the delight expressed when I present one of these calendars is all the incentive I need. – Mrs. Ruth Light (San Francisco Examiner – July 5, 1971)
Vintage towel/cloth calendars – Blue with wishing well (1972)
Vintage calendar towels: Turn back the hands of time (1972)
Vintage calendar towels: Rooster on yellow (1973)
Vintage calendar towel from 1974 with an old red covered bridge
Vintage linen tea towel calendars: Vegetables, fruit, gourds & grains (1975)
Two more retro cloth calendar designs for the mid-70s,! The first has a variety of autumnal flower colors up and down the sides, while the second features a tree, with owls on branches, each holding a calendar page for one month.
Vintage calendar towels: Birds & plants (1977)
As the time of year for new calendars approaches, I have decided what to do with my old linen towel calendars. I will sew them together for a picnic table cover, or to use for a throw cover over a chair or couch. – Veneva E Clemans (News-Record, Neenah, Wisconsin – December 28, 1966)
Vintage tea towel calendar: Clock, spinning wheel, flowers (1981)
Not a typical scene in 1981, this design emphasized a gentle old-fashioned motif
Retro towel calendar from 1982: Happiness is love
Vintage cloth calendar towels: American folk art (1983)
This one had an inspirational quote: “There are two days about which no-onw should ever worry — yesterday and tomorrow.”
Vintage tea towel calendars: Wishing well, rainbow, ducks on a river (1985)
1986 vintage calendar towels: Hearts & bears