We often complain about how commercial Christmas has become so it might be an eye-opener to readers to see that even a century ago the shops were all geared up for a bonanza at the tills.
Under the headline “Seasonable novelties for ladies and gentlemen” the Gazette News showed there was no shortage of ideas for presents back in December 1913.
Among several dozen businesses promoting their goods in an accompanying article were Messrs W A Hooton and Co, of Clifton Street, who, realising that “nothing gives so much pleasure to most children than a toy that runs on wheels” had arranged “a special show of doll bassinets, motor cars, tricycles and coaster trollies with the result that their windows are proving very attractive to juveniles”.
At 61 Abingdon Street, the latest fashion in footwear “the Tango Tie Shoe”, could be obtained from half a guinea to a guinea (52.5p to £1.05) at Messrs H McCallister and Son.
Sam Lyon Jnr, the jeweller that “stands alone at the bottom of Church Street” proclaimed that for his “select and extensive clientele” he had “no old stock” among his extensive range of precious stones and high class plate and jewellery.
At “The People’s Fent Market” next to Abingdon Street Post Office, it was claimed “the housewife prefers to trade at Christmas where she secures satisfaction the whole year round” and “some very attractive lines are on offer at this well-established drapery emporium”.
The Argenta Meat Company boasted 10 shops in Blackpool alone and had “a special show of Fylde-fed geese, turkeys, ducks, chickens and cured hams”.
Mr G S Sellers, of 12 Wellington Terrace, near Central Pier (phone number Blackpool 486) offered free deliveries to all parts of the town and district for his “drop of something special”, taking in port and sherry from 1s (5p) to 3s 6d (17.5p) a bottle.
The “noted high class footwear establishment”, Boscombe’s at the top of Clifton Street, had a display of dance shoes and fancy slippers and “the extensive stock will well repay inspection”.
The windows of jewellers Doidge and Co, 9 West Street were “a strong magnet”, the firm having “made a good reputation for the best in electro-plate and cutlery goods”.
Readers were advised that “to a motoring friend, a present with the motor car or motorcycle is especially welcome” and at Jackson Brothers, Abingdon Street, there was “a specially augmented stock of musical alarms, horns, clocks, speedometers and tool kits”.
Tobacconist Tom Crookall, of Bank Hey Street promised that for a friend or relative who smoked “a pipe and pouch, a supply of his favourite smoking mixture, or a box of cigars or cigarettes will be appreciated by him”.
And we’ll end with this long-winded endorsement under the heading “For Ladies Only”: “Under the direction of principals who are acquainted with the latest decree of Dame Fashion, and act upon them, the firm of Duckworth, Son and Co have deservedly made great headway since their attractive outfitting house became a feature in Abingdon Street.
“Naturally, at this time of the year, furs come into prominence and the well-dressed lady who is enveloped in such cosy garments. The supply, here, is splendid, as an inspection will quickly convince”.
But for every Fylde coast household back in December 1913 where money was indulged on all manner of festive frippery, there were no doubt countless others where poverty prevented families from enjoying Christmas anywhere near as much as they deserved.