Christmas shopping in the 1980's v today

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merryone

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I don't know how I managed my Christmas shopping in the 80's on a weekly wage that was crap, paid on the Friday and skint by the Monday - I remember buying my boyfriend a Casio watch one year and another year, a gold cross on a chain . If I remember rightly I was able to put a deposit down at the jewellers for the cross and chain and pay it off but I must've had to have gone without quite a lot or scrounged off my mum for weeks. I'll never forget the stress of having to find a present for my fella's mum who hated me but for some reason always bought me something for Christmas and I had some nice things from her (I strongly suspect she stole them) as I'm sure she'd never spend good money on me. I remember our Christmas bonus at work consisted of a bottle of cheap sherry and a half day off to do Christmas shopping, but unless it was a Friday (payday) it just meant I got to go home early!
In the 1990s when I was a parent I was a lot more responsible, (a part time job, and benefits helped) it was catalogue shopping all the way, but how different it was back then. You had to phone up to place an order and if anything was out of stock you had to hang up and start again, then queue up in the post office to pay your account . All I can say is thank God for online shopping, for buy now pay later, delivery in days rather than weeks, knowing immediately if something is in stock or not, being able to key in what you're looking for, and online banking. I've already finished all my Christmas present shopping, just gotta pay for it now lol! It's great to be able to pay the amount off as and when and so long as it's settled before next October then it's interest free - can't be bad!
Yes I'm older and wiser now and have more money to spend, and I'm pretty sure had all this been available to me back in the 80's I'd have ended up being locked up!
Does anyone miss those days of doing Christmas shopping on the dreaded high street, sometimes on Christmas eve? - I know I don't!!!!
 
I bought a tape recorder for myself for Christmas in 1959 on hire purchase, and had to work for a year delivering groceries after school and on Saturdays, earning 75P a week (15/-) to pay back the instalments.

But I got loads of pleasure from it, and also family and friends, as well as recording the latest hits from the radio.

The only downside was, that when I told my friend 2 doors away about this, his parent's bought him one outright for his Christmas present !
 
I don't know how I managed my Christmas shopping in the 80's on a weekly wage that was crap, paid on the Friday and skint by the Monday - I remember buying my boyfriend a Casio watch one year and another year, a gold cross on a chain . If I remember rightly I was able to put a deposit down at the jewellers for the cross and chain and pay it off but I must've had to have gone without quite a lot or scrounged off my mum for weeks. I'll never forget the stress of having to find a present for my fella's mum who hated me but for some reason always bought me something for Christmas and I had some nice things from her (I strongly suspect she stole them) as I'm sure she'd never spend good money on me. I remember our Christmas bonus at work consisted of a bottle of cheap sherry and a half day off to do Christmas shopping, but unless it was a Friday (payday) it just meant I got to go home early!
In the 1990s when I was a parent I was a lot more responsible, (a part time job, and benefits helped) it was catalogue shopping all the way, but how different it was back then. You had to phone up to place an order and if anything was out of stock you had to hang up and start again, then queue up in the post office to pay your account . All I can say is thank God for online shopping, for buy now pay later, delivery in days rather than weeks, knowing immediately if something is in stock or not, being able to key in what you're looking for, and online banking. I've already finished all my Christmas present shopping, just gotta pay for it now lol! It's great to be able to pay the amount off as and when and so long as it's settled before next October then it's interest free - can't be bad!
Yes I'm older and wiser now and have more money to spend, and I'm pretty sure had all this been available to me back in the 80's I'd have ended up being locked up!
Does anyone miss those days of doing Christmas shopping on the dreaded high street, sometimes on Christmas eve? - I know I don't!!!!
Actually yes I do!
It was such fun! But of course we had decent high street shops and could get all our shopping locally. And the high street would have special Christmas shopping evenings, and the Salvation Army would play carols and it was totally magical.
Its much easier now but not nearly as fun…
 
Actually yes I do!
It was such fun! But of course we had decent high street shops and could get all our shopping locally. And the high street would have special Christmas shopping evenings, and the Salvation Army would play carols and it was totally magical.
Its much easier now but not nearly as fun…
Yes the late night shopping evenings were fun with the bands and the hot chestnut stalls/mulled wine was nice and of course the sally army band. I did manage to get to a couple of them but for me it doesn't beat not having the stresses and strains of Christmas shopping. I don't know if they're still a thing. I live close to a town centre and I'd be happy to go down and soak up the atmosphere even though I don't need to buy anything. In the 80's I lived out of town so the late night shopping would mean I could pop to the shops after work, rather than go home and have to pay another bus fare to go back . I think I've got lazy in my old age!
 
When I was a small child we lived in a suburb that had a few shopping parades, there was nothing you couldn't buy, well apart from furniture and large electrical appliances. There was butchers, greengrocers, food shops, newsagents, a shoe shop, a toy shop, hardware store, pet shop, chemists that sold everything, & couple of fashion stores. Our local newsagent sold toys and records - you very rarely needed to venture into town. Now all that's left is a couple of Co-op's, the rest are coffee shops and fast food outlets, there's a couple of general store/off licences but that's about it - Just not the same any more. I remember the excitement of buying my first stereo system from the hi-fi shop that was in walking distance and the proprietor delivered it to my house in his car 'cause it was too heavy to carry. It was great having everything you needed so close at hand. I do miss the convenience of the local high street, but as I said I really don't miss the hustle and bustle of Christmas shopping!
 
When I was a small child we lived in a suburb that had a few shopping parades, there was nothing you couldn't buy, well apart from furniture and large electrical appliances. There was butchers, greengrocers, food shops, newsagents, a shoe shop, a toy shop, hardware store, pet shop, chemists that sold everything, & couple of fashion stores. Our local newsagent sold toys and records - you very rarely needed to venture into town. Now all that's left is a couple of Co-op's, the rest are coffee shops and fast food outlets, there's a couple of general store/off licences but that's about it - Just not the same any more. I remember the excitement of buying my first stereo system from the hi-fi shop that was in walking distance and the proprietor delivered it to my house in his car 'cause it was too heavy to carry. It was great having everything you needed so close at hand. I do miss the convenience of the local high street, but as I said I really don't miss the hustle and bustle of Christmas shopping!
Totally agree there. I grew up with a high street very similar. Now it’s all fast food outlets, charity shops and vaping/phone shops. I do all my shopping online now and I’m grateful I don’t have to lug it home and it’s usually free postage.
 
After only getting back from a nearly 3 week cruise,and due to the awful weather I've only just managed to get the washing all done.
Just got some ironing to do on a few things so I've not managed to do any Christmas shopping yet.
6 great nephews cash so that's ok,nieces are easy hubby is worse. Oh well it's got to be done by the end of November as I refuse to go to our shopping centre after then. Hate shopping hate crowded places.😡
 
Life was simpler back in the 80`s. Technology was in its infancy, the very few mobile phones were the size of a house brick with a long aerial on top and so expensive they were merely toys for the few who could afford them.
Kids toys were still toys and apart from needing the odd battery they were nowhere near as advanced as they are nowadays and wi-fi was how wifey was mispronounced when someone (on a TV soap) was talking about her indoors. My oldest 2 kids were primary school age in the 80`s, one was born in 76, the other in 78 but my youngest was born much later in 87 and their play consisted of lego, He Man, Star Wars and Transformers toys, all of which they had to use their imagination with because the toys themselves did very little.
Christmas club at the local toy shop was a godsend, I paid whatever I could afford each week and then a few weeks before Christmas I went in and chose what I wanted. It was usually one main present for each child and a few smaller items and then bulked out with crayons, colouring books, selection box, annuals and a board game. It`s nothing unusual these days to see even very young children with expensive phones, tablets, top named trainers and clothes. In fact I recently took in a parcel for my next door neighbour and when she came to collect it she said it was a pair of Nike trainers for her 11 month old child and they`d cost her a small fortune. He`ll probably out grow them in weeks.
We all had fewer clothes back then and designer labels were something only the rich and famous could afford. We tended to buy for quality and longevity because we didn`t have the money to buy stuff and then get fedup of it and then buy something else which is what happens these days. It had to last.
Yes the internet is a godsend but its bittersweet. On the one hand its easy but on the other hand it has killed off our high streets. I miss walking down a high street just as the evening grows dark and seeing the window displays and popping in here and there to look at something, ask the price of something and actually buy something. Having a chat to the shop staff, the pleasure of seeing something wrapped and in a carrier bag and taking my treasures back home. Nowadays the Amazon Prime van, or other delivery firms do it for me but its as if there`s a gap in my Christmas shopping routine and its a gap which can`t be filled these days because the small friendly shops of yesteryear have gone.
 
Life was simpler back in the 80`s. Technology was in its infancy, the very few mobile phones were the size of a house brick with a long aerial on top and so expensive they were merely toys for the few who could afford them.
Kids toys were still toys and apart from needing the odd battery they were nowhere near as advanced as they are nowadays and wi-fi was how wifey was mispronounced when someone (on a TV soap) was talking about her indoors. My oldest 2 kids were primary school age in the 80`s, one was born in 76, the other in 78 but my youngest was born much later in 87 and their play consisted of lego, He Man, Star Wars and Transformers toys, all of which they had to use their imagination with because the toys themselves did very little.
Christmas club at the local toy shop was a godsend, I paid whatever I could afford each week and then a few weeks before Christmas I went in and chose what I wanted. It was usually one main present for each child and a few smaller items and then bulked out with crayons, colouring books, selection box, annuals and a board game. It`s nothing unusual these days to see even very young children with expensive phones, tablets, top named trainers and clothes. In fact I recently took in a parcel for my next door neighbour and when she came to collect it she said it was a pair of Nike trainers for her 11 month old child and they`d cost her a small fortune. He`ll probably out grow them in weeks.
We all had fewer clothes back then and designer labels were something only the rich and famous could afford. We tended to buy for quality and longevity because we didn`t have the money to buy stuff and then get fedup of it and then buy something else which is what happens these days. It had to last.
Yes the internet is a godsend but its bittersweet. On the one hand its easy but on the other hand it has killed off our high streets. I miss walking down a high street just as the evening grows dark and seeing the window displays and popping in here and there to look at something, ask the price of something and actually buy something. Having a chat to the shop staff, the pleasure of seeing something wrapped and in a carrier bag and taking my treasures back home. Nowadays the Amazon Prime van, or other delivery firms do it for me but its as if there`s a gap in my Christmas shopping routine and its a gap which can`t be filled these days because the small friendly shops of yesteryear have gone.
Yes, absolutely no imagination required these days, and far too much attached to tv shows and films, and even if the toy doesn't do much, the script's already been written so to speak. Despite best efforts to stop gender stereotyping, never so much have little girls are referred to as "princesses" by their parents and are treated accordingly. I'm not talking about being treated well (that should be a given) but being turned into spoiled little brats who are label conscious by the age of 6, want it all, and get it all.
Yes, there's something cosy about that, but unless you take a trip to London other major cities are available, you're not gonna see it!
 
Despite having lovely shops, living out in the sticks wasn't without its problems for a teen/young 20 something. I mostly worked 9-5 in town Monday-Friday which meant by the time I got home all the shops were closed, so a Christmas shopping trip was often a rushed dash around the shops during my lunch break or before they closed at 5.30 or 6. As one can imagine after a long and tiring day at work it was all a bit of a stress. Given the time of year it was often raining, I was frequently unprepared for this and I have memories of queueing up at the bus stop in the rain, getting on an extremely packed out bus with condensation running down the windows, bags getting bashed into if you couldn't get a seat. Of course Saturday was always an option, more bus fare and the crowds were something else! Even the local shops were pretty manic on a Saturday! At Christmas when one needs to buy multiple items, town usually was a better bet for choice and lower prices. Having lived within walking distance of the town centre for many years now, I really do miss the high street - but looking back it would've been wonderful to be able to come home from work, put my feet up for a few hours before browsing the good old internet for presents, making a few clicks and waiting a couple of days for everything to land on the doorstep (or in the hedge) then all I had to do is pop down to the corner shop to buy the wrapping paper and the sellotape!
 
Today I made a special trip by bus to a town 10 miles away to get 4 replacement yogurt pots (I make and eat 1 litre per day) as the other pots are disintegrating.

It took me 1 1/2 hours to get to the shop (traffic jams) and as I was in a rush I left one of the four behind! And I got soaked several times in very heavy showers.

At least the shop had noriced I'd left it behind and put it aside for me. to collect in the future.
 
Today I made a special trip by bus to a town 10 miles away to get 4 replacement yogurt pots (I make and eat 1 litre per day) as the other pots are disintegrating.

It took me 1 1/2 hours to get to the shop (traffic jams) and as I was in a rush I left one of the four behind! And I got soaked several times in very heavy showers.

At least the shop had noriced I'd left it behind and put it aside for me. to collect in the future.
That sounds like the shopping trip I had yesterday, a friend and I decided to take a shopping trip into another town for a change of scenery. The weather was atrocious, we were unable to take in the lovely views the journey usually provides due to all the condensation on the windows. There was traffic jams galore. Although I didn't need anything per se, there was a couple of things on my list I've not been able to get in my town for a while and lo and behold I was unable to get them there either. My friend who was out to do buy Christmas presents before the rush ending up deciding that it would make more sense to buy locally or online to avoid any problems so we had a good mooch around the charity shops and she bought loads of stuff. The bus journey back was horrendous and packed and what I said earlier about crushed bags happened, one of her bags tipped over and sent the contents flying onto the soaking wet bus floor, thankfully it was clothes that she'll be able to wash. Thankfully nothing else in the bag got damaged in the crush but it was stressful!
 
In the 1980s my mum would buy horror presents from a variety of mini-catalogues. In the end after failed attempts go get her to only give a card I shut up and put whatever it was in the charity donations bag after Christmas.
Over time I give fewer presents and also receive fewer.
40 years ago or now, it's stressful!
 
In the 1980s my mum would buy horror presents from a variety of mini-catalogues. In the end after failed attempts go get her to only give a card I shut up and put whatever it was in the charity donations bag after Christmas.
Over time I give fewer presents and also receive fewer.
40 years ago or now, it's stressful!
If I'm honest, the vast majority of the gifts I receive end up being donated. Close family tend to buy us gift cards and vouchers for meals or hotel stays etc which is brilliant. There's the occasional gem within the collection of generic buy 2 get one free gifts I get, but generally I don't want a set containing a mug, a sachet of hot chocolate, mini marshmallows a mini whisk and mini grater - I've got tons of mugs, a velvetiser and a dolce gusto machine that I can make hot chocolate drinks in. I'd sooner be given a box of velvetiser sachets, but people look no closer than the festive packaging unfortunately and of course that goes in the bin anyway. I don't want another hat and scarf, I've got plenty and they're to my taste because I chose them, nor do I want a set of fruity bath foams or a pack of Yankee votives, cause I won't use them, and as for huge boxes of cheap make up, I've had more than my fair share of those. Hand on heart I stopped buying people this sort of generic tripe years ago and try extremely hard to buy them something I know they'll like or at least will be useful. I'd rather someone bought me one well chosen candle, or spent £15 on a philosophy bath foam than giving me a box of 6 cheapo's complete with bath scrunchie and a pair of novelty slippers that I'm likely to break my neck in!
The obvious answer would be to restrict present buying to close family, however, one thing I do like about Christmas nowadays is choosing lovely presents for my friends, especially now it's so easy. I know this sounds daft but I do like receiving presents it makes you feel loved it's just a shame that people rarely get it right! A few years ago I received a hand muffler from a friend, it was shaped like a giant hedgehog (and I mean giant). I thought FFS! It's unlikely that my hands will get that cold indoors and due to the size of this monstrosity there's no way you could take it outside to use and I've got gloves anyway. I don't know what was going through her head, yes I like hedgehogs and possibly mentioned it once or twice, but what's wrong with a little brooch or a pair of earrings?! Anyway that went into the charity donation bag immediately, well it had to have it's own bag lol!
 
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Here's a picture of the offending article!
 
When I had a good number to send, I had a limit of £5 per person which generally meant choosing a book. I used to enjoy sounding out their current reading to get a handle on taste and interests, then finding a book that wasn't part of the tsunami of seasonal book launches. With e-books that's largely gone out the window, sadly.
The exception was close family with £20 per adult and £30 per child.
With the likelihood of seeing people over Christmas dwindling, it became Amazon vouchers, or gift experiences. All more pricey but I have no more kids to buy for and sadly some of the older ones have dropped off the perch.
I like giving gifts more than receiving, to be honest.
What I like best is spending time with people I care about... and eating delicious things. A full stomach and laughter are the best gifts to me.
There is a book about love languages. Apparently there are several different ones, and you may have to go out of your own comfort zone to keep others you love happy if their love languages don't really match with your own.
 
I`ve finished my Christmas shopping and buy bits and bobs throughout the year as and when I see something I know someone will like. My granddaughters are both teenagers now and they like to go shopping on their own so they get mainly money but I still buy them some small items to open on Christmas Day.
They are chalk and cheese though and have totally different tastes and interests. I never see my oldest granddaughter without a notebook in her hand. She draws all the time and always seems to be writing something or making a note of something usually accompanied with a sketch. She`s 17 and wants to go to Uni next year after her A levels.
She has no interest in main stream fashion, everything she wears is bought secondhand and from the likes of Ebay or Vinted. She lives in Doc Marten boots and long skirts (usually black) with often weird or wacky looking tops or knitwear, a huge oversized black overcoat and a beret. She`s also very big into environmental issues, anti animal testing, eco friendly toiletries and cleaning stuff and very picky over what she`ll eat because of where it may come from or how it`s farmed or produced. I`m hoping she`ll never change because she`s a well grounded lass with a huge heart and she`s totally genuine about whatever she cares about, it isn`t for show or because it`s the "in" thing.
I found an eco jeweller who only uses recycled gold or silver, recycled semi precious or precious stones and only makes one off items. She`s made a bracelet for my granddaughter which is recycled silver and has been tumbled to blacken it and set with a moonstone and an unusual way to fasten it and its engraved with stars to match the moonstone which represents the moon. Also a pair of blackened silver chain earrings with leaves hanging off the chains, 3 on each earring to represent the Earth, our planet we live on and which she cares so much about.
I also found a recycled leather notebook which is refillable and so the notebook will last her forever and the refills are made from recycled paper.
As for her younger sister who`se 15 well she is the complete opposite. A shiny sparkly princess who loves all things glittery, loves fashion, loves fancy toiletries but as yet is only allowed to wear lip gloss and mascara but is itching to get into makeup and unlike her big sister she thrives in being one of a crowd and having lots of friends and making lots of noise usually with much too loud music. For all they are chalk and cheese they are very close and the younger one makes the older one be less serious at times and the older one stops the younger one from being too impetuous at times. They level each other out.
Anyway Miss sparkly princess will get lots of smelly stuff, a sparkly Pandora bracelet with 2 equally sparkly charms to start off her collection from me and she has already compiled a list of clothes, boots and accessories she plans to spend her Christmas money on. She`ll get some from me, her other Gran and her Mum and Dad so god help Manchester when she hits the shops after Christmas.
I love seeing them growing up and they remind me of myself and my late sister, we were chalk an cheese too but we were as close as sisters could ever be.
 
Finding stuff was so much more difficult. So many products weren’t in stock when you went to look. Of course, there was no real way to check beforehand other than ringing the shop concerned and then you usually got nowhere if it was a bigger store. Ordering was the only way forward once you got there, and that could take weeks or couldn’t be done at all if the thing you wanted was what everybody else wanted. Or take the risk and go to say, Smith’s in Wood Green if the Crouch End branch didn‘t have what you wanted. Then you often had to go to a different shop for different things - the book shop, the toy shop, the big chemist, the electrical shop, the record shop…We had no department store in Crouch End past the early 1970s, and jack of all trades shops like Woolies and Smiths often didn’t have anything remotely book or record specialist for example. Now, you can get it all from one retailer, sitting in your armchair at home. Would I go back? In an instant…
 

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