1939: CHRISTMAS LIKELY TO BE BRIGHT There is Food in Plenty and Big Choice of Gifts BY OUR WOMAN REPRESENTATIVE All is set for a Merry Christmas in Aberdeen this year. People are finding that the background of war strain gives ordinary celebrations a new importance. And so they have already begun to explore the shops, where enticing gifts are displayed. With few exceptions, there is no scarcity of those things which go to make up Christmas. Visits paid to well-known Aberdeen drapers, toy and grocers'shops assured me of that.
POPULAR GIFTS The most popular gifts this year are Service presents for menfolk, colourful presents for womenfolk, and topical toys for young folk. There is a great run on shirts, woollen garments and wool to knit comforts for men on service. But light relief is not forgotten, and women are visiting confectioners and bookshops before dispatching their parcels. This much I learnt in one of Aberdeen's big stores. There also I saw the display of articles, useful and frivolous, which will find their way as gifts to Aberdeen women. "War or no war," I was told, "women will always want to be pretty. We are selling many beauty aids and perfumes. We expect that it will be a handkerchief Christmas for lots of people who have less money to spend. As handkerchiefs range from sheer utility to sheer frivolity, we're expecting a rush on them."
EXTENSIVE CHOICE The choice of gifts is bewildering. There are Chinese panels of gay embroidery, ideal for brightening black-out rooms; ever acceptable gloves and stockings; gleaming brassware; slipper cases with gas mask compartments; cushions; electric toasters; table and bed linen; baby wear and baby baskets, which have replaced cradles; handbags of all shapes and sizes and all price grades; brightly coloured vases and flower bowls; underwear sets, some in wool, some in silk, all dainty; reading lamps, and scarves. And most important of all, there is no drastic change in general prices. The children, too, will not suffer from any lack of choice in toys. The newest are anti-aircraft guns and searchlights. The guns shoot wooden pellets, and the searchlights, because they are complete with batteries, are very likely to appeal to mother and father as well as the bairns. Dolls, of course, are always favourites. Soldiers and aeroplanes are first favourites with small boys for Christmas, 1939. But there are many who plump for farms and cowboy outfits; traffic lights and mechanical toys; camouflaged lorries and tanks; and all the other types of modern playthings which make father say portentously. "In my young days. . . "
INDOOR GAMES In the toy shops are to be found all kinds of indoor games which appeal to both grown-ups and children. Since the coming of the black-out they have achieved great popularity. A.R.P. is the most topical, and the most novel is a dart board encased in glass, with which suction darts are used. It's an economical investment for four games can be played on it - darts, shove ha'penny, cricket and draughts. As for Christmas fare, practically everything that signifies Christmas in the way of food is to be found in plenty. The pudding won't suffer, for there is no scarcity of currants and raisins and other ingredients. On the other hand muscatel and Valencia raisins cannot be had, and almonds are very expensive. At a well known grocer's shop I was told how they have received many orders for Christmas puddings to be sent abroad. Mincemeat is plentiful for the reason that the good brands were all made some months ago. They improve with keeping. And there will be no lack of sweets, although the fine Continental brands are hard to come by. There will be turkeys on the market as usual - and finally, there is no dearth of fine wines. The public wants a Merry Christmas, and the shopkeepers are all prepared to give them what they want.
Source : Press and Journal Monday November 27th, 1939