Christmas just isn’t the same nowadays is it? We find it very difficult to feel that magic we felt as kids. The whole experience has changed so much over the last couple of decades, with Internet shopping, a million TV channels and a whole host of electronic gadgetry available to us, it’s easy to forget the simpler times.
TV Times and Radio Times
With no internet or smartphones the only way to find out what was coming up on TV was on teletext or in TV listing mags. The TV Times and Radio Times were the goto TV guides and of course back in the day you had to buy both to know what was on all the channels. When the bumper Christmas Edition was released no one could stop us sitting and circling everything we were going to watch over the festive period.
TVTimes is a television listings magazine published in the United Kingdom by TI Media. It is known for its access to television actors and their programmes. In 1981 it was briefly rebranded as TVTimes Magazine, the premise being it contained more than simply television listings. In 2006 it was refreshed for a more modern look, increasing its emphasis on big-star interviews and soaps. The magazine was launched on 22 September 1955, at the start of transmissions of ITV, but only became a national magazine in 1968. Prior to 1968, several of the regional ITV companies – Westward Television, Scottish Television, Tyne Tees Television, Ulster Television, TWW and Teledu Cymru (and briefly WWN) – produced their own listings magazines. The Midlands originally had their own edition of TVTimes listing ATV and ABC programmes, but a separate listings magazine in the Midlands called TV World existed 1964–68 before TVTimes went national. Until television listings were deregulated in 1991, TVTimes was the only place where you could find complete listings of ITV programmes for the week ahead, and from 1982 onwards, Channel 4 programmes too.
2. Selection Boxes
Let’s face it they were just better back then! The bars were bigger, they tasted better and they had some awesome treats inside!
The selection box is a boxed gift generally associated with Christmas. Although the history of selection boxes is relatively unknown, they were common around the late 19th and early 20th century Britain. Chocolatiers, Rowntree’s and Cadbury pioneered the early selection boxes which were saved for by way of a Christmas club over many months, to be collected around Christmas time. Choice and variation of contents were the consumer’s choice, and often the value of the selection box would exceed a week’s wages. In more modern times the selection box as we know it has become a staple Christmas gift of chocolate. Each chocolate company mass produces these at Christmas time and they are often filling the spaces near supermarket checkouts. In the 60’s and 70’s the selection box took on a more commercialized approach with games printed on the reverse of the boxes such as snakes and ladders, adding to the desirability of each brand’s selection box offering. Children expectantly received a selection box each year and regarded them as a main Christmas gift.
3. Argos Catalogue
The Argos catalogue! or any other catalogue for that matter! We couldn’t browse the internet back then so this is what we used to find things to put on our list for Santa! If your family found Christmas a bit of a stretch you could always order all the presents from Kays or Grattan’s and pay 36p a week for the rest of your life to pay for it all!
Argos Ltd, trading as Argos, is a British catalogue retailer operating in the United Kingdom and Ireland, and a subsidiary of Sainsbury’s. The company trades both through physical shops and online, with over 845 retail shops, 29 million yearly shop customers, and nearly a billion online visitors per annum, making it one of the largest high street retailers in the United Kingdom. It has also franchised overseas to countries such as China. Argos was established on 13 November 1972, by Richard Tompkins, the founder of the Green Shield Stamps scheme, who rebranded the existing Green Shield Stamps catalogue shops as Argos, before opening new Argos-branded shops later in the year. BAT Industries purchased the company in 1979, and in 1990, it was listed on the London Stock Exchange, where it became a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index.
In April 1998, GUS plc bought the company, and it became part of Home Retail Group when GUS split in October 2006. In August 2013, it was estimated that 96% of the population of the United Kingdom was within 10 miles of an Argos branch. In April 2016, Argos’ parent Home Retail Group agreed to a £1.4 billion takeover by the UK supermarket chain Sainsbury’s. Sainsbury’s intend to close most if not all separate Argos shops and integrate them into its large Sainsbury’s supermarkets. The acquisition was completed on 2 September 2016, and the business became part of a division named Sainsbury’s Argos led by its own chief executive