Christmas Shopping 1915

Transcribed from the Bexhill Chronicle dated 25th December 1915.



This year Christmas presents as a rule have been greatly affected by the war. Of course all the Bexhill tradesmen have strictly banned goods “made in Germany.” At night, with the slightly increased lighting facilities the town presents an appearance something like Christmas time in pre-war days, but sadly deficient in its usual brilliancy. The shop windows in day time have a bright appearance, stocked with Christmas goods.


In the way of fancy ware, the Japanese antimony articles have proved popular as presents. The antimony is made up into delightful little boxes etc., which range from 6 1/2d and upwards. The calendars, both block and tear-off, wear a military aspect, being adorned with battle scenes, etc.

Our local stationers and booksellers stock the various Christmas annuals which usually make their appearance at this period. With the coming of the £1 and 10s Treasury notes, a convenient method of carrying the slips of paper had to be devised. The most popular case for this purpose is one which is made in various qualities, the note needing only to be placed in the case, which is then closed, and opened again when the note is securely held by cross ribbons. These cases range from 1s. upwards. Stationery blocks and compendiums also make useful presents.


The local bakers and confectioners have on view many types and styles of iced Christmas cakes. These may be purchased from 2s. to 10s., and very elaborate and artistic pieces of icing work some of them show. As a present for our men at the front, what is better than a Christmas pudding? They may be bought from 9d. to 7s. 6d. One of our local tradesmen has supplied sufficient puddings for 100 men who are at the Dardanelles. Ever dear to the hearts of our children is the Christmas cracker. The 1915 cracker is very military in appearance. They contain, instead of the usual paper hats and little trinkets, such warlike articles as toy pistols, military caps, etc. These range from 6 1/2d. to 5s. per box.


In the toy and various branches of our local tradesmen’s premises there is a feast of good things to delight the children’s hearts. Though the German toy market is closed, the British makers have played their part well in the manufacture of toys. There is a lack of the familiar lead, German-built, Continental soldiers, but the strong British wooden toys are very popular, and are very acceptable. Wooden engines range from 1s. 11d. to 9s. 11d. according to size; .rocking horses from 6s. 6d. to 12s. 6d. Most of the mechanical toys are at the present time of French make. The game “Bombardo’ is once again very much sought after. The prices are from 5s. 6d. to 10s. 6d.

Dolls this year are more than usually dear; they are mainly French made. The price of undressed dolls is from 4s. 6d. to £4 4s.

The toy soldier sets, with hat, coat, sword, etc. complete, make excellent and welcome presents. The cost is 1s. 11d. to 7s. 6d. A gift which one might send anywhere and be sure of a welcome is the “Pathephone.” This instrument is an improved gramophone, playing, as it does, with a sapphire-pointed needle. These may be obtained for £2 7s. 6d and upwards.

Ever since the wrist-watch became the vogue and the public realised the utility and convenience of it, it has been most popular. Wrist-watches may be obtained in various styles and sizes. For a soldier the luminous dial is a great boon, enabling him to tell the time in the dark.


“Fumsup,” the, quaint little charm, is a dainty gift, and prices are 2s. (silver), and 12s. 6d. (gold). A gift which a soldier might appropriately make to his friends is the badge of his regiment, mounted as a brooch. These are popular, as so many ladies are collecting them. The price for these is 1s. 3d and upwards. The darkness of the streets, at night makes a gift of a flash-lamp very welcome. These are moderate in price.

Although the town feels the shadow of the war cloud, the Bexhill tradesmen have during the past year well held their own, which is testified by the excellent Christmas show which they put before the public this War Christmas of 1915.

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