Christmas shopping seems to start earlier each year, but if we look back at some of the newspaper advertisements from fifty years ago, we can see how things have changed. You could call into the gent’s outfitters to get kitted out for the festive season at B. Wallis on Market Avenue, Ashton. George Hough furniture retailer had a Christmas message for the housewife too. The Off Licence in Ashton Market Hall, which is still there, was inviting ‘Come all Ye Faithful’ to get all the drinks required from one place.

Almost every church had a Christmas Fair and the Rotary Club organised Santa on Tour around Tameside which they started in 1968 and are still doing today. Check the local newspaper for the routes.

Also, in 1972 we saw the opening of the Concord Way shopping centre in Dukinfield. Businesses operating there at the time were Marion Barber children’s clothes, Wala’s electrical, Munday’s Newsagents, and two butcher’s shops – Mcfie and Leach.

By 1982 festive dining became popular with a whole host of local venues to choose from; Magpies Nest and York House Hotel in Ashton, The Crown Inn and Dacca Intercontinental Restaurant in Hyde, and Carriages in Droylsden to name but a few.

You could get your hair done in Ashton precinct at Prima Donnas and Figaro’s. On Penny Meadow you could find everything feminine at Adriana May’s or jewellery from N. Samson, in Droylsden you could go to Norman Bradshaw and the Gift Centre in Stalybridge.  At The Sweet shop on Trinity St, if you spent £3 you got a small free gift. Hardcastle’s toy shop was on Corporation Street.

Friday night was late night shopping in 1992 with shops at Clarendon Square, Hyde open till 8pm where you could get free a mince pie and sherry, and free parking! Gifts for your pets were advertised at Graham’s Pets in Ashton, Village Pets in Denton, and Pets and Ponies.

It’s nice to see some businesses in the Market Hall, Ashton are still around from that time too; Williams Bakers, Spec-tackle, and Cards Galore.

How many of the businesses mentioned here do you remember? Let’s make this a local Christmas and keep our town centres open and thriving, if you shop around, you can find everything you need near to hand. Soak up the festive atmosphere and support your local businesses.