Events Black Friday shoppers

Published on November 25th, 2016 | by Michelle Roper-Shaw

Black Friday Frenzy

Black Friday is here. Mild mannered shoppers suddenly become frenzied fanatics in their search for that must-have bargain.

It was 2013 that saw Black Friday become a firm date in the UK shopping calendar and it has been growing ever since. Last year over £1 billion was spent on that day alone.

The phrase “Black Friday” originated in the 1960s after police in Philadelphia, US complained about the congested streets on the day after Thanksgiving.  Yet, this shopping phenomenon goes back to 1924. This was when department store Macy’s began their annual Thanksgiving Day Parade to mark the start to the holiday shopping season.

Christmas Gets Earlier Every Year

Black Friday for many, is the start to the Christmas shopping spending spree. However, every year we complain that Christmas is getting earlier. Adverts and decorations in shops go up before we have finished eating our Halloween trick or treat sweets.

However, you may be surprised to hear that the Christmas “comes earlier every year” complaint has been with us for a very long time. In fact, it can be traced to Victorian times.

A Victorian Christmas

Victorian Christmas shoppers

The Victorians are often referred to as the inventors of the modern day Christmas we continue to enjoy today.  It was Queen Victoria’s husband, Prince Albert who popularised the Christmas tree in the UK. A German tradition, he and Queen Victoria would light candles and put gingerbread on the tree on Christmas Eve.

Charles Dickens, one of our country’s most revered Authors wrote memorably about the Christmas celebrations, including the Christmas pudding in his novel, A Christmas Carol.

In the late 19th century, businesses started to promote the virtues of starting your Christmas shopping early. The first Santa’s Grotto was unveiled in 1888 by JP Robert of Stratford, West Ham, London. Around the same time, Peter Jones, a department store in Sloane Square made sure that its Christmas window displays gave “one the impression of having been well thought out and carefully planned well in advance.”

By the time Harry Gordon Selfridge opened his landmark store on Oxford Street in 1909, Christmas shopping promotions were well established. It was Selfridge himself who coined the phrase “only X shopping days to Christmas”.

Black Friday Fact

Despite all the hype, Black Friday isn’t actually the biggest shopping day of the year. It is actually the Saturday before Christmas.

Last Posting Dates for Christmas 2016

Christmas Stamps 2016

The Christmas 2016 stamps are now available to buy at the Post Office Shop. Whilst there is still plenty of time to buy your Christmas gifts, bear in mind the Last Posting Dates for Christmas if you are posting gifts to family and loved ones in the UK or overseas.

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