Judging by adverts in The Westmorland Gazette during the winter of 1910-11, ‘spend, spend, spend’ was, for our ancestors, as intrinsic a part of the festive season as it is today.

Martins of Bowness promoted the ‘Glorious Gospel - books especially suitable for Sunday School prizes a speciality’, with the spiritual emphasis on the inner man.

Elsewhere, more worldly needs were being catered for. Hence, Whitwell, Mark & Co of Highgate Brewery, Kendal, promoted ‘very fine 30 year old port’ at 36/- (i.e. shillings), a dozen bottles of vintage claret at 14/- and Louis Roederer 1900 Champagne at 126/-.

For the ‘working man’, whose weekly wage was around 24/- (£1.25), they also provided three gallons of mild ale for 5/-. Even cheaper was ‘Peter Walker Lager, 3d (pence) a bottle, at all bars Purity Guaranteed’.

Also guaranteed for local customers was good health through ‘Elliman’s Embrocation for Animals and Humans’; while Edmonson & Voght, chemists, pronounced that their insect powder at 1d a tin would cure lice.

Adverts from still-existing firms included ‘Colman’s Mustard – a hot argument for an appetite’; Carr’s Biscuits at 7d per pound and ‘It’s the flavour that families favour in Rowntrees Elect Cocoa’.

Then, as now, clothing dominated the sales.

In Milnthorpe, Mashiter & Son Tailors for ‘overcoats, dress suits and servants livery’ and Newsham’s ‘Bargains in Ladies Wear’ rather oddly held their sales in February.

But in January, in Kendal, ‘Redmayne’s Raincoats which really Repel Rain’ were reduced to 32s 6d and Birkett’s offered ‘special corsets’ at 1s 10d ‘guaranteed 12 months, ladies woollen combinations at 1s 6d and coats at half price regardless of original cost with fancy belts a penny each’.

‘Heavy Drapery Goods’ included ‘soiled blankets at keen prices and towels at two for 6d. Also bargains in mill-inery, motor scarves and gents’ hosiery’.

Indicating rivalry between Kendal’s two leading stores, Musgrove’s of Finkle Street advertised ‘Remnants, Odds and Ends and Soiled Goods’ while their neighbours Blacow’s announced in the same column that ‘we have no out of date goods to offer though our prices are keen’.

For the opulent consumer, £50 had been knocked off K RIT Motors complete with ‘sealed entrance, 4 cylinder engine, tail light and horn’ - only 200 guineas.

Showing that ‘winter draws on’, Kendal’s horticulturalist Clarence Webb’s special offers included seeds at 1s, 6d and 3d per packet for best sweet peas, Brussels sprouts 3 inches across, ‘Wonderful Lettuce’ and prize-winning broad beans for 15 inch pods.