Ho-ho-hoping you remember Santa on parade

The Jopling's Santa parade brought out the crowds each October.
The Jopling's Santa parade brought out the crowds each October.
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Is it ever too early to begin looking at Christmas? We think not.

And Sue McIvor certainly didn’t think so either as she was the buyer for Joplings, 40 years ago.

Helen Banks, 3, takes a close look at one of the displays in Joplings toy department in 1978.

Helen Banks, 3, takes a close look at one of the displays in Joplings toy department in 1978.

Sue had a job many of us would envy. Throughout the year, she would be looking for the toys which would make it to the shelves for the following Christmas.

In fact, as soon as one Christmas was over, she would be back on the hunt for the next year’s big thing within a fortnight when you would find her at Harrogate Toy Fair in her role as the Joplings toys and cycles buyer.

As the Echo said back in October 1978: “Providing the toys for the multi-million pound Christmas sales is a very serious business.”

But it wasn’t just Sue who was turning her attentions to Christmas with more than two months still to go to the big day.

I believe the most important thing about all toys and games is they should be educational. Every toy should help a child in one way or another

Sue McIvor, 1978

October also meant the Joplings Giant Toy Fair and the arrival of Santa. It was always a big event.

People of a certain age will remember Santa’s big procession through the streets of Sunderland as he made his way to Joplings to take up residence in the grotto. In 1978, he set off from the railway station and his grotto had a theme of the Old Curiosity Shop that year.

As the advert said at the time, it was for ‘boys and girls of all ages’.

And once you’d watched the parade, it was time to take in a massive array of toys and games in the store.

Another view of Santa's parade.

Another view of Santa's parade.

Meanwhile, back behind the scene, Sue was doing her bit to make Christmas extra special for the children of Sunderland.

She said at the time: “I believe the most important thing about all toys and games is they should be educational. Every toy should help a child in one way or another.”

Do you remember Joplings’ Santa parade and the toy fair? Email chris.cordner@jpress.co.uk.

An advert for the Jopling's giant toy fair in 1978.

An advert for the Jopling's giant toy fair in 1978.