It was the most wonderful time of the year - especially in Seaham and Murton
It's the most wonderful time of the year - and it certainly was for the traders of Murton 35 years ago.
For they made Echo headlines at the time for having what was possibly the best set of Christmas trees in shop windows anywhere on Wearside.
So let’s take a look back at the Christmas shopping experience you could enjoy in Murton in 1983 – trees and all.
“It is plain to see,” said our story at the time, “That the spirit of Christmas is very much alive in Murton.”
Each shop had a real tree in the window with fairy lights and tinsel to add to that festive feel.
Woods Terrace came in for particular praise from our reporter at the time, who said: “Murton people really welcome Christmas, and if there was a competition for the village in the county displaying the most and best decorated Christmas trees in its windows it would surely win.”
Some of the shops worth a browse around included Penny Wise, where Christmas crackers were 79 pence and Hai Karate aftershave was 59 pence.
You could get a 10-pack of Christmas paper for 25p and dolls from a bargain £1.99.
It was in Woods Terrace, and so was Smiths Discount Store, where alarm clocks were a mere £2.99, gents’ slippers started at £3.49 and sports bags were a snip at £2.99.
In fact, the street was full of great outlets such as Gordons for a choice in nightwear and playsuits, pencil skirts and chunky jumpers.
Easywear had ‘up to the minute fashions’ for teenagers, while Bucknalls was the spot for all your bakery needs.
W. Brass was the fruiterer and florist of choice, and Harlands was the place to go for the services of a newsagent’s.
And how about a visit to nearby Seaham, where you could have just as good a time browsing the festive bargains?
In Church Street, junior snooker tables were in stock in time for Christmas at The Sports Shop, and you could get slippers for all the family at Instep.
Christmas stockings for dogs, cats and birds were available at the Pet and Garden Centre for £1.10, as well as a healthy choice of squeaky toys.
Over at Curry’s Coaches in Strangford Road, you could plan to get away from it all and book a 1984 excursion to the Spalding Flower Festival for £35.
Or – if you wanted to plan your festive telly viewing – how about a look in M. Woodgate in Adelaide Row?
The Rasul Bargain Centre in Church Street, Seaham, had wall clocks for £9.99 and body warmers for £5.99. In the same street, JA Robinsons was the spot for thermal slippers.
There were greetings cards for all occasions at AN and JB Gilmore in Station Road (plus selection boxes and toys), and you could say it with flowers with a trip to Betty Hall Flowers in Church Street.
Or, if you preferred to say it with some great jewellery, Hockleygold Jewellers in Adelaide Row had diamond rings at half price in 1983.
After such a great day out, there was only one aspect of Christmas still to sort out ... a cracking festive meal.
The choices at the Regency Assembly Rooms in Stockton Road included grapefruit cocktail, Regency pate, and a chef at hand to serve you the poultry of the day and homemade steak and kidney pie.
Noah’s Ark in Railway Street was offering seafood specials and an excellent choice of bar meals.
All that shopping could leave you needing a bit of refreshment, so how about Christmas lunch at the Harbour View Hotel from £5.50?
And if you needed to work it off, Seaham Leisure Centre in Deneside had a gymnastics club, netball, and jui jitsu.
Which shops do you remember from the early 1980s in Wearside and County Durham? We would love to hear from you.
Get in touch by emailing [email protected] Let’s share the memories.