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Last-minute Christmas shopping: The 1979 Halifax edition

The tradition of last-minute Christmas shopping endures year after year.

Long lines, a lack of parking at the liquor store and a lot of questions about presents for pets

Last-minute Xmas shopping in 1979

43 years ago
Duration 2:14
The CBC's Stan Johnson surveys the last-minute shopping activities of Haligonians on the day before Christmas in 1979.

Some things never change.

Haircuts and fashions do, of course, which is why last-minute Christmas shopping in 1979 Halifax looks a lot different than it does today.

But it's otherwise pretty much the same: Long lines, excited kids and people trying to pick up their Oland Export Ale before the stores close.

Forty years ago, the CBC's Stan Johnson was there to deliver a gift that would keep on giving — footage of the harried Haligonian Christmas shoppers that we can look back on today.

A lot going on

Parking was hard to come by at this Nova Scotia liquor store on the day before Christmas in 1979. (Newsday/CBC Archives)

His report for CBC's Newsday featured scenes of shoppers struggling to find parking spots outside a liquor store, a dejected-looking man in bell-bottom jeans walking away from a long lineup and a child singing a solo rendition of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.

Johnson also talked to people who had bought gifts for their pets — a decision he seemed to find puzzling.

"Is it normal to buy cats Christmas presents?" he asked a boy who had bought a food dish for his pet cat.

"Well, no, not exactly," the boy said, rationalizing that "since he's part of our family, well, we'd like to get him something."

The Newsday report ended with a shot of a man playing a jaunty, lounge-type take on Jingle Bells on an electric organ.

"Only two more days to the Boxing Day sales," Johnson told viewers.

One young child regaled a CBC reporter with a solo rendition of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. (Newsday/CBC Archives)

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