Christmas clubs: pay what you like, have what you like – archive, 9 December 1926

9 December 1926: A Christmas club is a type of savings account in which people make routine deposits throughout the year to spend on festive gifts

If you walk along a street of shops in the suburbs or the little towns just now you see in flaring letters in the window “Christmas Club! Pay what you like! Have what you like!” Careful people have been paying so much a week, in some cases right on from last January, although many pay into the Christmas Club only from the end of the summer holidays. This year, Christmas clubs in many districts will be very thin because of the trouble in the coalfields, but for all that the third week in December will see a feast of shopping.

There are loan clubs, grocery clubs, poultry clubs, cigarette clubs, whisky clubs, chocolate clubs, and boot and clothing clubs; indeed, nowadays there are gramophone and wireless clubs too. There are also furniture and linoleum clubs. There is nothing you cannot get through a club today.

Into a loan club you pay so much a week for a varying number of weeks. At the end of this period you can have a loan – one pound, three pounds, five pounds, according to your means. You repay at 1s in the pound per week; if for one week you cannot pay you are fined a penny in the shilling for the arrears. Usually the interest charged on the loan is a shilling in the pound. At Christmas you often have £20 to draw if you have not had any need for a heavy loan during the year.

Tradesmen’s clubs work differently. Varying sums are paid each week and chalked up to the credit of the customer. When Christmas comes you get a joint of meat, a turkey, fruits, puddings, up to the value of your money. The same applies to clothing and boots.

Continue reading…