|Everyone knows about the last-minute Christmas shopping rush. Dating back to the Middle Ages in France, Christmas
was a time of markets and fairs where useful items for the holidays could be obtained, often specialties of the region.
"Consumer madness" is not only a feature of modern society but was well known at the end of the last century when a shift could be observed in the custom of giving presents. The trend toward Christmas presents and away from New Year’s gifts gradually began to take hold.
Shopkeepers were clearly the first to benefit from this "consumer madness". Around December 10, owners of department stores and grocers would begin their newspaper advertising campaigns. Since presents and food were bought customarily between December 21 and 24, merchants stepped up their hard-sell strategy in the newspapers on those days to attract even more customers.