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Why Christmas Wouldn’t Be Christmas Without the Leeds City Region

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21 Dec 2016

When you think of Christmas time, what’s the first thing that springs to mind? It might be opening up that first box of Quality Streets or buying your mum a woolly jumper at Marks and Spencer. Or it could simply be settling down to watch your favourite Christmas movie. But none of these things would be possible without the Leeds City Region.

Here’s why…

Marks and Spencer

Marks and Sparks, your go-to Christmas jumper destination, traces its history back to Leeds. In 1884, Michael Marks, a Russian-born Polish refugee, set up a stall at Kirkgate Market. Tom Spencer joined him in 1894 to create Marks & Spencer. Now, they have 1,382 stores worldwide – quite a success story.

Quality Street

Whether you’re a Purple One kind of person, or your tastes are more toffee inclined, everyone loves delving into a box of Quality Street at Christmas time. The company started life in 1890 as a small shop in Halifax where John Mackintosh and his wife sold a brand new kind of sweet that mixed hard toffee with runny caramel. By 1898, they had built the biggest toffee factory in the world. Today, 6,000 Quality Street sweets are produced every minute – that’s 67 million each week.

Coca Cola

It’s categorically impossible to feel ‘Christmassy’ without seeing Coca Cola’s ubiquitous ‘Holidays are Coming’ advert (unless you’re the Grinch). Wakefield in Yorkshire is home to the UK’s biggest Coca Cola bottling plant, where 6,000 cans of the sweet stuff are produced every minute.

Christmas movies

Elf, the Muppet Christmas Carol, Father Christmas: The Movie, Love Actually, Home Alone. Who doesn’t love a Christmas movie? It’s possible these might never have existed if it wasn’t for a man called Louis Le Prince who in 1888 captured the very first film at Roundhay Park in Leeds – well before Thomas Edison or the Lumiere brothers.

Board games

Once all the hype of Christmas is over and you get to Boxing Day how do you keep yourself occupied? Getting the whole family involved in a game of Cluedo, that’s how. Leeds-based Waddingtons is credited with being the first company to create the light laminate coating you see on playing cards today. It was also the company behind Cluedo, which launched in 1949.