Christmas Gift Guides: a sea of stereotypes and predictability

Xmas gift guideAs the start of December draws near, so the annual avalanche of Christmas Gift Guides arrives in every publication possible.

At some point during October (or even earlier), every magazine, newspaper or ecommerce website office around the country has the same inevitable meeting that results in some poor soul being commissioned to source the products for the gift guide.

More often that not, the guide is ‘helpfully’ split up into stereotypical categories, such as “Gifts for Him”, “Ideas for Her”, “For the awkward uncle”, which are simply an excuse to trot out the same sort of tat that appears every year.

There are two reasons why I find these utterly depressing: Continue reading “Christmas Gift Guides: a sea of stereotypes and predictability”

Now Christmas has really started!

Christmas treeNo matter how many adverts I see on TV, how many times radio stations play Wham!’s Last Christmas or the number of presents I have/haven’t bought it never really feels like Christmas until the tree is up.

Yesterday, we tootled down the road to a man selling trees from the car park in the local pub. There was no variation in price depending on how much taller some were than others, so we had a look round and, amazingly, found one very, very quickly.

C was happy because it was the tallest one we’ve ever had, A was happy simply because it was a Christmas tree and I was happy because it was a good deal!

Back home, the decorations came out, the lights went up, baubles were hung – much to A’s excitement (see photo) and suddenly it was Christmas in our household.

I even spent an hour or two making some Christmas cards last night – a first for me! Roll on the 25th…

Why buy mince pies in October?

M&S mince pies

Outrage in The Daily Mail today, as M&S have been ‘exposed’ for selling mince pies that have a best-by date of November.

Now on the face of it, this is a perfectly valid story. If you’re buying an obviously Christmas-themed product, you’d expect it to last till the festive season, wouldn’t you?

But then I stopped to think. I know we’re in credit crunch (god, am I fed up with those two words) time and people like to start buying things early, but why would you buy mince pies now – in October – to use on Christmas Day?

I can understand buying crackers or stocking presents. But mince pies?

When I make a batch of mince pies at home, they’re lucky if they last 2 days before starting to be past their best, not 2 months!

What must manufacturers be putting in these pies that allows them to last so long? And more to the point, what are people thinking that makes them decide to buy mince pies in October and expect them to be OK to eat in December.

Let’s face it, it’s the Daily Mail’s fault!