Normally the Christmas shopping season begins in November, or at least sometime after Halloween. However, some more far-sighted people start buying their Christmas gifts in September. Believe me, it happens and it is not just trumped up. No wonder they do that, insanity in shops and standing in line can grind down the most patient person. But that is not what I wanted to talk about. Namely, I found this year’s Christmas catch-phrases in shop-windows very interesting.
I spent yesterday morning looking at slogans, the aim of which was to promote shops. Some of them were very smart, others were less brilliant. As I realised, Christmas slogans were encouraging people not only to buy a present but also to give something as a gift to people we care about:’ Give the joy of a good read’ or ‘Give’. ‘Show you care, give the perfect gift ‘- I found this quite annoying because how does someone designing the slogan jump to the conclusion that gifts have to be perfect? I mean, what is a definition of a perfect gift? Is it an expensive one? Is it bright and very comfy? Is it cheap but interesting? No, no. First of all gifts need to give us joy and raise a smile on the faces of people we give them to.
Another thing I’ve noticed was that all these windows’ epithets were somehow smart, as they were using implied meanings which were invisible to Joe Soap. Generally they were aimed at a particular audience. So, ‘Sales. New lines added’, was supposed to attract ladies hugely interested in fashion, ‘20% off coconut gifts’ was designed for admirers of cosmetics and beauty products, ’The nation’s favourite roll for only 59 p’ was aimed at gourmands and ‘ Party with Lipsy this Christmas’ was addressed to ladies crazy about parties.
Other promotional phrases were quite typical: ’Everyone’s a winner’, ‘Have a free Christmas’, ‘Great value’. ‘Too good to miss’ was quite persuasive but I did not take advantage of the offer.’ Duty free prices’ sounded a bit awkward as what should I care about any duty as I wasn’t at an airport waiting for a flight. Anyway, all these slogans and decorations a la’ Star of Bethlehem’ in bold, bright colours did not charm me enough as there was something missing. When I was looking at the shelf with ‘Christmas essentials’ I realised that outside was snowing and I asked myself: ‘Is this essential for Christmas too?’ Of course, it was. Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!