It’s true what they say, it gets earlier every year. Summer may fitfully yield to autumn; bees, unaware of their imminent mortality, may continue to buzz; the trees are still in leaf; and summer holidays are still green in the memory, but in the minds of those for whom the wheels of commerce grind ever on, it is Christmas.
In the garden centres they are taking out the lawnmowers and putting in the artificial Christmas trees, in the department stores they are stocking the shelves with fairy lights, in the halls of political correctness they are planning this year’s assault on non-inclusive nativity plays and in offices they are drawing up the guidelines for the annual Christmas party (keep your thoughts and your hands to yourself). But nowhere is there more fevered activity than in the airy and brightly lit offices of capitalism’s own gaudy baubles, the PR girls.
Lovely young creatures, many expensively educated, who in a past age would have earned a modest income as ladies’ companions or children’s nannies, are today nursemaids to commerce, here soothing a troubled chief executive officer, there smooching a journalist, ever and anon lunching and gushing. But at this time of the year it’s time to put aside the nailfile, haul up the Dolce & Gabbana slacks and buckle down to promoting Christmas.
And thus you will find them, pretty brows furrowed, chewing on a moody pencil, crafting press releases, which, in a less ecologically aware age would have gone straight into landfill, but in a pleasing, planet-saving symmetry are today instantly pulped and recycled into next week’s press releases.
A few of these Christmas releases have fluttered my way and got caught in my net, and such is the joy of ephemera that I should like to share them with you. They are, I assure you, genuine specimens and will, if nothing else, remind us that however complex and advanced we might think our economy, it is in truth never far from idiocy.
First let us salute Katherine Selby of PR Workshop who contributes the following: “If you are likely to be stressed and anxious at Christmas this year (and let’s face it who won’t be?!) you could try the combination St John’s Wort with Passionflower supplement from the end of November into the New Year.”
You could indeed. But suppose you wash it down with plum pudding and half a pint of whisky? “Perk yourself up with Floracare,” says Katherine. “A gentle and effective way to restore intestinal balance. Just mix two of the sachets with mineral water and take once in the morning and once at night. This introduces favourable bacteria and vitamins to the gut and intestines which, in turn, help to redress a healthy balance after disruption from excess alcohol and rich food.”
Better still, drink low-alcohol wine. That’s the advice of fun-loving trio Elle Denton, Annabel Ward and Julie Doyle from Publicasity. “The key is to drink responsibly and with the Christmas party season set to take hold, Lindemans Early Harvest will help you return to work in the New Year feeling refreshed and ready to embrace the year ahead, rather than in need of another holiday!”Thanks for the tip, girls. And what’s that in my hair? A hibiscus flower since you ask. Thanks for this to Helen Lewis at Food and Drink Towers whose release begins, “If you’re planning a party, Wild Hibiscus Rosella Flowers have the ‘wow’ factor you’ve been looking for… Rapidly approaching the party season, Wild Hibiscus Flowers will win over even the strictest judge at dinner parties, weddings, Christmas, birthdays and New Year’s Eve celebrations.”
But what will the strictest judge – always a must-have guest at my lovely parties – think of the food? No worries, if I follow the advice of Lesley Singleton at LS Media and attend a cookery course at Le Manoir de L’Aufragère, Normandy’s ultimate gastronomic experience. There, she assures me, I shall learn how to prepare an array of cocktail nibbles and craft edible gifts.
My lady guests should look especially fetching this year, thanks to a seasonal tip from Daniella Soar at Betty & Bird: “Be inspired this Christmas by an exciting selection of decorative bra straps. Whatever your taste or budget, spoil your family and friends with these perfect gifts and imaginative stocking fillers this festive season.”
Better still, Sarah Wolf of Diablo PR suggests a string of useful gifts including the “Water Blaster Pest Controller for the cat-hating garden lover”, the Gotcha Fly Swat (for the fly-hating indoor lover?), and the Elvis Speaking Clock (for people who hate living?).
It’s true what they say. Christmas comes, but once a year is enough.