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Can we get a Secret Santa 2.0 going by next week? Y'know, for charity…

Can we get a Secret Santa 2.0 going by next week? Y'know, for charity…

Time was, when the UK blogosphere was concentrated in the power of a few key individuals, thinkblank.com had a Secret Santa every year where you could give a random blogger a gift, and get a random gift back. The great thing with this approach was that you were almost encouraged to stalk said blogger for a while, to see what they’d like and want.

This year, the only example of a Web Secret Santa I’ve found so far has been Firebox’s Global Secret Santa, whereby you buy a gift (from a limited range) for someone via Firebox, and someone else buys you a gift (from the same limited range). Which almost seems a step backwards in the world of Secret Santas.

So …

Would there be any interest in a Web 2.0 Secret Santa for bloggers whereby people register, they’re given the details of someone else who’s registered, and told to buy an appropriate gift worth £10 or less for them? Optionally, if they buy it through an affiliate site like Amazon, the commission is then donated to a charity…

Are there any savvy database types who could knock up an appropriate database and website in 7 days?

Is this a really really stupid idea?

Where's the Fairytale of New York?

Where's the Fairytale of New York?

Update: Heard it on 6 December. Hurrah. Christmas can now officially start!

Despite having spent the last three days trotting around all the shopping centres that Manchester and Cheshire have to offer – in the hunt for a new pair of spectacles actually! – and spending countless hours on shopping websites, I still don’t quite feel that Christmassy.

It’s partly because I’m still a bit ill so instead of rich mince pies I’m mostly craving plain jacket potatoes – and half-dreading the 12-hour drink fest that is the annual works Christmas party this weekend with special mystery guest star.

But it’s mostly because despite all the driving around and listening to the radio at work all day, I still haven’t yet heard The Fairytale of New York by the Pogues and Kirsty MacColl. The definitive bitter-sweet Christmas tune, and one that never fails to give me Christmassy memories, such as snow falling on an American car park. Ahhh, snow, where have you gone?

Has it been taken off mainstream UK radio? Has it now been deemed too unChristmassy? Is there a mass conspiracy behind its’ disappearance off UK Radio? Or is it just me?

Watch out for Christmas

Watch out for Christmas

I had to head into town to do a little last-minute Christmas shopping (with my hectic schedule this week, today was actually the last lunchtime I realistically had to pick up last-minute bits and pieces).

So thus, while I was carrying my pack of toilet paper across the city centre, really annoying sales people kept interrupting my path. People selling The Big Issue. People selling gift-wrapping paper. Chavs selling mistletoe. Evil market traders pushing plush toys on little kids while their despairing parents struggled to figure out how they were going to pay for it.

But the worst of the lot has to be the watch sellers. There they are, standing on street corners, hawking their wares. Why? I defy you to find anyone who doesn’t already have a watch. You only have one wrist, one time zone. Why would you need more than one watch?

You know your nearest and dearest are really struggling for present ideas when they end up giving you a watch from a market trader for Christmas. Or perfume or aftershave, for that matter.

Then again, I find myself every year giving books, CDs or DVDs to the people I love and my friends. And every time, those books/CDs/DVDs tend to sit there, unused, unwatched, unloved. I think I need to broaden my gift-giving horizon next year. If I can afford to.

First signs of Christmas

First signs of Christmas

Joining in on blog cliche no.173, the first ugly sign of Christmas reared itself into my ordinary life today when, having a coffee at a train station waiting with someone, the music playing was a cover version of Silent Night.

For goodness’ sake, Halloween isn’t even over yet.

I had a false start earlier this month when I heard the best Christmas song of all time – Fairytale of New York (a song which has on occasion brought a moistening of my eye, depending on how drunk I am) was playing on Radio 1 in mid-October, but fortunately, it turned out to be a “Identify this song” moment in a music quiz of some kind.

And so far this year, I’ve yet to decide where to go on holiday, let alone Christmas. Although flights to San Francisco for November are now a bargain £170 on British Airways, apparently.

Ronan Keating ruined my Christmas mood

Ronan Keating ruined my Christmas mood

There I was, getting ready for a day of being Birthday’ed/Christmas’ed/whatever. I’d had a good night’s sleep, had a vague list in my head – although I didn’t check it twice.

I got my haircut. I even bought some tinsel to go along with my first ever Christmas tree (thank you Nia!) and some icicle lights to dangle over my balcony. So now the whole of Cardiff City Centre can see how tacky and sentimental I’ve gotten.

However, all that gets ruined when I hear, in some shop somewhere, Ronan Keating and Maire Brennan’s terrible cover version of Fairytale of New York (which has apparently been around since November 2000)

Now I loved the original version with Kirsty MacColl and Shane McGowan. It had the right edge of yearning, sentimentality, hope, despair, blackness and venom. Plus it was the right side of Irish.

This cover version Guinesses’s ups the Irish accent, to the point when I half expect amateur actors to be singing it at all Callaghan’s pubs. And of course, they change the lyrics to replace “you cheap lousy faggot” to “you’re cheap and you’re haggard.” – the same song that even US radio seems to play fine without any lyrical changes.

Grrrr. Anyway, time to compile my Christmas / December hits CD. So there’s that, Pet Shop Boys’ Always On My Mind, The Farm’s All Together Now, and Soul II Soul’s Get A Life. What else is there?

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