Now that the gift guide season is over for another year and we can draw the curtains on the most heavily PR’ed event of the calendar, I thought I might share three observations. No use to you for another year, of course, but pin them to your fridge ready for next time…
1. It’s a crapshoot. I’m sure some publications pride themselves on the care and meticulous planning that they put into their gift guides but I have to say that here on The Times it is a haphazard affair. The guides seem to be done on a whim and everyone piles in when the cry goes out (generally a couple of days before press day). Then the section editor casts an eye over it, throws out a few things they don’t like the look of, and suddenly you have to fill the gaps with “anything blue for less than £30” or “something vaguely eco, but not another bloody vegan cook book”. How anything makes it through the process is a mystery to me.
2. Given the last-minute panic, always make sure you tag your gift suggestions with the words “Christmas gift” somewhere in the email. Otherwise I’ll never find it when I do an urgent trawl of my inbox. “Festive treats”, “Just what Santa ordered”, etc, don’t work. As I’ve said before, originality is often a boon, but sometimes it pays to keep things obvious.
3. I don’t mind PRs who badger me to tell them if their suggestion has made the cut (although as per above, sometimes I have no more idea than they do). What I do mind is PRs who are constantly on my case but who, when I email to say, yes, they have made it, don’t email back to say thanks. That’s just common courtesy. In truth, I will probably forget who they were by next year, but if I didn’t, they’d be off my Christmas list