Christmas Doesn’t Have to Cost the Moon

John Lewis advertThere’s no doubt that the John Lewis Christmas advert has become a bit of a yearly tradition, here in the UK and this years’ effort is no exception. They can be a little hit and miss for me; last year’s one with the penguins left me distinctly devoid of any warm fuzzy feelings and seemed like a bit of naked profiteering (no shock from a retail giant, to be fair) when a whole bunch of penguin merchandise hit the shelves. The 2015 advert, however, hit me right in the feels…until I learned how much it had cost to make.

According to a bunch of tweets that I saw earlier today, it cost £7 million to make the advert, which seems hugely excessive to me, especially given the fact that the advert seems to hinge on lonely elderly people at Christmas time. I couldn’t help but think that the money would have been better spent on a donation to a charity, such as Age Concern.

Fear not, though, because the clever folk at MyVoucherCodes have made a version of the advert for a fraction of the cost, with the message “Christmas Doesn’t Have to Cost the Moon“, which you can see below:

Okay, so the production levels aren’t quite up there with the John Lewis advert, but considering this one took 7 hours to make as opposed to 7 months, and cost just £700, you can’t really argue!

I was only thinking to myself yesterday that Christmas has become even more commercialised than ever lately. When I was a kid, we got an advent calendar on the 1st December, presents on Christmas Day and spent the next week entertaining ourselves with our new toys. Now, people are giving advent calendars full of Lego or books, kids are getting ‘Christmas Eve boxes’, full of pyjamas and hot chocolate, there’s Elf on the Shelf, not to mention the thousands of “Christmas Experiences” that parents seem to buy into and NEED to take their kids to.

I’ve seen ‘Meet Santa’ experiences advertised for our local farm, shopping centres, GARDEN centres and everything else in between, with some of them costing up to £100 for the privilege of chatting to an old guy in a Santa suit for 2 minutes. Call me cynical, but it just all seems to be getting a bit too much. The problem is though, no one wants to be the only one who didn’t give their child these experiences and memories each year, so we all buy into it for the sake of them.

The thing is, I love Christmas. It’s my favourite holiday and I adore getting to spend time with our family, but the preparations seem to need to start earlier and earlier each year so that you can have the “must have” gifts and get tickets to all the right places. And as much as I’d love to rail against it and say that we’re going back to a simpler format, I just can’t find it in me to say no.

What do you think? Has the whole thing gone a bit bonkers?Do you feel pressure to do all of these new-fangled Christmas traditions or are you brave enough to say no? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.


Chessington World of Disappointments

This post was written by my lovely Husband, Tony.

We boarded the car, I had to do a quick stop to pick up a scotty cameron putter, and headed for Chessington World of Adventure in April, with a view to treating the wee one to a nice day-out on her Easter holidays and despite the cost of tickets we thought it would be a day to remember. Of course, we were right, but it turned out to be memorable for all the wrong reasons.

Seeing as it was sausage’s first experience of a theme park we went through the motions in advance of our visit, checking on the CWA website for height requirements for the rides that she was keen to experience (it was a ‘Zufari’ advert that had piqued her interest) and after a short session with the tape measure we found that she was above the required limit – hooray!

With the formalities taken care of we packed the car on a damp and grey morning and made for Surrey.

Upon arrival we weren’t terribly surprised to see a large queue of cars as it was a school holiday and quickly made our way in and up to the parking area. But the queuing, which was manageable outside, was a nightmare on the wet field which the park employs as a car-park. Having been directed down one of the sloped lanes to park our car we were shocked to find very little space for people to disembark, forcing both children and adults to mill around in the path of oncoming vehicles.

On a metalled surface that would have been bad enough, but this was a churned up field, with only plastic duck-boards spread out to offer cars traction. Stopping and maneuvering was tough and the constant worry of a child straying into the path of our car got our visit to the park off to an unpleasant start which was immediately worsened by Sausage slipping on her arse in the mud mere feet from parking cars. This dangerous game may have been a little (a little) easier to swallow had we not been charged to park on top of the £81 cost of visiting.

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