The Silver Bauble - Intro


Welcome to the first edition of “The Silver Bauble”, the Christmas UK newsletter!

We’re going to be trying a few new things this year, and TSB (unfortunate acronym!) is the first of these. We’ve been throwing a few ideas around, and there’s a strong desire to do something a little more in-depth to complement our news feeds, so we’re looking forwards to see where this newsletter takes us.

But First, This…

It’s the start of July, and a few days into the heatwave - or what the UK should start getting back into the habit of calling “Summer”. It’s 28C outside, barely cooler indoors, and naturally we’re talking about Christmas. It’s worth it, though - Christmas Press Show season is upon us, and the excitement surrounding Christmas In July has got to us. And when the opening gambit is Ocado’s Mint Choc Chip Stilton, you know that weird and wonderful things await us.

Have you noticed that we rarely take notice of Christmas until June 25th? There’s a reason for that… Way, way back, in 2010, Nick and I were wondering if anyone shared our nerdiness for Christmas. We’re not the sort of people who wish it could be Christmas every day - the old waistline could never tolerate it - and we’ve never really wanted to see Santa and snow scenes until we got closer to the big day. We’re also in our forties and a bit farty, so the sight of Santa, Rudolph, and all the other merry minions begins to grate quite quickly soon after the previous season’s decorations have been packed away.

“Why isn’t there,” I said to my friend Nick, “a Christmas website for adults?”

Nick raised an eyebrow at me, and reached for the Google search engine on his phone.

“No!” I said, before he could start typing something I may regret. “I mean all of the Christmas websites I’ve seen have really been aimed at children and families, so they’re full of cutesy characters, Santa’s everywhere, and they soon get very samey.”

Nick put his phone down, the screen unsullied by what he was about to uncover, and had that faraway look on his face that either meant he was thinking something through, or that there was trouble ahead. “Hmmm,” he pondered. “They’re usually out of whack with what is happening at the time. I remember seeing a countdown Twitter feed posting on Boxing Day - with all seriousness - that it was 364 days till Christmas Day and that they’re ever-so-excited about that. I was still fighting the hangover from the previous Christmas Day!”

It was then we figured out the sort of Christmas website we’d like to see - something that followed what was happening in the Christmas Run-Up as the country (and that’s the UK, not the generally-American websites we had seen) made its preparations for the season, whilst throwing in a healthy dose of nostalgia. Nick in particular enjoyed the rabbit hole that was the Christmas advert archive on YouTube - surely there must be others who felt the same?

We’d make this website family-friendly, but gear it for adults - what could go wrong? So, in 2010, we began a Blogspot blog called Christmas Countdown UK and started blogging.

It didn’t quite work for us, though. We didn’t really know how to do this, but we were finding writing many long blog entries a day a bit of a chore - even in the short run of that blog, we found we were soon saying the same things in different ways. The blog soon floundered as we returned to the drawing board. We needed something easier to create, and something that would cover the highlights of the UK’s Christmas Run-Up.

It was Nick who first suggested Facebook and Twitter feeds. Being the technical type, he knew all about how to post to these social networks and had a few pointers about keeping the associated text brief and to the point. I felt that a website of our own would also go well with it, but Nick said, “don’t run before you can walk!”. He’s the practical sort, annoyingly…

So in 2011, we began the social media feeds at the 97-days-to-go point - completely coincidental to our current 100-days-to-go approach - and the idea had legs. Enough people followed us to convince us to complement the social media feeds with a website the following year, and we are where we are today. This works for us - we’d quickly get bored if this was a 24/7/365 Christmas site, especially if we went for the broader appeal that other websites go for.

We’re unashamedly nerdy about Christmas, and we’re proud to have you as part of our tribe.

But now we want to get back to our roots and do something a little more long-form every now and then - and if you’ve reached this far in the newsletter, then you think so too!

What’s Next?

Now you know where we’re coming from, in the next newsletter we’ll begin taking a closer look at what’s been appearing in the Christmas Press Shows, and we’ll also suggest a movie or two to watch out for on Movies 24 now that they’re doing Christmas In July. These newsletters will be sporadic to begin with, but should hopefully be weekly as we get closer to the big day. Naturally we’ll alert you all when a new issue has come out!

Until next time…

Christmas UK on Twitter