Lap lands Selfridges Santa landed with the sack despite his chief elf warning him on plenty of occassions. Claus was kicked out of Selfridges’ grotto for inviting a grandmother to sit on his lap
Andrew Mondia, 32, had been hired by Selfridges as one of their troupe of Santas dishing out Christmas cheer and presents in the London store’s grotto. But he claims he was sacked after only three days on Monday after a grandmother complained that he had invited her to sit on his lap.
Mondia, who splits his time between acting and promotional work, said he was sad that he offended one of his clients. “I had no intention of offending her, I just wanted to include her in the moment. Christmas is for adults too,” he said.
The company said it is made clear to potential Santas during their training that no one should sit on Santa’s lap and Santas must certainly not “promote or proactively seek” anyone to do so.
Brings a new meaning to Santas Sack!!
GERMANY is facing a Santa Claus shortage in the run-up to Christmas, as new recruits fail to meet high Teutonic standards of jollity and expertise.
Job agencies, which are currently conducting a desperate last-minute recruitment drive, have reported a distinct lack of jolly, rotund, fluffy-bearded Santas with no criminal records.
Among the tough criteria are a suitably low voice, child-friendliness, good German, not too youthful, and a full repertoire of Christmas poems and songs. For good measure, they must show spontaneity and energy.
“It takes a lot to be a good Santa,” said Tarik Kilinc of the Heinzelmaennchen agency in Berlin. “About 10% don’t make it through the casting process.
“Just handing out presents isn’t enough. Our Santas have to sing songs with the families and talk to the parents about their children and the evening’s arrangements,” he added.
“The kids want to see sleds and reindeer and you need calm nerves to deal with that,” Kilinc said. “Every year it becomes harder to recruit people.”
Source: The Times
A man who has celebrated Christmas every day for the last 14 years with a full roast dinner, champagne and presents is scaling back his celebrations because of the credit crunch.
Andy Park, known as Mr Christmas, has munched his way through 117,600 sprouts, quaffed 5,110 bottles of Moet, and sent himself more than 230,000 Christmas cards since his festive fetish began.
But this year the 44-year-old electrician, from Melksham, Wiltshire, is having to make swingeing cuts to keep his unique devotion to Yuletide on the road.
Mr Park, a divorcee, said: “I’ve been through 37 electric ovens and worn out 23 video recorders by watching the Queen’s Speech every day. I’ve also sent myself 235,206 Christmas cards. But these days the postage is so dear I’m having to deliver them myself.
“The credit crunch is getting to me big time and I may even have to cut out the champagne and start singing for my Christmas dinner.
“The lunch with all the trimmings and alcohol is costing in excess of £150 a week, but I’m fighting hard not to let the financial crisis ruin the celebrations.
“I’m not being tight but a few of the little extras are having to go. I’m only having one Christmas tree this year, instead of two, and I’m cutting back on the Christmas lights because of energy bills.
“I used to get a 14lb turkey, now I’m going for a 9lb one. I refuse to compromise on champagne and always have Moet, but now I’m having to make it last two days.”
Every morning since July 14 1994, the father of one has breakfasted on mince pies and sherry, before opening the presents he has bought for himself. Then he eats a full roast turkey lunch and watches the Queen’s Speech on video, his favourite being her “annus horribilis” address.
When he last took stock of his intake in October, Mr Park calculated that he had consumed 5,110 turkeys, 94,080 mince pies, 28,224 roast potatoes, and opened 204,400 Christmas crackers.
Explaining the moment his life changed, Mr Park said: “I’ll never forget the day it started. The sun was shining, but I was just feeling fed up and bored, so I went home and put the decorations up. Suddenly I was happy. I thought, this is fun. So I did it again the next day, and the day after that.
“People do think I’m crackers, but I enjoy treating myself and I’m the only one in the world who does it. Others have tried to copy me, but they can’t last.
Maybe Mr Christmas should have a go on our Happy Christmas Turkey Scoffing Game?
Source: The Telegraph
In the build up to Christmas we will be giving you advice and assistance to help you plan, be safe and get the best from Christmas.
Be Prepared, Shop early to take advantage of the widest choice and pre-Christmas Sales.
Put money aside into a Christmas fund each month throughout the year, to make Christmas more affordable.
Before buying any Christmas Presents decide how much you are going to spend on everyone and write lists of everything you need to buy. Keep to your lists and try to avoid impulse buys.
Buy from reputable traders. Don’t fall for counterfeit goods. Clothes, CDs computer games, DVDs perfume, aftershave and videos are all popular with counterfeiters. Look at the price of the goods. If it is too cheap, it is probably fake. Check the quality of the packaging and check for spelling mistakes.
Look for bargains online, online shopping is becoming very popular. Remember pay for items over £100 by credit card – this gives you extra protection but make sure you are buying from a secure site when you give your credit card details. Never send your credit card details by e-mail.
Beware of scams especially of sites that say “this is not a scam” - reputable traders don’t need to say this.
AT THE CHECKOUT
Different shops have different policies. Check the shop’s policy on unsuitable goods. You do not have an automatic right to a refund on unsuitable goods. Some shops will offer a refund on unsuitable goods while others will just offer credit notes or exchanges. Some may not offer anything. It is up to the shop what its customer policy is. Check on time periods for returning unsuitable goods. This can also vary from shop to shop.
KEEP ALL RECEIPTS
You will need the receipts if the presents are unsuitable and the shop is prepared to offer an exchange. It is always useful to have receipts if you have bought something that is faulty. If you pay by credit card check your receipts against your statements. If you purchase your presents online ensure you keep all email confirmations sent to you from the e-tailer.
Take care when buying toys. Always check for the CE safety mark and make sure the toy is suitable for the child’s age.
Use cash for small purchases and check your change. Use your credit card for items over £100 for extra protection.
CHECK YOUR PURCHASES
Test any toys you buy to make sure they work, and that all the accessories are there. Check if they need any batteries and buy these so that the toy can be played with on Christmas Day.
If something you have bought is faulty return it as quickly as possible. Delays in returning faulty goods can affect your rights.
TOP 10 TIPS ON RETURNING GOODS AFTER CHRISTMAS
Go back to the shop as soon as possible, but NOT on the day they start their sale!
Do not remove labels if you think goods might be unsuitable and may have to be returned
Keep unsuitable goods safe and secure and preferably not in a smoky atmosphere
Bring the receipt – most shops ask for this when unsuitable goods are being returned
Check the shops policy. If the shop says its policy is to offer exchanges or credit notes on unsuitable goods THIS IS REASONABLE
Know your rights. If you have bought faulty goods you can ask for a refund or a repair or a replacement. Exactly what you are entitled to depends on the particular circumstances of your complaint
Remember shops do NOT have to give refunds on unsuitable goods unless this was agreed before the goods were bought
Being told you can bring goods back does NOT necessarily mean the shop will give a refund. It may just be offering an exchange or credit
Different shops have policies on unsuitable goods. This is legal. In law shops do not have to make any offer at all when someone is returning unsuitable goods.
KEEP CALM – DO NOT LOSE YOUR TEMPER! Do not be rude about the item, especially if the person who bought it is with you. Be polite and friendly and expect the assistant to want to help you – they usually do! Smile! It can work wonders
It’s a seductive deal: a pre-loaded “easy shop” card which lets you spend up to £500 at Argos, and repay the money in monthly instalments. But there’s a rather big sting: the interest rate can be as high as 222.7%.
Price comparison website uSwitch.com this week warned cash-strapped consumers, struggling to afford Christmas presents, to avoid expensive loans marketed by doorstep credit firms. Some of these come in the form of pre-paid plastic cards and gift vouchers accepted by popular, well-known stores. It comes amid mailings being sent out nationwide by Provident Personal Credit, the largest doorstep-collection home lender, to promote its products.
These include the “easy shop” card which comes with a pre-loaded loan of £100-£500 to spend in any Argos store (or pass on as a gift to someone else to spend) which borrowers then have to pay back in fixed weekly instalments at a typical APR of 222.7% over 27 weeks or 183.2% over 56 weeks.
Weekly repayments are collected immediately, even if the cardholder has not spent anything. The lender also sells gift vouchers - which work in the same way, with an APR of up to 222.7% - that can be spent in 97 high street stores including Woolworths, Topshop, HMV, Debenhams and House of Fraser.
Louise Bond, personal finance manager at uSwitch.com, says: “Despite being attached to well-known and trusted brands, people shouldn’t be fooled into thinking these are anything other than a sub-prime loan with an inflated APR.
“It seems they are just cashing in on desperate consumers who need relatively small amounts of money quickly. These customers may not care how much they have to pay back as they are just focused on the Christmas period.”
Provident Personal Credit’s main business is offering small cash loans - normally between £50 and £500 - to people on low incomes who often have a poor credit history. An agent calls to collect a fixed repayment each week.
Interest rates on cash loans are even higher than those on the store-linked gift vouchers and card. A £300 cash loan repaid at £15 a week over 31 weeks, for example, will end up costing £465 - a typical APR of 365.1%. Yet, despite the higher cost, 90% of the lender’s 1.7 million existing customers opt for cash loans.
“We can give a slightly better rate on vouchers and cards than for cash because we negotiate a discount on products with the retailers who accept them,” says Provident spokesman David Stevenson. “But most want cash because they can spend it anywhere they find a bargain.”
Bond adds: “We’d strongly advise people to exhaust every other avenue first before (taking out these sorts of loans) and to consider scaling down your spending.”
Source: The Guardian
NIGELLA Lawson has told how she once made her children give their Christmas presents to charity.
The domestic goddess wanted to show her teenage daughter and son how lucky they are. She said they could only keep one gift and the rest went to the Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children in London.
In reference to an earlier blog I mentioned that I was given an unusual Christmas gift, a night in the Lowengraben Jail Hotel in Lucerne, Switzerland (Jail Hotel). In fact it is the only jail hotel in Switzerland!
Below are a few pictures from our stay, not the most luxurious of hotels but quirky none the less!
So with Christmas over for another year we ask you what your most unusual Christmas Gifts were that you recieved this year?
While staying in Switzerland this year I was given a nights accomodation in Luzern, very nice! However, the hotel was a converted prison with each of the cells acting as hotel rooms, eery!
Pictures coming soon…
For a second year running UK high streets have completely sold out of the Nintendo Wii. Consumers are now desperately scouring the web in order to find the jewel in the crown of Christmas presents this year.
The Wii Console in the UK normally retails for £179 ($360) however online with auction sites like ebay, Wiis are exchanging hands at over £350 ($700) with one desperate buyer reportedly paying over £2500 ($5000) for one!!
We use a couple of games consoles providers for our Happy Christmas shop, so if you are looking to buy one give these a try. But make sure to let us know your stories and how you are get on!
The Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) in Great Britain has put a restriction on the movement of reindeers and other livestock this winter due to the latest outbreak of bluetongue disease.
With events and celebrations up and down the country looking set to be cancelled it leaves one big questions, how is Santa going to deliver his presents? He could always consider, the Tube, BA, or by Bus. However knowing what transport is like on the British Isles kids will still be waiting in March!
Don’t worry kids, I am sure Dasher , Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen and Rudolph will all be fine!