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This Christmas, we’ve opted not to send gifts to our clients – but to help a local charity instead. Our chosen charity, The Rainbow Centre for Children, provides free and professional support to children and their families affected by life threatening illness and bereavement.

They do amazing work with limited resources – so to help out, we’ve donated a pile of books. Ranging from ‘Badger’s parting gift’ to ‘Gruffalo’s Child’ (and plenty in between) we chose titles that help kids come to terms with loss – and some that simply provide a bit of fun and escapism.

The Rainbow Centre is a really inspirational charity, doing very important work. To find out more about them – or even donate yourself this Christmas – please go to www.rainbowcentre.org.uk

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Pop the cork and pour the wine, it’s Christmas! Or Xmas. Or Yuletide. The holiday season’s got a language all of its own. Here we look at the meanings behind some festive, favourite words… that describe everything from booze to decorations.

Eggnog – We’ve been writing a lot about alcohol for clients recently, which got us thinking about the strange name of this winter warmer. The ‘egg’ part is fairly self-explanatory, but what about the ‘nog’? One theory is that it comes from ‘noggin’; a Middle English word for a carved wooden mug for ale, otherwise known as a ‘nog’. Well, it’s a theory, at least.

Mince pies – That tasty Christmas Eve pastry treat once contained a ‘delicious’ mix of currants, raisins and orange rind – along with minced mutton and beef. The once-literal name remains, but we now prefer a less meaty version of ‘mincemeat’ as a filling.

Tinsel – this gaudy garland has a bright, simple etymology: estincelle, Middle-French for ‘spark’. Adopted in medieval England the term, ‘tinsel’ soon came to describe anything showy of little real worth. But love it or hate it, no Christmas tree is properly dressed without it.

Mistletoe – most people don’t think about the meaning of this word when they stand beneath it and pucker-up. Which is a good thing. Because the Old English word it comes from, ‘misteltan’ means ‘dung twig’, describing how its seeds were spread in bird droppings. One to remember after one too many eggnogs!

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Christmas comes but once a year, and it’s traditional for brands to splash out on all-singing-all-dancing festive ads.

But it’s social media that’s proving invaluable in helping brands connect with their customers on a more personal level. Of course, most brands worth their Santa hats are on Facebook and Twitter. But only a handful have successfully cut through the online Christmas clutter this year with truly fun and engaging ideas.

A #gift for cross-selling

John Lewis created one of the most loved Christmas ad campaigns recently; launched by Twitter with a teaser featuring the hashtag #sleepingbear.

Following on from the beautifully crafted TV commercial, the concept took off in all sorts of directions. The John Lewis Bear even tweeted endearing musings such as 

‘Only one more sleep till…. oh wait. Till what? Zzz z zzzz zzz zzz zzz’

As well as the video of the ad, there were extra links to buy the soundtrack, cuddly toys and personalised Christmas cards featuring Bear, Hare and all their forest chums.

Coca-Cola GB also took the personal messaging theme to heart with its 12 Good Deeds of Christmas. This invited people to get involved by, for example, ‘Paying someone a compliment they weren’t expecting’ on its Twitter page.

But it’s the Marmite campaign that takes the crown for taking online interaction to ingenious new levels. At the Oxford Street Christmas lights switch-on event, people could upload their photo via an app and have their face appear on high, Marmite- sponsored screens – smiling if they ‘love it’, grimacing if they ‘hate it’.

If you want to ensure your brand’s tone of voice is working well on social media every day – not just for Christmas – call us to find out what we could do on 01225 731 373.