With the departure of Hallowe’en, it’s socially acceptable to discuss Christmas in the UK, though I suspect the USA has to get past Thanksgiving before giving in to the seasonal traditions. Recent years have the seen the rising popularity of Christmas jumpers (sweaters) revelling in fun knitted patterns. Jumping on this kitsch clothing are Flavr with a range of festive phone cases, riffing on the jumper styling.
Our friends at Roku are indulging in a bit of Christmas fun with their Stuff Your Stocking promotion. It’s a straightforward draw to win goodies such as a 40″ Hisense Roku TV, Roku 3 and Roku Streaming Stick (HDMI Version) along with subscriptions to Sky NowTV, Netflix and Rdio. The exact prizes vary from country and the competition is open to residents of the US, Canada and UK. There are different draws for each country so make sure you follow the right link.
Continuing the Christmas theme, Smashing Magazine have a bunch of unique festive wallpapers for your desktop and other backgrounds needs. Part of their regular monthly programme, the December wallpapers function as calendars too, with dates embedded in the wallpaper, which is pretty handy anyway – no need to start up an app to check the date.
All the heavy lifting has been done too with a range of resolutions for different monitors and desktop sizes – I use them as backgrounds on my tablet and smartphone. The only difficulty is choosing the best. I’ve included a few below but check out over 20 others at Smashing Magazine.
The Christmas season is officially underway with today’s opening of the first door on the Advent calendar. To help get festive, Manuela Langella and Smashing Magazine have produced a great set of Christmas-themed icons for holiday projects. They’ll look fantastic on desktops, websites, cards and invites, and are great fun for children too – your creative ability is the only limit!
The icon set is available under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unportedlicence and is free for private and commercial projects. It’s a 20-odd MB download and the icons come in AI, EPS, PDF, PNG, PSD and SVG formats which covers most needs. Stop making excuses and get making.
Once Hallowe’en is over, the holiday seasons begins in earnest with both children and parents thinking about Christmas presents and toys. Unsurprisingly, the Toy Retailers Association for the UK and Ireland is happy to give some advice on what it considers to be the likely favourites for Santa Claus’ sack and in the festive spirit, here are their top twelve toys of Christmas.
Bop-It! Beats from Hasbro
Disney Frozen Snow Glow Elsa from JAKKS Pacific
Disney Frozen Sparkle Doll from Mattel
Kidizoom Smart Watch from VTech
Little Live Pets Bird Cage from Character Options
Minecraft Figures (Assorted) from Character Options
My Friend Cayla from Vivid Toy Group
Nerf Demolisher 2-in-1 from Hasbro
Benny’s Spaceship, Spaceship, SPACESHIP! from LEGO
Toot-Toot Animals Safari Park from VTech
Transformers Stomp & Chomp Grimlock from Hasbro
Zoomer Dino – Boomer from Spin Master Toys
Aside from the fact that Disney’s Frozen features twice, the other item that stands out is the VTech’s Kidizoom SmartWatch. Smartwatches are hardly mainstream items, yet here they are. At a retail price of less than GB£40, these have to be the cheapest smartwatches available, with some great features, including lots of different analogue and digital clock faces, a colour touch screen, built-in camera, voice recorder (with effects), games and a rechargeable battery. I think there are some adult smartwatches with fewer features!
Pringles are running a Pringles Tree competition in December and each day you can open a virtual Pringles can to reveal the prize within. The prizes are inexpensive but there seems to be a good chance of winning as I’ve picked up a Pringles Speaker and a voucher for 7digital already. Other prizes include on-line games and receipes.
The Pringles Speaker arrived yesterday and it’s much better than I expected. The idea is that the speaker is inserted into the top of a Pringles tube once the contents have been munched. Powered by three AAA batteries (supplied), the sound quality and output is surprisingly good. For sure it’s not hifi and the bass isn’t great but for an impromptu party, it’s perfect. Plug in your mp3 player or smartphone and away you go.
There’s 11 days left of Pringles Tree. Get popping, though it looks like this promotion is for UK residents only.
If you can’t get enough of Rovio‘s Angry Birds (or Angly Birds as my daughter says), then you can satisfy your avian needs over at the Angry Birds on-line store. I’ve seen Angry Birds toys gradually appearing in shops, but I’d no idea there was such a wide range of things, from the expected soft toys to children’s costumes.
The Bad Piggies Egg Recipes looks like an eggscellent (sorry) stocking-filler with around 40 egg-based recipes from the classics to the more interesting – the table of contents is shown on the website.
There’s plenty of other merchandise to choose from too, including iPhone cases and flip-flops! Prices feel a little high at times for what are novelty items but the shop does appear to ship worldwide.
If you got an iPad for Christmas, here’s what you did with it over the holidays, according to mobile telco Three.
– You had your iPad unwrapped and working by 10am on Christmas Day.
– You downloaded Maps, Skype, Angry Birds, ebay, YouTube and Sky Sports News apps.
– You visited Google search, iTunes and Facebook the most often, followed by ebay. Were you selling unwanted presents or looking for the gift you didn’t get?
– While you were out and about and using 3G data, you were using GPS navigation, reading news websites and playing games. You were also dreaming about your next holiday, surfing travel sites.
– But it wasn’t until Boxing Day that you really got to play with your new toy.
I know this isn’t exactly surprising but I think it captures in a snapshot the essence of consumer technology and activity at the end of 2010. Remember the iPad didn’t exist at Christmas 2009, Angry Birds wasn’t yet the phenomenon it was to become and no doubt 2011 will bring its own crazes and defining technology. It will be interesting to look back at this in a year’s time and see what’s changed.
As the festive (silly) season gets under way, the folks at Buffalo Technology polled 3,000 people on their favourite Christmas films. Topping the chart is comedy Home Alone starring Macauley Culkin, followed by Frank Capra’s 1946 classic, It’s a Wonderful Life. Rounding out the medal positions is the animated adaptation of Raymond Briggs’ The Snowman. Miracle on 34th Street and White Christmas complete the top 5.
The full top 20 festive family flicks is:
It’s a Wonderful Life
Miracle on 34th Street (1994)
A Christmas Carol
Santa Claus: The Movie
The Wizard of Oz
The Muppet Christmas Carol
National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
The Nightmare Before Christmas
The Polar Express
The Muppets Christmas Carol
Home Alone 2
Back to the Future
Maculey Culkin and Home Alone….what were they thinking! And where’s The Sound of Music? It’s a Christmas classic.