Death by Chocolate

My name is Julie and I am a Chocaholic.

Not to belitte anyone else’s addiction, but this is a serious problem for me.

And it’s become virtually impossible to control, because I am not sure if you’ve noticed, but right now chocolate is EVERYWHERE!! It’s in Holiday gift boxes sent to my office, from well-meaning friends bringing over hostess gifts and perhaps most importantly and most surprisingly in EVERY SINGLE DRUG STORE AISLE IN THE FORM OF VALENTINE’S GIFTS.

What did I miss?

Since when does Valentine’s Day start on January 4th?

Hello. We should at least have a 2-week grace period until January 15th. Right?

I know retailer’s are hard up…but trust me there is just not that much love to celebrate.

Elf on the Shelf

Have you heard about this newest Christmas sensation and budding tradition? elf

It’s called Elf on the Shelf.

I think it’s been around a few years, it seems to be really gaining momentum with parents this season.

My understanding is the Elf watches the children to see if they’ve been naughty or nice. Every night he returns to the North Pole. And every morning he re-appears at a different location in the child’s house.

This last bit is what I think is so clever. By a simple act of moving the Elf, he is then rendered interactive.

Not in the wii or Nintendo DS Way, but in a much simpler and perhaps more powerful way through a combination of parental love and effort and childhood imagination.

This Holiday, Go on a Brand Safari!

Here’s a way to make tedious holiday shopping a bit more palatable.

While your trudging around the malls and stores this holiday season,  don’t look it as a chore, look at it as a brand adventure.

Or at very least… brand research.

Notice which shops have the longest lines, what branded shopping bags are people walking around with.

Ask the shop keepers about the hottest items.

And make a mental note of what people are wearing.

Take your flip cam or a notebook and write it down.

Think about t what trends are revealed by these facts.

And then reflect on how these can be applied to your brand.

Smarter Spending and the Joy of Less

I’m a marketer so of course I want people to buy things.

Like (Virgin) mobile phones and domestic and trans-Atlantic flights for example.

But as we approach another “Black Friday” holiday shopping season kickoff…

Part of me can’t help but think – do we really need all this stuff that’s being advertised?

You may recall a very unfortunate incident when a Wal-Mart employee was actually trampled to death at Wal-Mart during this day.

What could have been so crucial to buy that worked people into such a mob frenzy?

For the last year I’ve been taking a new approach to spending and loving it.

I call it the Joy of Less. I wrote about it last summer.

It started with the onset of the Recession. Like many people, with uncertainty looming, I felt a need to save more and to be more careful with my spending.

But what started as an act of deprivation soon turned in to a source of joy.

Carve out Time for Creativity

pumpkin
I admit Halloween has gotten too crazed and too commercial.

All the candy fueled hoopla and rush to find the perfect costume often gives me a “whopper” of a headache.

But if you can manage past all that, there’s also a positive side.

Halloween is a terrific time for kids (of all ages) to tap into our creativity and get inspired by all the magical, mystical things around us.

Case in point: The Great Jack O’ Lantern Blaze at Van Cortlandt Manor in Croton on Hudson, Westchester.

(Under an hour from Manhattan by train).