The worst Christmas presents ever!

The hype, the build-up, the excitement – Christmas comes but once a year and for most of us it’s a joyous and happy time to spend with family and friends. We look forward to the food and drink, and even though we know that Christmas is about giving and not receiving, we look forward to the Christmas presents too!

Here at, we organise a Secret Santa with only one rule – well two if you count the secret bit, but we’re not always very good at that – you can only spend one pound! It might seem frugal but it’s actually good fun and puts no pressure on anyone to spend lots of money, but it also opens up the floor to some pretty useless gifts!

That got us talking about presents and the conversation soon turned to those presents we’ve received that have been a little unusual, useless or even downright ridiculous. Many of the men amongst us all moaned about receiving some sort of power tool at Christmas, however most of the women saw that as thoughtful and useful yet complained about the blenders, toasters and kettles that they had received!

One of our admin girls explained how one year she was a little bewildered to find a house phone under the tree on Christmas morning; her eager husband, and giver of strange present, proudly stated that it had a loud speaker button so she didn’t have to stop doing housework while she talked on the phone! No surprise that he’s now her ex-husband!

Men also complained about receiving novelty ties and socks with one adding that his mother-in-law bought him socks every year but always in the child size rather than the adult! I have to say, my kids all got pairs of ‘odd socks’ off their teenage cousins this year which they thought were brilliant (or ‘sick’ as they like to say!)

Other useless gifts mentioned included a novelty fridge magnet that didn’t stick, a crossword toilet roll, a turkey thermometer – useful to some but not the vegetarian who received it, a shoehorn, a bonsai tree kit and a car ice-scraper mitten for someone who can’t even drive. The first prize for naff Christmas presents here in the office though has to go to the unfortunate girl who one year received a book that had already been read!
So come on share your stories with us in the comments below, what is the worst Christmas present that you or someone you know has ever received? Or are you willing to admit that you have knowingly sent someone something that you knew they would hate?


Essential Turkey visa information

The Turkish Consulate has announced new regulations for the entry visa to Turkey. The current Stamp Visa and Banderole (sticker) will be abolished on the 10th April 2014, and from the 11th April 2014 all tourists entering Turkey will have to apply in advance for a visa online.

Visas must be purchased on the Turkish Government website at and will cost 20 US dollars or the equivalent in sterling for UK travellers.

Further information can be found at

Turkey is a top travel destination for many British tourists who return year after year to its sun laden shores, historical sites and varied nightlife. Turkey is the place where east meets west and where both modern and traditional cultures combine.

Turkey holidays offer something for every budget from rustic self-catering apartments to luxurious 5 star hotels. Whether you prefer the picturesque charm of Olu Deniz, the family hotels in Bodrum, lively Kusadasi or party favourite Marmaris, Turkey holidays make the perfect last minute holiday destination for the whole family.

Top 20 worst Christmas cracker jokes

We all moan about them but we all scramble on the floor to find them! Yes Christmas cracker jokes are often the butt of jokes themselves, but we all secretly look forward to the lunch table tradition, perhaps in the vain hope that this year we might actually get a funny one and more importantly – one that we haven’t actually heard before!

Here at we asked all the budding comedians in our office to tell us their favourite Christmas cracker jokes. I’d like to say the afternoon was side-splittingly funny but there was more groaning than laughter! Here is the top 20 and one thing we did learn about ourselves during the process – we love a bit of cheese!

• Which athlete is warmest in winter?
A long jumper

• What do you call a man who plays with leaves?

• Who hides in a bakery at Christmas?
Mince spies

• How do you stop a skunk smelling?
Hold his nose

• What do you get if you eat Christmas decorations?

• What do you call a short-sighted dinosaur?

• What do you call a woman who stands between two posts?

• What’s furry and minty?
A polo bear

• What do you call a penguin in the Sahara?

• Why didn’t the skeleton go to the Christmas party?
Because he had no body to go with

• What’s Santa’s favourite kind of pizza?
Deep pan, crisp and even

• Why did the hedgehog cross the road?
To see his flat mate

• Why would you invite a mushroom to your Christmas party?
Because he’s a fungi to be with

• How do snowmen get around?
On their Icicles

• Why does Santa have three gardens?
So he can Ho Ho Ho

• What do Santa’s little helpers learn at school?
The elf-abet

• Who is Santa’s favourite singer?
Elf-is Presley

• What do you get if you cross a snowman with a vampire?

• What’s the most popular Christmas wine?
“I don’t like brussel sprouts!”

And finally…

• What happened to the man who stole an advent calendar?
He got 25 days

So come on – you know you’re dying to tell us yours! Share your best Christmas cracker jokes in the comments box below and give us all a bit of festive cheer.

5 alternative ways to celebrate Christmas

We all have them even if we think we don’t. From the Christmas tunes playing whilst wrapping the first presents, the carrots left out on Christmas Eve, champagne for breakfast on Christmas Day to visiting Aunty Ethel every Boxing Day, Christmas traditions feature heavily in our annual festivities.

The stool with the wonky leg gets dragged down from the loft (and it’s always mum who gets it), dad always has to wear his Christmas apron just to carve the Turkey and the age old tradition of ‘someone’ forgetting to buy the batteries, they all happen year after year in thousands of households and are so common that we don’t even realise we do most of them.

Traditions around the world vary and whilst some people might think we do strange things here in the UK, some of theirs are pretty unusual too. For example in Egypt, where only 15% of the country celebrate Christmas, they do the Holy Nativity Fast (as opposed to our tendency to over-indulge)  which means they don’t eat meat for the 40 days leading up to Christmas, which they don’t actually celebrate on the 25th December, they wait until the 7th January. Do you think if they celebrated on the correct day they wouldn’t have to fast for so long? If you’re thinking of planning a holiday to Egypt this Christmas, don’t worry as most of the hotels put decorations up even if it does seem a bit strange on a hot sunny day!

Christmas Eve in Greece is a magical time for children, especially the boys who wander the streets singing Christmas carols, known as ‘Kalanda’. Many play the triangle or a drum and they might also carry a boat covered in nuts and painted gold, as boat carrying is a tradition in Greece. What? You’ve never been to Greece and seen a man carrying his boat down the road? They’re not overly fussed on Christmas trees in Greece either; they prefer to have a bowl of water with wire across the rim and a sprig of Basel wrapped around a wooden cross tied to the wire (no idea where they put the fairy!) The mother of the house has to splash some of the water, using the cross and Basil into each room every day to ward off the ‘Killantzaroi’, or evil spirits that come down the chimney – don’t they know that’s just Santa after one too many whiskies?

In Jamaica it’s traditional to hang new curtains whilst hanging decorations – not so strange when I think about someone I know who decorates every year before Christmas, however in similar tradition to us, much of the Christmas Day meal is prepared the night before and the day is spent with friends and family. Christmas pudding is a large part of the Christmas tradition in Jamaica, and the fruit it contains can be marinated for anything up to a year! The drink of choice during December in Jamaica is Sorrel, made from dried Sorrel seeds (a small plant), orange peel, cloves, sugar and, of course – rum! Bet Santa enjoys his trip to Jamaica!

Christmas is huge in Malta and as with most nationalities; the church plays a very big part in the festivities. Every church is decorated with fairy lights and a nativity crib usually made by the congregation. The cribs are decorated with figures such as shepherds and angels and can be very ornate. At midnight on Christmas Eve the figure of baby Jesus is placed in the crib and on the Epiphany, the Magi (three Wise Men) are placed beside him. Traditionally the lady of the house would keep the fattest rooster and cook it in a casserole for Christmas dinner, however as Malta was under British rule for 160 years, the tradition of turkey for lunch has taken over (did you hear all the roosters in Malta heave a huge sigh of relief?)

Roosters also play a part in Christmas in Spain as the Christmas Eve Mass is known as ‘La Misa Del Gallo’ or the Mass of the Rooster – as one is believed to have crowed when Jesus was born – rumour has it they actually do that every day at dawn regardless of a holy birth, but if they want it as a tradition, who am I to argue? The main Christmas meal is eaten on Christmas Eve before going to church and after the service people walk through the streets carrying torches and playing tambourines, drums and guitars. A few gifts might be exchanged on Christmas Day but most are done on the Epiphany on the 6th January and many children believe that it is the Three Kings who bring the gifts. (Does that mean they get three times as much?)

So what are your Christmas traditions? Do you look forward to them every year or do you do the same things just to please other people? One thing is for sure, we know by the end of the festivities you’ll all be ready for a holiday, well as a special present from us to you, we’re giving you up to 70% discount off all of our last minute holidays departing within 8 weeks! Oh yes, silly me…we do that all year round, well that just proves it really can be Christmas every day here at! Ho ho ho!

Top 10 Christmas travel gifts

Which side are you on? The one that says Christmas should be kept in December or the one that hums Slade from mid-October? Well whatever you think of the Christmas spirit (atmospheric and alcoholic!) there comes a day when we have to think about buying gifts. So are you one of those who buy the first thing that they see? Or do you put hours of thought into finding the perfect gift?

Christmas can be a stressful time, but fear not, I am here to help. If you have to buy for someone who likes to travel, camps or glamps, fancies a festival or holidays at least once a year, then relax – I have done a little research and found the ideal Christmas travel gifts for them. ‘Oh no you haven’t!’ I hear you cry! Well ‘oh yes I have!’ From stocking fillers to main presents, there’s something for everyone – even the dog!

The Deeper Sleeper Pillow Headrest – £20.99

The perfect solution for long journeys, the Deeper Sleeper Travel Pillow fits onto aeroplane, bus, coach, train or car seats and allows you to drift off with your head at a comfortable angle rather than doing nodding dog impressions! Ideal for long journeys or anyone who needs a power nap en-route.

Collapsible Kettle – £29.95

An amazing invention for camping trips or long car journeys, the kettle heats by induction, electric or gas stove, it holds just under 2 litres and folds neatly into your bag, backpack or suitcase. Perfect for making sure your well-travelled friends never miss out on the best drink of the day.

The Beach Towel Clip – £9.99

The perfect gift for beach lovers, the Beach Towel Clip comes in a set of 4 and will ensure you never need to use stones to keep your towel from blowing around in the breeze again, choose from orange, white or aqua blue.

SnoozeShade® – from £19.99

We all go overboard on presents for kids at Christmas – Santa sometimes gets carried away! And how much stuff never sees the light of day again? Well this is the perfect solution for babies who travel, but can just as easily be used here in the UK.  There’s a SnoozeShade® to fit all prams and pushchairs which will protect babies from the elements (sun, wind, insects, light rain and chill) and help them sleep on-the-go. Whats more SnoozeShade® are offering all customers £5 discount off any product in their SnoozeShade® range, just use the code LATED5 when you checkout.

Playaway Case – £79

Worth every penny for young travellers (and their parents!), these cases have a removable activity centre built into the cabin sized case. The perfect way to keep kids entertained on flights and long journeys. The removable PlayPod contains an activity pad, crayons, a hidden game, counters, dice and cards,plus there are lots more activities to download for free!

Portable Speakers – £19.99

Perfect for those who travel to the sound of music (just in general of course, not those who wander round singing ‘The hills are alive…) this portable case has an integrated amplifier to deliver great sound, a transparent window for touchscreen devices and even comes with a stand to make it into a mini speaker for your hotel room – perhaps the ultimate gift for teenagers.

Doggy Bag® Microfibre Zip-Up Towel – £44.99

One for all you dog lovers, it’s the perfect gift for those pooches who love to paddle. The towel absorbs sand, mud and 10 times more water than ordinary towels and is available in small, medium and large. The Doggy Bag® is ideal for rainy day walks, bouncing around at the beach or simply after bath time. You and your dog will wonder how you ever lived without one!

Tie Iron – £4.34

Yes we know you could just take your tie off and use a normal iron but the novelty idea and great price make this the perfect stocking filler or even Secret Santa gift for the well suited traveller.

Personalised Map of the World – £45

Available from Not On The High, a brilliant idea for all travel lovers, personalise a map of the world with your own title and sub-title, track journeys of the past, present and future, (see the Christmas connection there?) use pins and photos to reminisce or plan ahead. The Personalised Map of the World comes in various colours to suit any decor and makes an ideal family gift too.

Toilet Seat Covers – £2

When you’ve gotta go, you’ve gotta go! These will just slip in your backpack, handbag or even your pocket for use at your own convenience! (yes I know that’s worse than a cracker joke!) but I’m sure we all know someone in life that we could buy these for, I know I do! Even though the guys at are selling these, I bet there’s a fella in your life that would use them too!

Your friends and families – plus their kids and dogs, will wonder how they ever managed without the gifts you buy them this Christmas. So that’s all your Christmas gift shopping sorted, now it’s time to treat yourself,and what better way than a last minute holiday to the sun!