For the first time since I launched ToyTalk, there has been no Christmas in July to get excited about.
I am well aware that there have been other events staged this year, all very useful in their own right, but I’m talking about the event staged by Evolution PR, which acted as a kind of mini toy fair in the middle of the year and helped us all to get geared up for the big push to Christmas.
I was always a huge fan of this. Just as the year started to lose momentum, you would get a welcome boost, with a good selection of companies showcasing new products due to launch in the autumn.
It was a great way of keeping in touch with familiar faces, meeting a few new ones and having a chat with other journalists in the field.
The first few times I attended Christmas in July, it was held at the Hellenic Centre, and I clearly remember some of the highlights. Having a go at the new Rubik’s 360, trying out the Hive game from Tantrix and marvelling at the Air Hogs Zero Gravity Micro Car from Spin Master.
The event moved to the Camden Centre for the last few years, where soaring temperatures made the huge fans the best place to hang-out between visits to the various stands.
It was always a little incongruous to see Christmas decorations and munch on a mince pie while wrestling with the summertime heat, but if the Aussies can manage it, then so can we, and there was a rather charming air of British eccentricity about the whole thing.
All of this meant I was very disappointed to hear that Evolution was shelving the event this year.
It was always buzzing with visitors when I attended, and from a journalist’s viewpoint it served a very useful purpose (and you got a very impressive goody bag at the end of the day as well).
Add this to the fact that I was unable to attend the Toy Fair in January and I’ve felt strangely detached from the industry all year.
Evolution has said there are plans for a new event, and I’ll await news on that with interest, but my big wish would be for them to find a way to make their July showcase work again.
This is one industry where Christmas shouldn’t come just once a year.