Every year in October – I know not which exact week – could be the first week but definitely before Halloween – the major chain stores reveal their Christmas theming, decorations, wrapping papers and embellishments. The moment it is out, I am there.
This week, I was in full KMART mode. KMART Australia has done a masterful job of attracting a legion of devotees. I will admit to being a member of a particularly active KMART Facebook group. This is just as well because it was through the group that I found out that KMART released its Christmas goodies at different times in different stores. There was a mighty helpful list of those stores that had gone HO HO HO with the good stuff, leaving me to wait for my local and large KMARNIES to get their Yuletide groove on.
Thankfully it’s all out now and there’s lots to like with lovely Ombre glassware and metallic placements, great wooden toys and crafting materials for the little ones, box above its weight stationery and some fashion items would stand up at any Christmas party. But I only had eyes for the Christmas Decor, theming, Gift Wrapping Paper and Embellishments and here’s my pronouncement on their 2019 offerings…
LET THEIR BE LIGHT
On the A++++ side, KMRT has gone long on the lights. I can remember when novelty shaped lights were new on the scene. They cost a bomb and I should know became I have a cupboard full of butterfly Iights I had to have at a ridiculous price. But KMART has taken things to a whole new level with wonderful shapes, sizes and colours. My absolute pick of the bunch are the Alpine Christmas trees in a bottle at $10 for a strand of 12 trees. My daughter put some up and was run over in the stampede to find out where they were from. The little wooden Scandinavian house shaped lights are really pretty too if Scandi is your look.
There’s lots of fabulous winter wonderland lights under cloches as well as stand-alone shapes – like the ubiquitous letters of the alphabet you can find most places now. I do think there’s a little quality control issue here because some of these lights aren’t finished well. Clearly it was a case of run run as fast as you can for the gingerbread man lights because most were chipped and scratched and one even had a very very grumpy face painted on. I did locate a happier chip free gingerbread light for $2.00 and I think it is rather fabulous especially as I am using it as a present topper on a gingerbread house kit.
Kmart has also gone big on the figurines gaining them a B from me. There are solid stars and particularly straight-backed nutcrackers and herds of deer – many of them sitting down as if they were completely over this Christmas business. I admit to being quite taken with the berry coloured velveteen deer who appeared to have swum in gluhwein and them stomped in a barrel of glitter.
Not all of the figurines work as well as others. I did have my eye on a model vintage caravan. It looked so lovely in the pictures but up close it was a little tinny and I think there’s a few things that fall in that category.
The baubles are a B+. There’s cannisters of baubles in all the traditional colours as well as blush and a regal mix of plums and purples. I do think the KMART box of 25 mini baubles at $2.00 can never be beaten and I have tied these little busters into many a festive bow.
I am not sure the inflatable baubles have hit the mark – I love the idea but many lay unpacked and sadly deflated – an idea that maybe sounded better on paper.
Sorry KMART – it’s a C-. My children had lovely little stockings made by their grandmother. They are grown adults now, but they still cherish the stockings. I have a certain nostalgia for a stocking of a more modest size so the large deer and sleigh into which a small human could fit did not speak to me. Still if big stockings are your thing, there’s plenty from which to choose. I would steer away from the orthopaedic Christmas boots – they are just plain creepy and would be best used in a gumboot throwing competition.
WHAT ABOUT THE WRAPPING PAPER
A bit variable here. One of the larger stores had nothing but disappointing and frankly well picked over rolls of thin gift wrap married with boxes of not terribly special Hallmark papers. Another store had a far better selection with some sweet but certainly seen before motifs of candy stripes, cheery red stripes, trendy faux calligraphy messages, cute dogs and Christmas trees on top of cars. Didn’t mind the Llama paper and I will try that for one my favourite little people. There were a few metallics that looked a bit brassy and a few more metallics on Kraft which have also been about for a few years. Sorry KMART, it’s a B- on the paper.
I use baubles and small decorations for present toppers and table embellishments. Beside the baubles which are very well priced, I found supper cute little wreaths, wooden stars and houses and a box of 4 metallic twines that sparkle well but are a little tricky to tie with. Saw some fairly sad pre-made bows but no ribbons. On my way out, I did walk past a large stand of long candy canes – perfect for tying into a bow. The big thrill was finding green and white candy canes which are devilishly hard to come by. It almost made me forget the sad bows. B+ on the embellishments.
There are some great finds at KMART but like any market darling you have to keep coming up with the fab stuff and I am not sure they have a lot that is genuinely different and new in 2018. So it is a B overall. The good stuff is already well picked over – maybe there is more on the way. One thing I will say – get the fabulous novelty lights and baubles and get them quickly. But if you should happen to miss out, you could always drown your sorrows by pouring yourself a glass of gluhwein and tramping in a barrel of glitter.