by SHENG DANJIE
DONGGUAN (China Daily Show) – The West may be facing its least-tacky Christmas in living memory, thanks to the recent slump in Chinese exports.
The ongoing Eurozone crisis, combined with disappointing unemployment figures from the US, have reduced demand for cheap, plastic seasonal ornaments manufactured in China by an estimated 46%, a recent World Bank report says.
Manufacturers in China are consequently feeling the pinch.
Hundreds of production lines in the Zhejiang and Guangdong factories, that produce the unsightly plastic bullshit which festoons European and American homes every year, are said to be standing idle.
Experts say this could mean the West’s most tasteful Christmas period in over two decades – when China first began to manufacture camp festive trinkets on an industrial scale in 1991, according to market analysts.
Market researcher Anders Hönigsen says that the recession will harm nearly all sectors of the Yuletide tat industry.
“Internally illuminated plastic dioramas of the first Nativity, multi-coloured spray-snow globes and animatronic, talking Santas: you name it,” Hönigsen told China Daily Show. “You won’t be seeing much of this crap in landfill come next year.”
First to feel the pinch will be the retailers of spindly, pathetic, artificial Christmas trees (pictured, left), experts say.
“These items already represented an utterly fruitless purchase for over 60% of median-income American and European households,” Hönigsen said. “Fortunately, they have now become unaffordable as well.”
With holly-and-ivy prices stagnant, a European mistletoe glut and reports of unprecedented three-for-one offers on IKEA pine-scented wax candles, it seems that – like it or not – many Western families will this year be spending the upcoming Christmas period surrounded by low-key, traditional decorations that can be recycled, and later enjoyed, again and again.
The thought has struck fear in the heart of the commercial sector.
Factory bosses are already hoping to reassure foreign importers that, at the last minute, Western consumers can probably be counted upon to revert to type and mindlessly purchase valueless ornaments – manufactured using precious mineral reserves – to ensure a Christmas as commercialized and soulless as any other.
“We’re delaying our annual, tasteless churn-out until all our orders are through,” claimed Wang Li, president of Wang’s Harmless Toys, a tat company based in Dongguan, Guangdong province. “Waiting stimulates demand, which guarantees production of endless cut-price kitsch.”
Business leaders in Europe are appealing for families spending the holiday season together not to focus on the simple, homespun pleasures of Christmas, but instead to remember the importance of arguing over how much was spent.
“We may need to ratchet up future advertising, so next year’s Christmas marketing bonanza begins in, say, late August rather than early September,” said Alan de Soto of the European Retailers Association.
“Otherwise, we will be faced with the ugly spectre of a so-called modern Christmas – one with homes garlanded by holly, candles burning on the mantlepiece, carols sung around a living, natural tree, and the restrained enjoyment of good food and drink in the bosom of one’s family,” de Soto shuddered. “That’s not what Christmas is all about.”
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