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Christmas in July

July 21: In the throes of editing Create Magazine, I remember walking outside only to realize I wasn’t sure what month we were in. When editing a monthly or quarterly magazine, you have to plan six to 12 months out, so the current date is actually second in priority. I’m sure the editors putting together gift guides for the 2010 holiday season feel the same way right about now.

Over 100 North American consumer magazines printed gift guides in 2009. To gain insight into what these editors are looking for in 2010, refer to last year’s gift guides, most of which are online. You’ll find out what level of creativity they’re looking for, how closely they stick to their themes, and which products they’ve already covered (and probably won’t cover again). Echoing last year’s trend, family-oriented publications are looking for gift ideas that cost $100 or less. Family Circle is especially interested in such gifts targeted at older children.

Parents Magazine’s deadline is fast approaching (July 23). Anyone looking to send in their ideas for the whole family should send an e-mail to the associate lifestyle editor ASAP. They’re also looking for items under $100 that would be perfect for grandparents, carpool buddies, babysitters, petsitters, moms, dads, etc. They’ll take a look at stocking stuffers as well. Making your search easy online, they’ve broken up the gift search into age groups. Look for the Toy Gallery and Fabulous Gifts Under $20 section.

Other editors busily collecting ideas include More Magazine, MacWorld, and Utne Reader, which also publishes Mother Earth News. The theme for More Magazine’s gift guide will be Gifts for Loved Ones Naughty and Nice. Got a daring product suggestion for them?  You’ll want to contact the beauty editor. Last year, More selected a pheromone-laced lip gloss complete with a picture of a man in a three-piece suit who strips to his skivvies when you shake the lip gloss bottle. It was part of their “cougar” themed line up for women. One can only guess what they’ll select for 2010.

MacWorld is likely to have their hands full with the iPad ricochet effect around the U.S. They’ll be doing a guide in print and online. Last year they profiled Great Gear for Under $150,including NovoThink’s $70 “surge” iPhone case, which collects the sun’s rays and uses that energy to power you on the go. They also highlighted the Pro Tools M-Powered Essentials for musicians who wanted studio-recording quality but not the price. Their 2009 selections are still up on their website for anyone researching what to pitch them for 2010.

The Utne Reader’s 2010 Holiday Gift Guide will be published in their November/December issue. As an alternative culture magazine covering everything from politics to pop culture, you can be sure they’re on the lookout for the out of the ordinary. Last year, the savvy magazine realized that most magazines and newspapers have terminated their book reviews sections and writers. So, they suggested giving Bookforum to those who miss their in-depth book reviews as it is packed, cover-to-cover, with the same intellectual material from the days of yore. Among other publications they recommended, you’ll find something for the intellectual foodie and brainy mom as well.

It’s the middle of July and they are wrapping up these issues fairly soon, so those wanting to get in on the action are advised to do so now. Hats off to these editors who are working feverishly to close out a holiday guide in the middle of summer. Anyone with a hot idea should act quickly, and maybe even include an iced coffee for those who are burning the midnight oil to perfect these December issues.

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