As a child, when writing your Santa list, it always paid to be aware of all of the options available. It became somewhat of a family tradition to crack open the Argos catalogue and pore through its magical pages of thousands of toys, games and household items. No page got ignored in case you missed out on something - you never know when a nine-year-old might want the latest Philishave razor, vacuum cleaner or chest of drawers.
With under a week to go to Halloween, it was with some excitement that we attended the launch of Argos Christmas 2017 catalogues. We had envisioned it as being invited to see the elves at work in Santa's workshop, the reality is somewhat more practical but nonetheless interesting.
Argos really covers the full gamut of products, at the launch event the room had unique sections to display a small selection of the products available through its retail outlets: Baby, Home and Furnishing, Jewelry, Christmas Decorations, Argos own-brand toys, Toys in general and technology and gadgets - or "toys for bigger kids" as it might be known.
As the line between Toys and Tech / Gadgets continues to blur there were some common themes across the devices on display.
Virtual Reality (VR): from the €450 PlayStation VR add-on for the PS4 down to Batman and Jurassic World-themed VR game headsets for €60 that use your smartphone to display the games.
Drones: running the full spectrum from the RED5 IR Cyber Flyer for €17 all the way up to the DJI Phantom 4 Pro Plus Drone that comes in just short of €2,200.
Lego: A staple of any Christmas, sets are available for all ages, all the way from Duplo through to Lego Friends, themed Lego sets for movies and tv shows - including the forthcoming Ninjago movie - and the newest programmable Mindstorm sets.
Looking at the technology on display, Argos anticipates that there will be several popular items when elves come to preparing the Santa Lists that may make them difficult to find:
The handheld Nintendo Switch console (€330) that allows you to bring your games with you and also play them on your TV is immensely popular and has been outselling the PS4 and Xbox One in the States for the last few months. Monster hits like Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Mario Kart 8 and Arms have been driving demand. Argos don't foresee there being the same hysteria as there was with the Nintendo Wii for this console but believe that it will be a top-seller this Christmas.
Microsoft's powerful, new Xbox One X console (€499) lands on 7. November and Argos stores have already experienced high demand for this item. The console brings true 4K gaming to home consoles while promising to play all of your existing games better than the standard Xbox One S (bundles from €249).
As Microsoft is simultaneously shipping this console worldwide, demand is expected to exceed supply in many countries. As new pre-orders have gone online in many online retailers the stock has been snapped up. Argos would advise that if you have your heart set on one (Should that be One X? - Ed) that you ensure to place your order early, and that stock in Ireland might not be enough to guarantee delivery before the big day.
It was interesting to peek a little behind the curtain at Argos Christmas Catalogue, and while there were no elves there was certainly plenty of Christmas magic on display.
The Argos Christmas Catalogues 2017 are available in-store now.