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Trade magazine Catalogue e-business ( picked just four catalogues of the 167 it reviewed in November to showcase the best examples of Christmas-related creative. The chosen catalogue covers were those Catalogue e-business felt best captured the festive spirit and sparked the most debate among editorial staff.

They are:

* Great Little Trading Co Christmas 2010. The cataloguer of children’s furniture, educational toys, and toy storage products, Great Little Trading Co pulled out all the stops this year to make the cover feel festive. With an adorable display of a felt nativity scene, “The catalogue is also mindful that its purpose is to sell,” says Miri Thomas, Catalogue e-business editor. “It clearly displays its award-winning status on the cover as well as entices customers with the promise of 15% off.”

* Cath Kidston Christmas Gift Guide 2010. Boxes adorned with ribbons and Cath Kidston giftwrap are the main focus of the cover. Nothing says Christmas like a bit of sparkle: “What propelled this catalogue into our top four was its creative use of a different print effect to add a shimmer to the brand name and enhance the Christmassy feel,” explains Miri Thomas.

* Pedlars Christmas 2010. Gifts cataloguer Pedlars sells quirky products such as robot hand-warmers and a battleship-shaped USB stick, so you’d expect the cover to be equally eccentric. “The Pedlars cover divided opinion in the office,” says Thomas. “On the one hand there were those who loved the retro design, whilst others thought the image was childish and unsophisticated. Because it caused such a stir, we just had to include it in our top four.”

* Laura Ashley Christmas 2010. “At this time of year, a catalogue’s job is to sell ‘Christmas’,” says Miri Thomas. This is something clothing and homewares retailer Laura Ashley does very well through a simple, yet effective cover. A lovely room set with a tower of presents under the tree and nibbles for Santa and his reindeer in the corner by no means reinvents the wheel, but Laura Ashley succeeds in making it stand out from the other me-too Christmas offerings. “This catalogue and its strapline ‘For the way you live’, is aspirational without being pompous,” says Thomas. With this cover, Laura Ashley has surely excelled in creating a desire to open the catalogue and see what else is on offer.