Christmas is finally here
November 10, 2017 12:18 AM   Subscribe

Contemporary Christmas, here in Albion, is marked by the unveiling of ad campaigns by the chain stores, of which the big one is the the John Lewis Christmas TV advert (previously). This year, their theme is something under the bed/child insomnia, soundtracked by a cover version of Golden Slumbers by The Beatles. Some other stores and chains have released their ads, including the strange honesty of the PC World family, Asda's food factory, Aldi's sweet carrot lurve, Tesco's middle class Aga-ruined Turkey, the slightly odd gender dynamics of the Morrison family, and the tie-in between Paddington Bear and Marks and Spencer - but does he swear at the bear? Also Argos, and an obscure American online shop. Verily, Merry Christmas, MeFites!
posted by Wordshore (68 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
 
Paddington wins it this year, I reckon.

Amazon's ad is weak. "Let's celebrate logistics this Xmas!"

And I think the PC World link has been at the Xmas brandy.
posted by ZipRibbons at 12:39 AM on November 10 [2 favorites]


We have a total Xmas embargo until Dec 1st in our house. No mince pies, no christmassy music, no decorations, and mandatory swearing + switching TV channels when Xmas ads come on.
posted by faceplantingcheetah at 12:42 AM on November 10 [12 favorites]


(awaiting mod fix on the PC World family link - oh for a five minute post edit window for ones that slip through the pre-posting check)
posted by Wordshore at 12:46 AM on November 10


Controversial opinion: I ... do not like this year's John Lewis ad and thought the ending was unusually weak. And I feel saying that means somehow I am no longer English.
posted by Wordshore at 1:04 AM on November 10 [6 favorites]


Not controversial at all Wordshore. I agree totally, weakest John Lewis ad I've seen.
posted by lloyder at 1:41 AM on November 10 [2 favorites]


We have a total Xmas embargo until Dec 1st in our house. No mince pies, no christmassy music, no decorations, and mandatory swearing + switching TV channels when Xmas ads come on.

The struggle is real... I try to avoid anything to do with the Lewis ad until Chrismas eve at least. And the Guardian slapped a still for it right on their front page.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 1:57 AM on November 10 [2 favorites]


This is the sort of thing that calls for someone to say "Pepsi blue", right?

All the supermarkets local to me got their Christmas products on the shelves in mid-October this year. October! It actually does just get earlier and earlier. I wonder if it's because of retailers struggling this year and betting hard on Christmas as a result. God I hope they lose that bet, and maybe we can have a world where Christmas lasts for one month, tops.
posted by Dysk at 2:02 AM on November 10 [1 favorite]


"Let's celebrate logistics this Xmas!"

Given that the story revolves around census-taking, the availability of accommodation and the coordination of various groups of visitors and the gifts they bring, it could be argued that logistics is the true meaning of Christmas.
posted by Grangousier at 2:19 AM on November 10 [25 favorites]


This year's John Lewis ad is directed by Michel Gondry. But of course the ad's real claim to fame is Twitter user John Lewis of Virginia, who has been gearing up for another season of wrongly-directed tweets.
posted by easternblot at 2:20 AM on November 10 [6 favorites]


Paddington wins it this year, but nothing beats Apple's misunderstood (a misnomer if I've ever seen one) ad from 2013
posted by Lukenlogs at 2:52 AM on November 10 [7 favorites]


Asda's advert was partly filmed at Victoria Baths which is a lovely old building in Manchester which is definitely worth a trip if you happen to be here on a day its open.
posted by threetwentytwo at 3:36 AM on November 10 [1 favorite]


One of the few up-sides of being born in December is that you can use it as justification for not bothering with Christmas until after the birthday. While my own early-December birthday works pretty well, it's been even better since having a kid with a birthday just a few days before Christmas Day. Whittling down the festive season to about a week and a half seems just about perfect to me. And I'm pretty sure that's how I remember it being as a kid, too. Humbug etc.
posted by pipeski at 4:00 AM on November 10 [2 favorites]


Folks these days have both huge halloween and xmas yard display, they really should transition one item a day. Deflate the cute ghost and inflate one of the wise men. Then mid point there'd be a thanksgiving for the day of the manger dead.
posted by sammyo at 4:47 AM on November 10 [10 favorites]


The John Lewis ad made me cry dammit (young people with problems they can't explain have been on my mind lately).
posted by maggiemaggie at 5:01 AM on November 10 [4 favorites]


I have to go against the grain, I guess, and say that I did not like the Paddington ad. I mean, it's fine I guess. I hated all the trailers for the Paddington movie, too, though, so perhaps I'm biased. I must add that I LOVED Paddington when I was a child.

Really liked the John Lewis ad. Very, very sweet.
posted by cooker girl at 5:33 AM on November 10 [4 favorites]




I saw my first Christmas/War On Christmas TV ad before Halloween: Denny's "Holiday Pancakes", with music from The Nutracker as the jingle. So that music signifies Christmas, semiotically; but the pancakes are "Holiday".

Pick a side, Denny's!
posted by thelonius at 6:12 AM on November 10 [2 favorites]


Damn it, that Apple ad made me cry in 2013 and now here I am again, alone in a very dusty room.
posted by Flannery Culp at 6:31 AM on November 10 [9 favorites]


I have to go against the grain, I guess, and say that I did not like the Paddington ad.

"Fuck you, little bear."

I liked the John Lewis ad, too.
posted by pracowity at 6:38 AM on November 10 [1 favorite]


You guys gotta move your Thanksgiving from October out to the end of November so that you can point to it as a yardstick for all the retailers releasing their adds beforehand as 'too early.'

I mean - these were great... especially the monster one... but...

Oh holy shit, the season starts so early...
For yonder stores your money they will chase.
Fall on your knees
For here- the adverts start...
posted by Nanukthedog at 6:40 AM on November 10 [2 favorites]


The PC World family one (link now fixed) is my favorite so far this year, though several other chains are yet to make theirs live. It's refreshingly honest about the meaning of Christmas.

Just watched the John Lewis one again, and although it's still not as good as some of recent years am warming to it a bit.
posted by Wordshore at 6:46 AM on November 10


Until this post, I hadn't even thought of Christmas this year. Now all the dread about who wants what and do I have the money for it begins.
posted by pracowity at 6:47 AM on November 10 [4 favorites]


I guess that I just realized that Xmas is only about six weeks away; so far I haven't seen any decorations or heard any music but I guess that it's imminent.
posted by octothorpe at 6:56 AM on November 10 [2 favorites]


That Asda ad explains the bits of elf I found in my mince pie last year.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 6:59 AM on November 10 [2 favorites]


Until this post, I hadn't even thought of Christmas this year. Now all the dread about who wants what and do I have the money for it begins.

My parents and most of my aunts and uncles and such are getting to the point that they're happier with smaller, consumable gifts. Also, my brother's going to be with his in-laws so that means there will be no huge family gathering with all the cousins and their kids and such.

I picked up some little souveinrs from a recent trip for my nuclear family, who I will be seeing the weekend before on a day trip, and I'm holding them back until then- supplementing the kids' gifts with a toy or book, and the adult's gifts with wine. And as for everyone else, I'm making one big Amazon spree sometime mid-December and doing it that way.

I'm....surprisingly good with that.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:02 AM on November 10 [1 favorite]


Also, Moz the monster should probably have that football looked at. I think it might be infected.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 7:08 AM on November 10 [2 favorites]


Too soon. I'll revisit this after US Thanksgiving.
posted by theora55 at 7:15 AM on November 10


Daily Telegraph: "...And I liked the early hints at the monster’s possible imagination-figment status: the fuzzy slippers, the painting on the bedroom wall. But the monster’s obviously digitally enhanced features – the glazed, twitching eyes, the weightless tongue, the nose like a distended testicle – are the opposite of charming, and look less believably alive than Ma and Pa Gorg from Fraggle Rock, let alone the gorgeous recreations of Sendak’s mad menagerie in Spike Jonze’s feature-length adaptation of Where The Wild Things Are from 2009."
posted by Wordshore at 7:17 AM on November 10


Gondry's no Dougal (previously), désolé.
Of this year's yuletide crop, I thought Vodafone's Xmas micro-series was well done.
posted by progosk at 7:39 AM on November 10 [1 favorite]


You guys gotta move your Thanksgiving from October

Umm...

From Wikipedia:
"Thanksgiving Day is a national holiday celebrated in Canada, the United States, some of the Caribbean islands, and Liberia."

Which of these are you suggesting the UK is?
posted by Dysk at 8:35 AM on November 10 [5 favorites]


The monster under the bed totally made me tear up.

Paddington, though, is meh. Glad they're at least getting their money's worth out of that CGI bear, though.
posted by anastasiav at 8:37 AM on November 10 [1 favorite]


I guess that I just realized that Xmas is only about six weeks away...

Chatting to a local supermarket manager earlier. She pointed out that Good Friday is only twenty weeks from today, chocolate Easter eggs will be on the shelves in less than eight weeks, and their logistical planning for this is at an advanced stage.
posted by Wordshore at 9:10 AM on November 10 [2 favorites]


Can confirm that is real, I once had a summer job at a grocery chain's private label company and they were receiving samples of next year's Easter candy and ice cream flavors.
posted by Flannery Culp at 9:12 AM on November 10 [1 favorite]


And I liked the early hints at the monster’s possible imagination-figment status: the fuzzy slippers, the painting on the bedroom wall.

They missed the sock on his back - clearly a Monsters, Inc. shout-out.
posted by ALeaflikeStructure at 9:22 AM on November 10 [1 favorite]


Umm...

From Wikipedia:
"Thanksgiving Day is a national holiday celebrated in Canada, the United States, some of the Caribbean islands, and Liberia."

Which of these are you suggesting the UK is?
posted by Dysk


Yes, but the UK does have a harvest festival noted later in your wikipedia article...

United Kingdom
Harvest Festival flowers at a church in Shrewsbury, England
The Harvest Festival of Thanksgiving does not have an official date in the United Kingdom, however it is traditionally held on or near the Sunday of the harvest moon that occurs closest to the autumnal equinox. [...] When Christianity arrived in Britain many traditions remained, and today Harvest Thanksgiving is marked by churches and schools in late September/early October (same as Canada) with singing, praying and decorating with baskets of food and fruit to celebrate a successful harvest and to give thanks.

Clearly I am not from the UK, nor do I understand your customs. Your insistence on rushing the Christmas holiday though ahead of America is... well... Come on guys - Donald Trump is our President... you can show more restraint than the US.
posted by Nanukthedog at 9:31 AM on November 10 [1 favorite]


IT'S CHRIIIIISSSSTMAAAASSS!!

Well, it will be in a months time or so. Put your Slade away, fuck's sake.
posted by Artw at 9:34 AM on November 10 [4 favorites]


I had a tweet favoured by Jona Lewie this week... very cool and all, but TOO SOON
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 9:37 AM on November 10 [1 favorite]


Wikipedia article or no, we do not have a holiday here called Thanksgiving. Maybe some church folk have a church occasion that they mark, but outside of the countries I listed, nobody celebrates anything that would be recognised as Thanksgiving in any meaningful sense. Utter non-events like pentecost are a bigger deal here, in that people will have heard of them at least.
posted by Dysk at 9:42 AM on November 10 [5 favorites]


MetaFilter: Clearly I am not from the UK, nor do I understand your customs.
posted by Wordshore at 9:42 AM on November 10 [7 favorites]


Might be best not to tell us how to rearrange them, then...
posted by Dysk at 9:43 AM on November 10 [2 favorites]


Shout out to the copywriter who got the "9 1/2 Leeks" gag into the Aldi ad.
posted by ZipRibbons at 9:43 AM on November 10 [6 favorites]


We've imported everything from American-style Halloween to Black Friday, and I'm pretty sure there have already been attempts to market Thanksgiving in the UK. Probably just a matter of time.
posted by pipeski at 9:47 AM on November 10 [2 favorites]


Remember harvest festival at school - when you'd bring in a tin of beans or something

Also the Advent service at the end of November-ish (I went to a CoE school) where you carried a Christingle and it was kind of magical when I was little.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 9:48 AM on November 10 [2 favorites]


Have been to many Harvest Festivals in the UK. They are usually in a church, and it's a religious thing, with gifts of produce recieved and distributed. People sing "We plough the fields and scatter, the good seed on the land" and a few other hymns, then go home.

Have also been to (counts) five Thanksgiving events in the US. These are held in peoples homes and they (my impression) are the one time of the year the very right-wing relative everyone else avoids gets to sit at the same table as his extended family and tell his liberal relatives what he thinks of Obama/Clinton/Democrats/feminists/them. It's never pretty.

These are very different events and conflating them is weird.
posted by Wordshore at 9:51 AM on November 10 [5 favorites]


Literally never heard anyone refer to any of the harvest festivals I've been at, in my adulthood or in my youth, as Thanksgiving.
posted by Dysk at 9:52 AM on November 10 [5 favorites]


MetaFilter: Clearly I am not from the UK, nor do I understand your customs.

Probably too late for this pathetic joke, but my wit's never been especially sharp:

If you want to talk customs, Brexit thread's further down the page mate.
posted by Dysk at 10:05 AM on November 10 [4 favorites]


We have a total Xmas embargo until Dec 1st in our house.

I do something similar, except mine is 24x7x364. I do enjoy a good Christmas dinner though.
I know, bah humbug yadda yadda yadda
posted by Greg_Ace at 11:27 AM on November 10 [2 favorites]


We've imported everything from American-style Halloween to Black Friday, and I'm pretty sure there have already been attempts to market Thanksgiving in the UK. Probably just a matter of time.

It's basically just having the turkey part of Christmas twice, which seems very American.
posted by Artw at 11:28 AM on November 10 [2 favorites]


Literally never heard anyone refer to any of the harvest festivals I've been at, in my adulthood or in my youth, as Thanksgiving.


Yeah, no, that is not a thing.
posted by Artw at 11:29 AM on November 10 [2 favorites]


Thanksgiving is as uniquely an American celebration as having Christmas-themed songs* by major pop artists on the charts is uniquely British.


*Of which Slade's Merry Xmas Everybody is the best.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 12:32 PM on November 10 [4 favorites]


Here's a curious thing: two brands have made what amounts to the same ad. Compare and contrast the Boots one and the House of Fraser one.
posted by ZipRibbons at 12:45 PM on November 10


They have Thanksgiving in Canada. And some Caribbean islands and Liberia, apparently.
posted by Dysk at 1:28 PM on November 10


Having celebrated Thanksgiving in both Canada and the US, I will say that the Canadian version is a pale imitation, with much less cultural significance than the American one.


I will still eat the turkey, though.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 1:32 PM on November 10


The best thing about American Thanksgiving, other than gorging yourself, is it acts as a bulwark against the onslaught of Christmas into November.
posted by asteria at 1:54 PM on November 10


The odd thing about the John Lewis ad is that a few days ago, one started getting circulated that was allegedly a leak, or the actual ad. It wasn't, and was a cut version of a different animation, with a cover of A-ha's Take On Me added.

Thing is, more than a few people, including myself, think the alleged leaked ad is better than the actual one...
posted by Wordshore at 2:35 PM on November 10


I have to say I love Christmas, can't wait for it to get here. It's all the pretty, colorful lights and the shiny things I love most. I must be part crow.
posted by Rufous-headed Towhee heehee at 3:21 PM on November 10 [1 favorite]


The best thing about American Thanksgiving is it acts as a bulwark against the onslaught of Christmas into November.
For various reasons, I allow 6 retail entities (2 web-based, 4 brick-and-mortar, two of those grocery) to keep me on their email lists. Currently, 5 of them (all except one of the groceries) are emailing me daily or every-other-day about BLACK FRIDAY DEALS. The bulwark has fallen.
posted by oneswellfoop at 3:38 PM on November 10 [4 favorites]


I must be part crow.
posted by Rufous-headed Towhee heehee


Epavianysterical
posted by Greg_Ace at 4:38 PM on November 10


Now this is a proper Xmas ad from back in the day that a friend linked on twitter ... showbiz celebs, eye wateringly expensive audio equipment and cossaks
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 6:12 AM on November 11 [2 favorites]


Inspired by this tweet and this one, here's a festive Christmas ad from a few years back: "And along came the ghost of..."
posted by Wordshore at 7:44 AM on November 12


Waitrose goes existentialist.
posted by progosk at 12:51 AM on November 13


And Germany's Penny supermarkets do something of a Grimm.
posted by progosk at 3:28 AM on November 13




In the sidebar for that Greggs article above, I saw a sad note - people are boycotting Tescos because it included a Muslim family in its ad. :-(
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:59 AM on November 15


John Lewis ad plagiarised?
posted by Segundus at 12:44 AM on November 17


The idea feels generic and obvious enough that in going to go with "no" on the plagiarism - especially since the Guardian couldn't see fit to provide any pictures from their own cartoonist's picture book for comparison...
posted by Dysk at 3:38 AM on November 17


Even if it was plagiarized, the author’s done well not to make this a legal battle: his book’s now flying off the shelves!
posted by progosk at 1:59 PM on November 20


The Sainsbury's ad is out, and is actually kind of perky and funny and cute.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:24 PM on November 20 [1 favorite]


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