I have obviously been living under a metaphorical rock this past week as I've only just got 'round to watching the John Lewis Christmas advert.
Once the John Lewis advert hits the screens, that's it, it's practically time for the big man in red to charge up the sat-nav, dust down the sleigh, and jingle those bells.
Each year they seem to surpass themselves and 2013's offering is no exception; behold, ladies and gentlemen, The Bear and The Hare:
Tears may have fallen at some point...
It has Badgers (in your face Defra) and Bunnies (OK, Hares) and Bears (well, one, at least...) weaving a story of good- will, friendship, and other highly anthropomorphic abstract concepts, what's not to like?
The animation is vaguely reminiscent of The Animals of Farthing Wood - which I loved, with a passion -so, for me, there's a real element of nostalgia thrown into the mix as well.
Yes, yes, I know it's a big budget televisual feast advertising the wares of a
retail corporation who are probably emotionally blackmailing us into a festive frenzy of rampant consumerism (those profit margins won't grow themselves!) and, yes, I know it's fashionable these days to be sneeringly cynical of absolutely everything, but I can't help it: I love it.
To be quite honest the John Lewis advert is the least "spend spend spend" of the bunch (I'm looking at you, Argos). Hare doesn't buy Bear a mountain of presents, just one. And that one present is thoughtful and personal to him.
This is in stark contrast to most retailers' apparent belief that we should just chuck lots and lots of money at Christmas (and therefore their coffers).
The Bear and The Hare, with it's beautiful, traditional, animation harks back to an era where less was definitely more and it was the people (or, y'know, animated woodland creatures. Either works. I'm not fussy), not the presents, that made Christmas truly magical. They have managed to re-capture the essence of Christmases past and remind us just what is important at this time of year.
They've got me haven't they...?