Curious Georgie: John Lewis and the rest of the Christmas Starts in Autumn

While I have nothing against Monty the penguin, and wish him a lifetime of happiness, I do wonder where early Christmas will end

Cute penguins or not, John Lewis are among those conspiring to spread the Christmas spirit and its associated goodwill too thinly

Ok, before I get cracking, let me just say that in the 3.25 years I’ve been here, Christmas has been head and shoulders (and knees and toes) above everything else on my league table of top times

However, at odds with desires of those crazy Wizzard boys (I’ve seen the video), I would never wish it could be Christmas every day. What would be special about that?

What I love about Christmas is how packed in the festive fun is. Done right, it’s like a tinsel-trimmed tin of sardines which has been dipped in mulled wine and had the fishiness replaced by a blend of goodwill, baubles and a box of Roses. Now that’s what I call a smoothie.

Aside from the countdown kitchen ornament which starts at 99 (and truth be told remains a constant reminder for my favourite kind of ice-cream van spoils the year round), December 1 or thereabouts is when things get going in our house.

That’s when the decorations come back out of the ceiling (if they’ve ever actually made it all up there, and not just remained in a pile under the hatch, Dad).

That’s also our signal to take a trip to the Winter Wonderland at Center Parcs where Mum opens the first of many bottles she gets from her festive best friend, Harvey.

In addition, it serves as the universal starting pistol for the advent calendar games, which require Olympic levels of will power, but offer a gift worth the effort: breakfast with a side of chocolate. This, in turn, fuels the increasing levels of excitement, which peak perfectly once we hear Santa move along the roof to the next house along in the early hours of Christmas morning.

As you’ll have picked up, I am a girl who thought I had my Christmas timeline all mapped out. And now I realise I’m actually way off the pace.

Christmas is already well under way, apparently. John Lewis says so.

I’m still finding it hard to get my head around the concept of an advert for a shop taking on such significance when it comes to something which has been celebrated for (little) donkeys. Yes, of course there’s a cute penguin called Monty in there and a kid to match. They’re not going to try and sell you stuff using a Cabbage Patch puppet and the biggest bully in the yard are they?

Of course not. They’re going to tug on your heartstrings and stretch the timespan of Christmas all the way back into Autumn so more people can give them their dosh. So this year it’s the first week of November.

What next... are they gonna nudge Halloween back to September with another tale pitched perfectly to make people cry while typing into the iPads they got for Christmas last year?

I know it’s not just John Lewis who are to blame for the bringing forward of the festivities. Everyone’s at it. The ad breaks which suffocate Peppa Pig and her buddies start becoming distinctly letter-to-Santa-focused during October. Meanwhile the crowds were out in force yesterday to see the unveiling of the Christmas window at Fenwicks. During the first week in November.

As anyone who knows me will testify, I’m always the first one at a party and the last one to leave, but I have real concerns about preserving the concentrated magic of Christmas, and making sure it doesn’t get diluted by the people who, let’s face it, are all about the money. And making grown ups cry. About penguins.


David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer