Ah, Christmas. We get to look forward to it all year. And as soon as the Halloween costumes, cards and candy have been cleared from the shops, we are bombarded with advertising for Christmas and confronted with Christmas chocolate, decorations, cakes and cookies in the supermarket aisles.
I always think it's a bit sad that Christmas starts at the beginning of November, but I'm also happy to see all the twinkly tat in the supermarkets, nestling beside the tangerines, the stollen and the gingerbread. I also like Christmas ads. They remind me what Christmas is all about: consuming; oh, no, I mean giving. Giving and sharing.
John Lewis is a chain of department stores in the UK. The John Lewis Christmas ad has become an institution, although the first was only broadcast in 2007. My favourite is the 2011 ad, called "The Long Wait", in which the story of a young boy's impatience in the run-up to Christmas is told, with a delicious twist at the end.
This year's ad is very cute. It's moved many people to tears! The story is of a little boy who wants only a cuddly penguin to keep his other cuddly penguin company. Ah, the simple pleasures of simpler times. Not an electronic device in sight! Hurrah for John Lewis.
A few days after the unveiling of the penguin ad, supermarket chain Sainsbury's revealed their own campaign: a three-minute mini-movie about the Christmas Day truce of World War I, when English and German soldiers paused the futility to enjoy a game of footie and exchange presents. The ad was made with the endorsement of The British Legion. The sales from the chocolate bar featured in the ad will be donated to the organization.
Even more moving than little boys and fluffy penguins? Definitely. But the Sainsbury's ad has raised criticism for using this historic moment to essentially sell groceries. The ad's title? "Christmas is for Sharing".