Many moons ago, when Skibz first started out, John Lewis were the biggest retailer of our bibs. If you haven't yet seen their latest Christmas ad, then where have you been since Friday? You can watch it here:
I've read numerous interpretations of the advert. One article from The Guardian speaks of how the ad has a charitable spin and is raising awareness for Age UK. The piece reads:
The ad’s strapline is: “Show someone they’re loved this Christmas”, which echoes Age UK’s own campaign: “No one should have no one at Christmas”
A slightly more gloomy interpretation is outlined in a piece in the Independent. It focuses on the irony of how the man on the moon is more alone than ever at the close of the advert, and reads,
'As we are left reeling from the emotional piece, cut to tagline; “show somebody they’re loved at Christmas”. But this is not by inviting them into your home, but by giving them some sort of material gift that still, ironically, keeps them at the same distance they always were…half the world away.'
I must’ve completely missed the point of John Lewis’ campaign, since my own interpretation was not anywhere near thinking of the company’s intention to raise awareness of charity and the elderly who will be alone at Christmas.
Yes, the man on the moon is elderly, but I didn’t for a moment consider that this was a symbol of an elderly generation left alone this Christmas, but rather the representation of the mythological man in the moon, who must by now be hundreds of years old. I remember, as a child, I was fascinated by the idea of a man living on the moon, looking down on me and keeping me safe. Memories of gazing out of my bedroom window at night into the starlit sky in hope of catching sight of him are some of my most treasured and magical. To me, this is what Christmas is about; creating enchanting childhood memories, and preserving innocence by leading little ones to believe in a magical man who doesn’t really exist. Much like Father Christmas, no?
Six-year-old Lily is a little girl with an imagination. The days are shorter, and at this time of year Lily will be seeing much more of the moon before it is her bedtime. Throughout the summer, she was probably in bed before it was even visible, so now, with winter drawing in and the nights longer, Lily is seeing the moon in all its glory for longer. She’s developed a fascination with it. She’s encapsulated by its beauty and enchantment and feels secure in the idea that there is a wise old man looking out for her from afar. She loves him, like any child could feel a bond with an imaginary friend, and while he exists in her mind her purity is protected.
The man on the moon is in her imagination. The man on the moon is her imagination, her innocence and her naivety. By gifting him with a telescope, she is indulging her innocence and allowing it to stay in contact with her just a little longer, before many more years pass and Christmas becomes less about the excitement and joy of the hustle and bustle, about licking the Christmas cake mix spoon and hanging up decorations and cuddling up to relatives after an exhausting day celebrating, and far more about iPads and designer handbags and materialism.
That’s how I saw it, anyway. I was overwhelmed with emotion, because in Lily I saw a little bit of little me, and realised that I’d forgotten about the magic of Christmas. By the end of the advert my eyes were streaming. (To be fair, I produced one lone tear, but went to wipe it away with a finger that still had chilli on it from preparing dinner. Note to self: Wash hands after cooking with chillis. Chillis burn your eyes.)
'Show someone they’re loved this Christmas' with a simple, childlike gesture. Reignite the magic in your mind. Remember how Christmas felt when you were small.
Thank you for making Christmas magical for me again, John Lewis.