For the past seven plus years I’ve been trying to persuade my family that a takeaway curry in our pyjamas is the perfect Christmas.
Nobody will get on board.
I absolutely love Christmas, except for the day itself when I invariably cry, mainly because of the amount of effort that goes into a regimented day nobody seems to enjoy.
And that is why I like the new M&S ad. Or, more accurately, less the ad, more the idea behind it.
I liked the idea of not having to conform to a celebration norm, taking the bits you like, losing the bits you don’t, and embracing your own traditions. Blowtorching the 96 Christmas cards my kids refuse to write: yes, please. Our board games are already rage—quit-ripped anyway. And I loved the Elf on the sodding Shelf being launched into oblivion. BTW - parents to be: don’t ever do it. You cannot know the unbridled fear of waking up realising the Elf hasn’t moved…
What I didn’t like so much was everyone was still the stereotype of a Christmas ad.
They were glamorous, glitzy, made-up. There were the inevitable stars (I see you too Asda and Bublé, and now Waitrose too…). The inevitable re-recorded song. The ‘non-perfect’ touches felt a little bit forced.
As well as seeing her in full glow-up, I’d have loved to have seen Hannah Waddington in a Percy Pig onesie having a selection box for breakfast. Sophie Ellis-Bextor doing kitchen karaoke in her pyjamas. A Colin rather than a Christmas pudding. Zawe Ashton eating tortellini, not turkey (she told Harpers, “The pleasure I get from eating pasta is unparalleled”). Tan France saving a plate for his husband, who might be working (he’s a nurse).
There are so many more ways it could have come to life – people who celebrate Christmas alongside another religion, for example; people who would like nothing more than a solo Christmas; people whose friends are their family, etc. Maybe this will come, with some influencer or earned content that keeps the ad going and broadens the idea. We’ll see. I think there’s so much more potential in the idea that’s not been realised yet.
My house is neurodiverse and, whilst I haven’t got my way on a curry, this year I’m not forcing everyone to dress up and sit down at an appointed time. I’m making their requested food (meat only, mac and cheese only, pigs in blankets and potatoes only, x3 full Christmas dinner - no deviations allowed). I’m putting it out on the table and letting them roam and graze at will. Lamé is lovely for those who want to wear it and lame for those who’d rather stay in loungewear.
And all the cooking hard work will be done by M&S.
That’s our Thismas.
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