Forget Mariah Carey screaming out All I Want For Christmas on 1st November, or Heart Radio launching its Christmas-only station, we all know the official start of Christmas is when John Lewis drops its festive advert.
But this year’s offering – the retailer’s first with sister company Waitrose – felt like the time I unwrapped a Nokia, when what I really wanted was a Blackberry. That disappointment at knowing you’d spent months planning your big entrance on BBM only to find out on 25th Decemberthat your parents didn’t share the same enthusiasm.
Excitable Edgar, the haphazard baby dragon, is the star of this year’s festive offering. The fire-breathing creature struggles to control his skills, accidentally melting snowmen and ice rinks and setting fire to the village Christmas tree during uncontrollable bouts of excitement.
Of course, he’s cute – stifling bursts of flames like a child who sneezes in assembly, and who wouldn’t be moved at his huge guilty eyes as his friend Ava (played by 10-year-old Ruby Dailly), overcome with sadness, helplessly looks on?
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Eventually, as with all happily ever afters, Edgar channels his fire-breathing skills into lighting a Waitrose Christmas pudding for the village feast, and manages to avoid charring the residents in the process.
But despite the feel-good finale, it’s no Monty the Penguin, The Man on the Moon or The Bear and the Hare. We’ve come to know we need a box of tissues for a John Lewis ad, but a tearjerker Edgar is not. Even Bastille frontman Dan Smith’s cover of REO Speedwagon’s Can’t Fight This Feeling isn’t enough to save it from the festive advert slump John Lewis has fallen into.
Yes, there’s friendship and inclusion and festive goodwill, but Edgar isn’t “aww inducing” or charming, or cute like furry animals in past ads. He’s a dragon.
Let’s face it, the retailer peaked with Monty, and it’s struggled to recreate that buzz with Moz the Monster and the bizarre ode to Sir Elton John (The Boy and the Piano) last year.
Edgar might be setting fire to his Christmas village, but he’s finally extinguished John Lewis’ reign as champions of the Christmas ad.