We’ve tried no presents, presents and parred-back presents; we’ve gone away, stayed at home and invaded relatives houses en-masse. One thing I’ve learnt from our festive trials as a blended family – trying to ensure everyone feels like they belong and feels ‘at home’ – is that what we give, where we are or which parents’ house the kids are at on the actual day, has minimal impact on how festive we feel.
The magic, the sparkle and inner-belly warmth don’t come from the latest Xbox game or ‘must-have’ gizmo, they come from the Christmas traditions we’ve inherited and the ones we create as a family.
One of the things I love about being a blogger is the weird and wonderful stuff that comes into my inbox; from offers of lube reviews to can I make pet insurance an exciting content matter? (The answer was NO!) But sometimes, some brands just ‘get me’ – get my blog, my family and come up with a collaboration that’s so god damn on point even I recoil in amazement. When John Lewis asked if I’d like to try out their new AEG washing machine and tumble dryer, it was as if all my parental dreams had come true! Needless to say, a family of 7 gets through a shiz load of washing and for anyone who follows my insta-stories, you will only be well aware of the drama it causes when one of my trusty washing steads fails me.
For a long time, as a family of 7, it’s been necessary to have two fridges, two lounges, two bathrooms (even two houses in the beginning) so it seemed almost a natural progression to upgrade my domestic goddess-ry to two washing machines and tumble dryers. I’ll be keeping my old work-horses (for now) as it seems a travesty to be loading the new shiny machines with muddy football boots and questionably stained bed sheets!
It’s no secret I’m a John Lewis obsessive. What’s not to love? I’ve lost many an hour perusing their swoon-worthy kitchenware, caressing their luxurious towel collection and drooling over their skincare ranges. Their staff are off-the-scale amazing – Sarah in the Horsham store intervened, with perfect timing, when my parenting was critised (by a fellow shopper) post-tantrum as I wouldn’t let Cas grapple the Wedgewood display. Bravo Sarah for spotting a speechless, teary mother in despair. And that, right there, epitomises everything that’s fabulous about the lot behind John Lewis – they just seem to know what it is you want/need.
With this in mind, it seems they recently read my mind. Trawling through their website one evening, having lusted over some tribal cushions and hankered the Hush collection, it dawned on me that John Lewis had considered everyone in my family except four of the loudest, most obvious members of the crew, the 8-14 year olds. That was until NOW!
It was only last weekend mid X-Factor ad break, whilst keeping a keen eye out for our very own family ad, that I turned to Mr Only Girl and muttered, through a mouthful of Fruit and Nut, “I haven’t seen the John Lewis ad yet.” It had undertones of a disappointed 7 year old discovering that, perhaps, Santa doesn’t really exist… we all know he does really! These days ads are often seen as an obstacle to overcome to get to what it is we really want to watch – we fast forward, skip and watch online in order to avoid full length ad breaks. But the John Lewis Christmas ad breaks these rules – with over 26 million YouTube views on last year’s offering, the JL Xmas vid is the hottest drop since Take That reunion-tour tickets went on sale. It’s a serious calendar worthy event, which for me, signals the official start of the festive season and is the green light for the Christmas soundtrack in the office!