But my Christmas starts when I see the John Lewis ad. After last year's complete and utter gem following a young boy's impatience for Christmas to arrive so he could give his parents the present that he had lovingly bought for them (see it here), I didn't think the company could top it. Oh how wrong I was!
This year's John Lewis Christmas advert has to be the best yet - titled 'The Journey' (see it here). Not only is it fantastically put together but it also features some of the most beautiful scenery as it was shot in New Zealand. The narrative is incredibly heart-warming, telling the tale of a determined snowman who will brave the elements, travel across the country and do whatever it takes to get the right gift for his snow-missus. It celebrates the extra mile we all go to at Christmas to find the perfect present.
The narrative is coupled with new artist Gabrielle Aplin's piano-led version of Frankie Goes to Hollywood's 'The Power of Love', which is very powerful. The story, combined with the editing, the scenery and the soundtrack makes for a truly emotional and astounding piece of film-making by creative director, Ben Priest.
It cost six million pounds to make in total, but is it going to do its job of driving traffic to John Lewis stores?
I look forward to seeing the advert every year because they always do an amazing job, but it doesn't make me desperate to shop at John Lewis for Christmas (granted, it's always due to the fact that I cannot afford to). However, I read that last year the campaign with the young boy increased their festive sales by 9.3%, so no wonder the company is spending so much money to guarantee the same this year! And they might do even better, as this advert is even greater.
I've seen it a few times now, and every time that I watch it I just want to cry! I adore the snowman character.
'We never set out to make the viewers cry', insists Ben Priest. 'But we have a responsibility to create something special.'
And that they did, that they did. Good job, John Lewis.
(Note: this post contains images and statistics from The Independent online.)