Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Christmas Shop Windows


Pic of large polar with Santa sitting on his lap


London's Christmas shop windows are well-known for their excellent design, colour and Christmas cheer. Window dressers' imaginations seem to run wild. Here are some of the window displays that caught my eye this year.

Pic of outside of Pandora's store in gold, silver and red.It's not always the big department stores that grab your attention. Pandora's shop stood out with its appropriate gold, silver and red colour scheme. The silver turned out to be an advent calendar on closer inspection.

Selfridges often presents the most outstanding Christmas display. The three large side windows displayed the words 'ALWAYS BE OPEN' in lights with moving curtains. It recalled the slogan #LondonIsOpen. 


I found it hard to be open to Selfridge's concept of Christmas windows. Santa has evidently become very commercially-minded. A group of children posed for photos and selfies in front of the Santa in a ski lift window. Children are very obviously not Selfridge's target audience - or apparently Santa's main concern in 2016. The video of Santa dancing was fun, although the lyrics did not ring true. Santa in a hot tub surrounded by champagne? BAD SANTA!

Pic of Santa in bath tub surrounded by Champagne bottles
Selfridge's Santa in a hot tub surrounded by Champagne or Prosecco

Santa on a jet plane with Frank Sinatra lyrics... Whatever happened to his reindeer? Whatever happened to respecting childhood illusions, Selfridges?

Pic of sequinned Santa coming down steps of jet plane with adult companions
Selfridge's sequinned Santa emerging from a jet plane

The John Lewis department store has tied its Christmas windows in with the Buster the Boxer Christmas advertising campaign. The windows cleverly show Buster above ground and all the woodland creatures in their burrows. You even see the fox watching a video of the ad on television. There are lots of excellent touches as you look more closely, such as the two foxes pulling a cracker.

Pic of two foxes pulling a Christmas cracker with their teeth


The John Lewis windows have a warm Christmas feel as well as displaying goods on sale within the store. The windows seem to appeal to children and adults alike.

Squirrels, hedgehog and foxes make toast in warm Christmas burrow scene

Two of my favourite Christmas windows in 2016 are Fortnum and Mason and Debenhams. They use two very different approaches. 

Brightly-lit Debenhams store on London's Oxford Street

Debenhams show extraordinary innovation in their Christmas window displays. Their windows succeed in pulling off an original approach to Christmas gifts. No static window displays for them. They offer colourful and glitzy inspiration for gifts to buy family and friends. The Found It Gift Factory offers an eye-catching, moving production line. The Sequinator was my personal favourite. There are also the Giftatron, the Shrink Ray and the Colourmatic 3000 windows.

Bright pink pic of John Lewis's Sequinator Production Line
John Lewis: The Sequinator Window

Fortnum and Mason are well-known for their Christmas hampers. I loved the flying hampers with angel wings in their side windows. The approach reminded me of J.K. Rowling's great imagination.

Flying hamper at Fortnum and Mason

The main windows bear the Christmas message of 'Together we're Merrier'. Each window shows characters that you would not normally expect to cooperate: a wolf and sheep, a turkey and chopping knife, a chef and lobster, a bull and a china teapot. The playful verse on each window was written by the famous comedian, actor, writer and TV presenter.

Pic of Lobster, Chef and bottle with backdrop of bubbles
Lobster and chef toast Fortnum and Mason's Together we're Merrier Christmas

Fortnum and Mason win the prize for the most aspirational 2016 Christmas message.


I was disappointed by Harrods main window displays this year. The movement of their Burberry windows wasn't as good as Debenhams nor was the professional finish as good as Fortnum and Mason. I preferred John Lewis's foxes. 

Burberry shop window at Harrods, Knightsbridge, London

We shouldn't forget that the main aim of a Christmas window is to get you to buy something inside the store. The Chanel windows on the side of Harrods literally beckoned you inside. I noted a new departure. The advertising did not use the full window, but cleverly recreated the shape of the famous perfume bottle. The video inside the bottle beckoned you to join the party inside. 

Pic of Chanel No. 5's Artist and Muse Window at Harrods


The 2017 trend seems to be towards using more movement and videos in shop windows. Fenwick's traditional approach and, surprisingly the designer Stella McCartney's store, now look dated.

The static Christmas story and nativity scenes of my childhood memories seem to have disappeared altogether. There's just the occasional star on view. Plenty of imagination to be seen...

London's Christmas windows have something to appeal to every taste - from the traditional static to the highly innovative digital display.


Pic of Christmas shop window display with teddy bears and musical instruments
Dolce & Gabbana's Christmas Shop Window in New Bond Street, London

Merry Christmas. Season's Greetings. 

Best wishes to all for a happy, successful and prosperous 2017.



Karen Andrews is a freelance French to English translator, transcreator, content writer and editor. She has a strong background in marketing and project management.

Email Karen for further information via karenanglicityen@gmail.com in French, German or English.




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