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Sky's Christmas ad
Sky's Christmas ad

COMMENT: Truancy can’t be tackled without the right funding

Hampshire Police Male Voice Choir at the remembrance parade at the Guildhall, Portsmouth, last Friday

STUDENT SHOUT: This is what Remembrance means to me

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The Christmas adverts have struck, and at the top of the pile for me is Sky and its depiction of watching the Sound of Music through the years.

It shows a mum and young daughter together at Christmas viewing Julie Andrews, and via clever sequencing the daughter’s age changes to a surly teenager, a traveller (she’s in Thailand), coming home with a new beau at Christmas and finally with her own daughter, each time watching the film and reacting in different ways.

No one wants to think too hard about Christmas adverts when they’ve got shedloads of shopping to do

The message is super clear and simple, Christmas is about a time with family, doing the same things, those small traditions which make up so much of life.

It’s fab. And I am totally surprised to be saying that. Who would have thought that Sky would be a main contender for my number one?

Not so far up the list, in fact pretty much at the bottom so far, is John Lewis’s version of... I’m not sure what.

It’s taken me a good few viewings to try to understand what they are getting at.

Normally John Lewis is clear with its message, even if the intent gets muddled (think of the man peering in the young girl’s bedroom).

But this year? We have a snoring monster under the bed, the boy stays awake in fear, the monster breaks wind – the boy is no longer scared (I’m not sure the reek emanating from that thing’s bottom would be funny, especially in an enclosed space. My dog can clear a room and he’s a smidge of the size). Then the boy plays with the monster and gets really tired. He opens a night light from the monster for Christmas, which banishes it, until the child turns the light off and the monster’s back. What is that then?

Perhaps we’re to think that the parents have bought the night light? Otherwise they’d show a bit more curiosity about a badly-wrapped present under a tree? Maybe, perhaps, I’m not sure. And there’s the problem. No one wants to think too hard about Christmas adverts when they’ve got shedloads of shopping to do, schedules to organise and a turkey to order.

ASDA’s non-challenging, non-emotional rip off from Roald Dahl, with a child and grandparent visiting a factory and going wow at a lot of little slaves, I mean elves, prancing around making big food for the humans is okay.

Then there’s mince pie man for someone or other which I watched thinking that eating mince pies in bed would create a lot of crumbs which no one needs on Christmas Eve. And then I remembered, it’s still November. What am I doing?

I DIDN’T KNOW WHAT TO DO WITH THIS HEALTH-FOOD TITAN

I was given a handful of beetroot last weekend, a gift which when looked at, I thought hmmm.

What does one do with beetroot? To me their leaves are either served in salad or their bodies are pickled for use on cold meats.

It’s mad isn’t it, when you’ve been cooking for your family for 20 years, and you still don’t know what to do with some vegetables, staple vegetables, ones which are regularly grown in the UK.

It’s OK to be bewildered by strange/exotic fruits from afar, but beetroot?

One quick whizz of the internet later and I’m about to attempt keftedes. After I’ve bought some rubber gloves that is – as it’s also a fabulous dye.

SUPERHEROES CAN BE MALE OR FEMALE, SO DON’T JUDGE

I was delighted to read the Church of England has written to all its schools to encourage ‘creative exploration’.

Seemingly this involves children being able to wear tiaras and tutus, or superhero capes, or both, without any judgment about gender. I am delighted with this attitude and hope it pervades among teachers.

I wonder when creative exploration stops though? Is that at senior school when children are squeezed into uniform and hair styles and conformity?

I’m all for creative expression and exploring aspects of dress culture and identity and just wish it went further so people reading this and roaring about ‘liberal guff’ would have an inkling of what life could be like without prejudice.