Ad melts hardest hearts… not mine

Jones Homes Christmas
Jones Homes Christmas
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One half Glaswegian, the other of Sheffield mining stock, Bloke is not one for tears.

In the five years I’ve known him, I have never seen him get so much as moist over a slushy movie.

The other night, though, in the final throws of X Factor, his voice went all choked and a couple of tears ran down his bristly cheeks.

Imminent exit of Misha B, the singer simply too good for teen texters to appreciate? No.

Nor was the decorating getting on top of him. The living room where eight will tuck into turkey and trimmings in 19 days’ time is out of bounds under painting sheets, but he’s unfazed.

What did it for this strong, emotionally neutered type was that flipping John Lewis advert. You must have seen it; the one where the little boy can’t wait for Christmas morning.

Or maybe not. The ad launched last month, trended on Twitter within hours and is a smash hit on Youtube, but it had passed Bloke by.

He smiled at the impatience of the sweet little fellow counting down the days and ticking off the sleeps. Then he realised all the lad wanted was to give his parents their gift – and turned to mush.

He’s not alone. It’s had the nation by the throat, this winsome, calculated tug on the heart-strings which cost John Lewis a whacking £6 million to produce.

It can’t touch a mother’s heart, though: we’re the Christmas advert cynics. We know that commercial’s all about raking money in from festive shoppers and that at Christmas, kids are ruthless mercenaries. You can’t get so much as a Christmas card out of them once they’re out of primary.

Nor can you fool us with those images of gloriously sentimental family Christmases. They do not happen in real life.

Something invariably goes wrong and so what? Those are the memories you unwrap for Christmas ever after.

Like the Christmas Day skint Boy and I woke up to discover the tree branch we had dragged back from the woods, sprayed gold and wrestled to the top of the telly had topple backwards overnight and bust the aerial socket.

And our first Christmas as three, when my 17-year-old wouldn’t get out of bed til 1pm. After an immense row in front of new Bloke, he drove off to seek a better Christmas at his dad’s. He’d just passed his test, hit a kerb and could have killed himself, which, obviously, was all my fault. Oh, how we laugh about that now.

The Christmas before our wedding, when Bloke and I had a huge row all by ourselves, would actually make John Lewis their next commercial.

Seething with each other and all four wrinklies due in 20 minutes, we attempted to clear the air by taking the dog for a walk.

It didn’t work; I remember standing on a frozen hill and saying maybe we should call the wedding off.

He didn’t cry that day, either. He told me not to be such a drama queen and marched me back down the hill.

But the producers could change that bit. And with the right song...