I usually like to go up to Newcastle early morning at a weekend to see Fenwick’s window, a few days after it has been unveiled, but this year like 250,000 people all all over the world I watched the virtual event that was live streamed on Facebook on Sunday night. This year the Fenwick’s window 2020 is Wind in the Willows.
I thought the virtual live stream was very well done, and I loved the trip down memory lane looking at past years windows, (Paddington is still my favourite), the elves dancing in the upper floor windows of Fenwick’s, and finally the unveiling.
Like many windows of the past, Fenwick’s window 2020 is based on a popular children’s story. Wind in the Willows dates back to 1908 and was written by Kenneth Grahame. I have to say it’s not my favourite story of all time, but it works for Fenwick’s windows with popular animal characters – Mole, Rat, Toad and Badger, and a slightly reworked tale to fit in with Christmas.
I went up to town for opening as I needed M&S food hall, so I was up there anyway but before we go any further it’s important to note that Fenwick’s are encouraging people to not make a particular visit just to see the window this year. Only visit if you’re in Newcastle anyway for the next couple of weeks.
The window is planned to last until January, so it will be there when restrictions lift in December, and through the festive season. Like the virtual event, they’ve made sure that all restrictions are adhered to, with barriers to stop people getting too close to the window, elves on hand to make sure people distance, and signs reminding people of distancing.
I have to say, I much prefer the barrier being there as you get a much clearer view of the window, without other people blocking it. I remember years of visiting as a child and it was always packed, so at least this gives a good view – they should keep it every year as it definitely doesn’t spoil any of the festive cheer. You can hear the music all the way up Northumberland Street too.
So back to the windows, that are based on the story with a few modern twists, such as Santa and the Fenwick’s delivery van. It works though and I think it’s quite a clever way to remind us how much Fenwick’s are at the centre of a Newcastle Christmas every year. It’s certainly my favourite shop for the food and beauty halls. I don’t mind the branding they have worked in.
The first couple of windows see Mole leaving his cosy burrow in winter, to visit his friend Ratty at his cottage. They mess about on the water in his boat, a reference back to the original novel.
On Christmas Eve they go to visit Toad at Toad Hall, but find chaos when they arrive. Ever the troublemaker Toad has been out on his new skis and has crashed into Santa, before running away with all the presents.
Mole and Ratty need help from wise Badger, so have to make it through the Wild Wood to get to him.
They hatch a plan to catch Toad, who is trying to escape on the fast train. They manage to stop him and get the presents back.
Their last task is to help Santa deliver all the presents, so they take the Fenwick’s van which Santa makes fly, and deliver them all on time before Christmas morning. Even Toad joins in to help them.
Having delivered all the presents, Toad invites all the friends and Santa back to Toad Hall for a Christmas dinner feast. Christmas is saved. Let’s hope that translates into the real world this year…
I’m so glad they still went ahead with Fenwick’s window 2020, it wouldn’t be Christmas without it and the virtual unveiling meant a lot more people could enjoy it than the usual 2000 strong crown that go to Northumberland Street. If you are going to see it this year, stick to the rules, keep your distance and you will still really enjoy it. I bet you’ll actually have a better view than normal.
If you missed it you can view the Fenwick’s window 2020 virtual unveiling on their facebook page here.
Other posts you might like:
Fenwick’s Window 2019 – Charlie & The Chocolate Factory
Fenwick’s Window 2018 – The Snowman
Fenwick’s Window 2017 – Paddington