Well, the big day has arrived. The festive season starts today, for the John Lewis Christmas ad hits screens just a few hours from now.
John Lewis is the one to beat when it comes to Christmas ads, and the high street behemoth unveils this year’s offering at 9.30pm tonight, on Channel 4 and all the Sky channels.
It ticks all the big boxes: Cute characters, charming and heartfelt cover song soundtrack and full of merchandise opportunities.
There are two stars this year: Moz the monster, and Joe, the human boy he keeps awake at night.
The retailer trailed the ad with a frankly terrifying clip showing only the eyes of an unspecified creature, lurking under a bed. That creature is Moz and while the first few seconds of the advert might be a bit scary for particularly jumpy children - or journalists - it soon transpires that Joe is dealing with a friendly monster.
The pair become pals, but hanging out with a nocturnal beast who farts loudly at all hours (this story is aimed squarely at kids) soon takes a toll on Joe’s daily life, and we see him falling asleep at various inopportune moments.
Eventually, Moz cottons on to the problem and realises he’s got to go - so he buys Joe a present that will help solve the problem.
The department store doesn’t go quite so hard at the heart strings this year. This is no old, lonely man on the moon. Joe finds out how to get rid of the monster, but he’s not banished forever, so it's not as much of a weepy as in previous years.
However, the store still pulled out all the stops - it brought Oscar-winning director Michel Gondry on board to create the ad, and he admits: "When I told my ex girlfriend I was doing the next John Lewis Christmas film she said: You have big shoes to fill, this John Lewis commercial must make people cry, don’t forget. Last week I showed it to her and she cried. Phew."
Have a look at the ad here, and let us know if you share Gondry's relief:
This year's mascot is Moz the monster.
Several products bearing Moz's image will be available instore, as well as products featured in the ad itself. In addition, fans can create their own digital monster in certain stores, and the retailer has paired up with Facebook to make a tool that allows users to "Mozify" their faces.
This year's soundtrack is the song Golden Slumbers, a Beatles track covered by British band Elbow. The track will be included in the group's "Best of..." album, which will be released on 24th November.
John Lewis' charity partner this year is Barnardos - the retailer will make a donation to the charity from the sale of Moz cuddly toys and mugs.