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A John Lewis Christmas Letter.

A heartfelt Christmas letter to the CEO of John Lewis.

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2016 has left people exhausted. Our politics has gone nuts and so many sad messages are churning out minute after minute. Fortunately, as the Trump shaped meteor hurtles towards earth, chaos is being intercepted by Christmas! A time of heaped food, wonderful drinks and heartwarming adverts. And like so many up and down our beautiful land I waited with nail-biting anticipation for the new John Lewis Christmas advert to signal the start of festivities. As usual there was not a shred of disappointment… Well at least not right away. At least not until I found reason to write this letter, and not until I had this truly disheartening response which made me feel like I'd met my celebrity crush who turned out to be a bit douchey.

There's so many reasons to love John Lewis. They're ethical, they treat their staff brilliantly, and they don't judge you if you don't know why different size cheese knives matter. Despite this, despite the love they fanfare in their christmas ads and to the world generally, I was so disheartened to find out that they spend so much money on advertising with one of the papers most culpable of spouting messages of goodwill towards just a select few and screwing others in the meantime. I'm sure it's no surprise that I mean The Daily Mail who to me are just very cruel. They would throw baubles at the struggling, urinate in their christmas punch and accuse Rudolph of being a freeloader for only working once a year. They spout stories about the people who need goodwill the most, the people that won't sit cosy and warmed by the company of family and the surety of safety this Christmas.

I was so disheartened with John Lewis that even watching that beautiful, bouncing boxer didn't seem to chime right anymore. I was disheartened too when I got this response to what I thought was quite an amicable email. Ok, so maybe it's unfair of me to try and make a fuss about something like this but to me if Christmas is about anything, it's about hope and kindness, and if you feel this with sincerity, if this is what it really means to you in your heart of hearts, then what's wrong with asking yourself, 'does this seem right and fair?' I don't know about you but I want 2017 to start differently, to be a bit brighter. And yes it would be just swell watch next year's John Lewis Christmas advert with the same child like excitement as time long passed.

So here's the email and the response they sent through...

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From: Mitchell Theaker

Subject: John Lewis Christmas

Date: 13 November 2016 at 6:36 pm To: charlie_mayfield@johnlewis.co.uk

Dear Mr Mayfield, (CEO)

I was so pleased again this year to see an excellent advert produced by John Lewis. For me like so many others, the heart warming adverts play quite a big role in my family's christmas. It's the signal that the season is here and a great excuse to start drinking the christmas hot chocolates. I love the adverts and I love John Lewis. I do my christmas shopping in your Cardiff store every year where I buy pretty much all the gifts I can possibly find. This year though I'm not so sure I will.

You see Sir, it really hurt me quite deeply to see that John Lewis has been advertising with the Daily Mail paper and despite being challenged on this doesn't seem willing to review this decision. It hurt me because I think it betrays almost every message we're told in your christmas adverts. Messages of kindness, togetherness for strangers and loved ones doesn't chime well with the messages of division from the Mail that are just very cruel. I can't support a store that supports these kind of messages because Sir, just 21 miles off our coast there are children who have fled the most horrific warfare and who unlike my 13 year old brother will sleep alone and unsafe this Christmas. These are the people the Mail call 'swarms.' I'm not sure about you but to me these are just kids who we can either support, or by proxy condemn.

The Mail also recently called a group of our judges, some of our most dedicated public servants, 'the enemy of the people.' And before it was revised they used one of the judge's sexuality as an attack on his character. And for me this is where it gets personal. I'm gay and I don't think that's something that should make me a target or a lesser person. But it's not me I really care about because I'm very strong and I have friends and family who like any good people love me for who I am and would never dream of any alternative. It get's personal because despite knowing that I'd be loved regardless, coming out was hard, and with messages like this coming from the Mail it could make it even harder for other people. I can't imagine how difficult it would be for a young person who didn't have the support that I had to come out and messages like this one can not only frighten young people into saying nothing, but they can also entrench prejudices in people's minds. It hurts a great deal to think about those young people and I know maybe it is hard to fully understand but I'm sure it's not hard to empathise.

Usually the coming of winter is met with the excitement of Christmas which in no small part is delivered with John Lewis' help, but this year things seem much darker than usual. I can't in good conscious enjoy Christmas the same way as before when the message has changed to kindness towards some instead of kindness towards all.

I ask on behalf of a great number I'm sure for John Lewis to seriously reconsider who they choose to put their faith in and convey their messages through. I hope above all that the adverts and messages you send are sincere in their meaning.

Best wishes and a very Merry Christmas,

Mitch

Mitchell Theaker

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On 15 Nov 2016, at 3:35 pm, yourenquiry@johnlewis.co.uk wrote:

Dear Mr Theaker, 

Thank you for your recent email addressed to our Chairman, Sir Charlie Mayfield.

We fully appreciate the strength of feeling on this issue but we never make an editorial judgement on a particular newspaper.

Thank you for contacting us with your concern.

Kind regards,

Director Relations

 

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