The Fenwick Christmas Window

The Fenwick Christmas window is the pinnacle of the Northumberland Street fashion scene. So, what's all the fuss about?

Peter Bath
14th December 2021
Image: Sophia Ayub

The annual crowds are out in force at the bottom of Northumberland Street, braving the cold to see this year's Fenwick Christmas window display. The theme this time is Shaun the Sheep: The Flight Before Christmas, a new TV special from the Wallace and Gromit spin-off character.

Image: Instagram @fenwickofficial

The windows tell the story of various anthropomorphic sheep preparing for Christmas, and rescuing Timmy, a lamb who has been mistaken for a present by the farmer (who also, confusingly, appears to be Santa). The tie-in with Shaun the Sheep proved popular, with one Twitter user writing “Usually hate Fenwicks window having an actual branded character but I shall easily make an exception for Aardman characters!” 

Image: Sophia Ayub

The window was unveiled on 7th November over a Facebook livestream. Northumberland Street had to be closed off for the opening to prevent crowds, such was the excitement in the city. The ceremony featured elves performing some precarious acrobatics, primary school children in woolly jumpers and a countdown from Father Christmas on the department store’s roof. The stream has gathered 234 thousand views on Facebook, with viewers from as far away as California, Ontario and Sydney showing their appreciation, and lots of people sharing their memories of the displays over the years.

For anyone new to Newcastle it might seem odd. Thousands of people queue up to get a glimpse of what is essentially a Christmas shop front with a few moving parts.

For anyone new to Newcastle it might seem odd. Thousands of people queue up to get a glimpse of what is essentially a Christmas shop front with a few moving parts. The animatronics aren't mind-blowing, nor is the scale spectacular, and ‘We Wish You a Merry Christmas’ blaring across Northumberland Street two months a year would drive anyone round the bend, but that’s not what matters. Modest though it may be, the special thing is the undeniable joy this iconic Geordie institution brings. 

After all, aren’t bizarre traditions we all inexplicably love what Christmas is all about?

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