Whilst the Christmas window displays have been up for a little while now in London, it was only yesterday that I caught a glimpse of them. As usual, I've focused on Selfridges and Liberty, two of the biggest power players, but first it's the turn of Selfridges with a really magical example of visual merchandising.
Say it with Viktor & Rolf's Flowerbomb - my favourite perfume got the spotlight it deserved.
The Dutch design duo created a story to set off the playful children's winter wonderland theme of the decorations.
There was an element of Gulliver's Travels here, as the tiny elf figures clustered around the perfume bottle.
A larger-than-life Charlotte Olympia cat loafer with moving ears was another centrepiece.
Primary colours were the focus here - royal blue Kenzo jumpers suspended from pillarbox red and signature Selfridges yellow parachutes and surrounded by yellow planes.
A nice promo for Canon and a nod to the many other snappers (besides me) taking photos of the windows.
Even these figurines couldn't wait to get in on the act.
Something of a Grey Goose playground for these (responsible, 18+) models.
A giant snowglobe would complete the look, you say? Oh wait, they've got that one covered...
The avalanche of Play-Doh was presented as fun rather than life-threatening for the figures in this miniature world.
Who knew boxers could be so artfully arranged? Candy-stripe ladders were the final touch.
This took the biscuit on the 'oversize clutch' front - no wonder a child was mesmerised by YSL's (or Saint Laurent's) piece de resistance, complete with Santa clinging onto the gold tassel beneath the logo
Ding Dong Merrily on Hi-Tops.
Fornasetti brought a touch of theatrical glamour with a model of its candle (normally more of a manageable size, but still £99). The train set running past was a nice touch.
Some of the side windows focus on the charity that Selfridges has teamed up with this year, the brilliant Kids Company. You can help them support disadvantaged children by texting KIDSHELP to 70700, which will cost just £5; the whole of that donation goes straight to Kids Company and funds their important work.
So, was this visual merchandising enough to draw the punters? I'd say so, judging by the crowds gathered to look at the windows but also to peek inside the store and get a taste of the magic for themselves, from the Christmas Shop and its helpful Elfridges concierges, to the beauty counters downstairs.
I think the concept of a playful winter wonderland is simple but effective, capturing the childhood nostalgia that Christmas inspires year after year. After all, it is the best time to be a big kid.