Fenwick reveal Clarice Bean themed Christmas Windows

Christmas in Newcastle would not be the same without a visit to Fenwick’s Christmas Window which is a much-loved part of a long-standing Geordie Christmas tradition - 50 years worth of Geordie tradition, to be precise. 

The queue to wander past Fenwick’s Christmas display always snakes with great anticipation along Northumberland Street in the heart of Newcastle city centre. Each year, typically in early November, the Fenwick Christmas Window is revealed and each year, thousands of festive shoppers and families on a day out in Newcastle clamour to see what the new Christmas window theme will be.

The 2022 Fenwick Christmas Window was revealed online, with viewers tuning into their YouTube channel to find out the theme for the year. 

And what is the theme of this year's Fenwick Christmas Window...? Clarice Bean: Think Like an Elf, which magically depicts the much-loved character Clarice Bean trying ‘exceptionordinarily’ hard to save her family’s Christmas and stop the Christmas spirit completely floating away. This year’s theme was created in partnership with award-winning children’s author and illustrator Lauren Child CBE. This is the first time, since the launch of the first Christmas window display over 50 years ago, that Fenwick has worked directly with an author to design the window theme. 

Filled with warmth and irresistible humour, Think Like an Elf is a tale of unwavering Christmas spirit of the extraordinary, effervescent, and beloved Clarice Bean as she navigates her way to a fun-filled, circus-inspired Christmas. The story is told over the eight windows of the Northumberland Steet store frontage where we are transported into Clarice’s world as we are introduced to her home, her family, and her friends as we join her on a quest to bring the circus to town this Christmas. Clarice and Fenwick share an equal love of the circus, as this year Fenwick’s 140th anniversary celebrations drew huge influence from Arthur Fenwick’s passion for the circus.

Eager visitors can pop into Fenwick Newcastle for a spot of Christmas shopping, browse their Christmas Market and get lost in their incredible Food Hall stocked with treats, groceries, patisseries and excellent gifts from local and independent producers as well as well-known brands.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Fenwick Christmas Window 2019 Newcastle

Over the past half a century, there have been many different festive (and surprisingly unfestive) themes as well as some rather unusual stories told across the famous department store’s front window.

Let's take a look back at the last few years of the Fenwick's Christmas Window.

Which year was your favourite Fenwick Christmas Window display?

The Snowman by Raymond Briggs Fenwick Christmas Window Newcastle 2018

Classic children's book character?

The 2020 Fenwick window was dedicated to Ratty, Mole and Mr Toad from the classic children's book The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame while the 2019 window belonged to two of the most famous book characters - Charlie Bucket and Willy Wonka. This was actually the first time that the popular Roald Dahl classic, Charlie and The Chocolate Factory had featured in the annual display with each scene along the stretch of the shopfront telling a different part of the story and showcasing much-loved characters created in the iconic style of illustrator Quentin Blake. Despite that being the first foray for Charlie and The Chocolate Factory, other classic children’s book characters have regularly starred in the shopfront showcase since its first Christmas Window in 1971, making it a popular source of inspiration for the window.

Alice in Wonderland has graced the Christmas Window a whopping three times with her first appearance in 1981; a repeat visit just over a decade later in 1993 and then most recently in 2014.

The Snowman by Raymond Briggs (pictured) has also had a couple of spotlight moments with the famous children’s book character forming the focus of the Fenwick Christmas Window in 2005 and then again in 2018.

Paddington Bear, Beatrix Potter’s much-loved menagerie of characters and Rupert the Bear have also told their story across the Fenwick’s window.

... a little left field?

Perhaps slightly less festive but certainly quite memorable were the years when Pinocchio, Oliver Twist, Gulliver (twice – 1984 and 2006), Sooty and the (now infamous) Aliens took centre stage in the Fenwick Christmas Window.

Do you remember the year of Christmas in Poodletown (2000) or perhaps a slight misstep from the department store giants with Jungle Fantasy in 1989? We are all for creativity though so you never know... there may be some more wacky windows to look out for. 

Last year it was Shaun the Sheep that brought the Christmas spirit to the windows on Northumberland Street. Shaun and the Flock marked the 50th anniversary of the tradition.

... Christmas vibes?

There have been years with a panto theme (Aladdin in 1975, Peter Pan in 1999 and Wonderful World of Pantomime in 1979). The Big Man is also no stranger to the Fenwick Newcastle Christmas Window with Father Christmas being a popular feature of the display over the last half a century. Rudolph had his own year to shine when the theme was The Reindeer Express in 2012. While The Christmas Story has been interpreted twice across the department store windows (2004 and 2009) and a more generic Christmassy tone was set in years where The Night Before Christmas (2010), Winter Wonderland (2007) and Christmas Village (1994) were the loose themes.

Here is a full list of Fenwick Newcastle Christmas Window displays from years gone by.

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