Escapism and the feelgood factor feature strongly in this year’s store Christmas windows in a year that has been difficult for many people.

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As the golden quarter gets into full swing and the festive break nears, retailers have pulled out the stops to create seasonal excitement and entertain with eye-catching displays.

Fortnum & Mason’s famous store front on London’s Piccadilly is especially striking at night with the illuminated fascia emblazoned with the year and the brightly lit windows drawing attention.

Fenwick has taken inspiration from CS Lewis’ Narnia children’s books for its Newcastle flagship windows. Chief marketing officer Mia Fenwick said the Christmas windows are “a celebration of the importance of storytelling” and Narnia takes people into “an enchanted land filled with mesmerising characters who teach us all about courage, kindness, family and the thrill of adventure”.

John Lewis has put Snapper, the Venus flytrap that features in its Christmas ad, at the centre of windows including at the Chelsea Peter Jones store, where the character also appears on the store’s fascia. The campaign is designed to reflect “the enduring and changing ways the nation now celebrates” Christmas.

Selfridges invites shoppers to ‘Showtime’, promising a “theatrical extravaganza loaded with festive drama and delight”. The curtains on one window open and close, engaging customers like a stage performance. Harrods’ windows are tie-ups with big names including Valentino and Dior Beauty and “embrace the theme of extraordinary gifts and the act of giving during the holiday season”.

Lego used its store windows in London and New York to organise a “transatlantic snow throw”, in which shoppers compete to see which city can throw the most digitised snowballs.

This year shows store windows at their most varied and captivating, playing their part in bringing Christmas cheer – and the associated spend.