This year, the tableaux tells Hans Christian Andersen's The Snow Queen...
"The flake of snow grew larger and larger; and at last it was like a young lady, dressed in the finest white gauze, made of a million little flakes like stars.
She was so beautiful and delicate, but she was of ice, of dazzling, sparkling ice; yet she lived; her eyes gazed fixedly, like two stars; but there was neither quiet nor repose in them. She nodded towards the window, and beckoned with her hand..."
One of the windows shows the Snow Queen in her sledge riding across the skies carrying off the young boy, Kay, to her icy castle in the North...
The snow-flakes grew larger and larger, till at last they looked just like great white fowls. Suddenly they flew on one side; the large sledge stopped, and the person who drove rose up. It was a lady; her cloak and cap were of snow.Which always reminds me of another encounter - that between Edmund and the White Witch in C S Lewis' The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe...
She was tall and of slender figure, and of a dazzling whiteness. It was the Snow Queen.
"We have travelled fast," said she; "but it is freezingly cold. Come under my bearskin."
And she put him in the sledge beside her, wrapped the fur round him, and he felt as though he were sinking in a snow-wreath.
"My poor child," she said... "how cold you look! Come and sit with me here on my sledge and I will put my mantle round you and we will talk."Hans Christian Andersen's Sneedronningen was first published in 1845 and C S Lewis' The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, 105 years later, in 1950.
Edmund did not like this arrangement at all but he dared not disobey; he stepped on to the sledge and sat at her feet, and she put a fold of her fur mantle round him and tucked it well in.
The Snow Queen and the White Witch are clearly kindred spirits and although they have sinisterly chilly designs on the boys Kay and Edmund, their frosty machinations are happily frustrated - in the Andersen story by the determination of Kay's young friend Gerda...
...while in the Lewis book by the love of Edmund's brother and sisters and the intervention of Aslan.
Still, if any of you happen to meet any icy-looking women (especially in Fortnum & Mason's sweet department where they undoubtedly sell that speciality of the White Witch - Turkish Delight) be on your guard...
You can read the whole of Andersen's Snow Queen on The Literature Network.
And you'll find some more Snow Queen windows on my companion blog, Window Gazing.
And when you've done all that, you can - if you wish - check out last year's F&M windows that were devoted to the seasonal song, 'The Twelve Days of Christmas'.
Images: The White Witch by Pauline Baynes; Fortnum & Mason's windows © Brian Sibley 2008