Get excited for our new John Lewis Christmas advert with a complete list of the ads of Christmas past (box of tissues: standard issue)
Prokofiev’s Morning Serenade from Romeo and Juliet
Directed by Michael Gracey, who went on to make The Greatest Showman, this features a rolling cast bringing gifts to a studio, arranging them in such a way that their shadows combine to create a woman and her dog in the snow. The tagline? ‘Whoever you’re looking for this Christmas.’
From Me to You John Lewis Partners
‘If you know the person, you'll find the present.’ The first of many epic cover songs to feature in a John Lewis Christmas advert, in this case From Me to You by The Beatles, sung by John Lewis Partners. As actors appeared, they were closely followed by the perfect gift – from an older couple with a satnav to a baby with a toy mouse.
Sweet Child O’ Mine Taken By Trees
The first of 14 adverts from agency Adam & Eve, this one evoked the childhood joy of opening Christmas gifts. At the end, a child delighting in a new camera morphs into her adult version, feeling the same excitement at the gift. An acoustic version of Guns N’ Roses’ Sweet Child O’ Mine was the soundtrack.
Your Song Ellie Goulding
Sundance Film Festival award-winner Eric Lynne directed this ad, which foreshadows today’s For All Life’s Moments tagline, exploring the rituals of gift giving, from sneaking the kids’ presents up the stairs without them seeing, to getting covered in tape as you wrap something awkward. Sir Elton John’s Your Song would be revisited in 2018, sung by the great man himself…
Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want Slow Moving Millie
The first tear-jerker, this masterpiece by director Dougal Wilson follows a boy’s anxious wait for Christmas morning – the kicker being that he is impatient to give a gift to his parents, rather than open his own. This reworking of the classic Smiths song really fast-tracked John Lewis’s reputation as the home of Christmas.
The Power of Love Gabrielle Aplin
Dougal Wilson returned to tell this festive tale. A snowman’s heroic journey to buy his snow-wife a gift sees him leave a snowy rural garden for the city, climbing mountains, enduring traffic and hiding from the Christmas hordes, all in his quest for the perfect present. The haunting song The Power of Love gave this otherwise simple story pathos and reached number one in the charts that year.
Somewhere Only We Know Lily Allen
The only 2D animated John Lewis ad ever made, this cartoon tells the story of a bear who hibernates, leaving his BFF, a hare, to spend Christmas without them. As the other woodland animals decorate the tree and wrap presents, the bear snoozes in its cave, waking on Christmas morning to the delight of its long-eared companion. Lily Allen’s version of the Keane song gave her a third number one hit.
Real Love Tom Odell
A boy’s beloved pet penguin begins to wonder about finding a mate, watching romantic movies and wistfully gazing at people kissing on benches. The boy’s solution? A mail-order bride for Monty, who turns out to be just a cuddly toy and part of the boy’s imagination. With Dougal Wilson back in the director’s chair, and John Lennon covered by Tom Odell, this ad is rated top by many John Lewis customers.
Half the World Away Aurora
Through her telescope, a girl sees a lonely old man on the moon and sets about sending him a gift for Christmas – a telescope of his own so he can see that he’s not alone. With an ethereal reworking of Oasis’s Half the World Away by Norwegian artist Aurora as the soundtrack, and a tie-in with charity Age UK, this is one of the top-ranked Christmas adverts.
One Day I’ll Fly Away Vaults
This ad was played for laughs, not tears, as Buster the dog frustratedly watched foxes, badgers, hedgehogs and squirrels bounce on a recently assembled trampoline in his garden on Christmas Eve. The next morning, Buster barges past the little girl whose Christmas present it really is – and the joy on his face as he finally gets his turn to bounce is unforgettable.
Golden Slumbers Elbow
Directed by Michael Gondry (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind), in this advert a young boy make friends with Moz, the monster under his bed. Nocturnal adventures leave the lad sleep-deprived, until a gift of a nightlight snuffs out Moz. Disaster! Happily, with the click of a switch, he can be reanimated.
Your Song Elton John
National treasure Sir Elton John is celebrated in an advert that traces his life. Set to the soundtrack of Your Song, we rewind through stadium performances, private jets and recording studios to early gigs, until we reach boyhood, when a young Elton comes down the stairs on Christmas morning to unwrap a gift to all of us – the piano that set him off on his stellar career.
Can’t Fight This Feeling Bastille
Adorable village dragon Edgar can’t control his excited fire-breathing, melting a snowman and an ice rink before torching the village Christmas tree. He shuts himself away in shame, but a young girl wins him over with a simple gift – a Christmas pudding, which Edgar lights for the villagers on Christmas Day.
A Little Love Celeste
Eight random acts of kindness unfold in this live action and animated advert, which chimed with the national mood as we hunkered down for a lockdown Christmas. An original track by Celeste broke from the tradition of covers for the soundtrack, while eight artists collaborated to create the different scenes, including French animator Sylvain Chomet and Chris Hopewell, who’s made music videos for the likes of Franz Ferdinand.
Together in Electric Dreams Lola Young
Romance returns in this advert, which sees an alien crash-land on earth and falls for the boy who teaches her all about Christmas. With his light-up jumper handed over as a gift before she returns to her planet, Nathan (the human) is given his first kiss. This year’s soundtrack was Lola Young’s interpretation of the Eighties electro-pop classic by Phil Oakey and Giorgio Moroder
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All the Small Things Postmodern Jukebox featuring Puddles Pity Party
The one with a twist. We see a man comically trying to learn to skateboard – wincing at his injuries, but persisting nonetheless. Later the doorbell rings and he greets an awkward-looking teen holding a skateboard – he has been learning in order to find some common ground with his new foster child. ‘Skate a bit too,’ he says nonchalantly as she comes inside, helping to draw attention to the John Lewis Building Happier Futures programme, which supports care-experienced people.
This is the story of a perfect Christmas tree named Snapper. Snapper might not be perfect to you or me – but he’s perfect in every way to a boy called Alfie, who grew him from a seed.
Truth be told, Snapper is not the most traditional of trees. More Venus fly trap than Norwegian fir, but he tries his very best. And Alfie loves him all the more for it. Alfie’s family, however, well… they needed some convincing. But, eventually, they realise he’s perfect in his own way and they learn to let their traditions grow.