The 21 best Christmas adverts of all time to make you laugh, cry and watch again

Written by Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is Stylist’s digital editor-at-large. Her specialist topics include comic books, films, TV and feminism. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends.

From one iconic kiss under the mistletoe to a child dressed as a plug, we take a look back at some of the most magical (and memorable) Christmas adverts of all time.

As a rule, the majority of us tend to find adverts annoying. Back in the old pre-streaming days, we used to groan when they popped up on the telly. We’d use that five-minute window between TV shows to wander off and make ourselves a cuppa, nip to the toilet, source snacks, or feed the cat.

And nowadays? Well, nowadays we have the option to ‘skip ad’ if we want to – and plenty of us want to.

When winter rolls around, though, our relationship with adverts tends to change dramatically. Because even the most ardent advert hater in the world can’t resist a good Christmas commercial. 

Why? Well, because they tug at our heartstrings. Because they conjure up a childhood memory so strong, so nostalgic, that it makes us weak at the knees. Because we live for the romanticised image of a white Christmas. Because they aren’t selling anything, not really: all they aim to do is make us feel seriously warm and fuzzy inside.

With that in mind, then, we’ve taken a look back at the many, many, many Christmas adverts we’ve been gifted over the years, and pulled out the very best.

Prepare to laugh, cry, and everything else in between…

The best Christmas adverts of all time

  • Mistletoe – Yellow Pages (1992)

    It’s a throwback, that’s for sure, but this sweet advert has always held a special place in our hearts.

  • Magic Moments – Quality Street (1992)

    Catchy tune? Tick! Cute kid? Tick! A sweet heartfelt message about the joy that comes with creating magic moments for others? Tick, tick, tick!

  • “Go On, Then” – Lurpak (1994)

    The Lurpak man may not have made us cry, and he may not have done anything grand, but his little tooting horn was basically the sound of Christmas for a while.

  • Holidays Are Coming – Coca Cola (1995)


  • Phenomenal Christmas – Irn Bru (2006)

    The Snowman is Christmas (snow) personified, quite frankly. And this clever Scottish ad knows it, too.

  • Christmas Food – M&S (2006)

    This isn’t just food, it’s Christmas food from M&S. And, as such, it’s pure #foodporn, too.

  • Aliens – Argos (2012)

    This writer’s mum bloody loved the Argos advert from 2012, and would always, always, always shush everyone so that she could laugh at the extraterrestrials singing along to Walking In The Air at the end. Every single time.

  • The Journey – John Lewis (2012)

    A lovelorn snowman, an intrepid quest, and a gorgeously romantic cover of Frankie Goes To Hollywood’s The Power Of Love? It can only be the John Lewis snowman, here to steal your snowgirl (and make you cry happy tears, obviously).

  • The Bear And The Hare – John Lewis (2013)

    John Lewis returned to make us weep in 2013 with an animated tale of a hare who buys its best bear friend an alarm clock so he’d wake up from hibernation in time to enjoy the Christmas festivities. 

    Set to a beautiful Lily Allen cover of Keane’s Somewhere Only We Know, the ad has remained a fan favourite ever since.

  • Monty The Penguin – John Lewis (2014)

    Another Christmas, another spectacular John Lewis ad. And this one, all about Monty the Penguin and his desire to find “real love” is just… yeah, it’s just guaranteed to hit you right in the feels. No matter how many times you’ve seen it.

  • 1914 – Sainsbury’s (2014)

    Sainsbury’s offered up a poignant account of the 1914 First World War Christmas truce back in 2014, winning countless hearts in the process.

  • Special Because – Boots (2014)

    This all-too-relevant Christmas ad, all about hardworking NHS staff, tells the tale of how one family’s celebrations begin at midnight on Christmas Day, as everyone else’s is ending…

  • Mrs Claus – M&S (2014)

    A James Bond-esque Mrs Claus? You bet your bottom dollar we loved this one…

  • The Man on The Moon – John Lewis (2015)

    In 2015, John Lewis teamed up with Age UK to raise awareness around loneliness, something that nearly a million of older people in the country experience during the festive season.

    The ad, which features a young girl on earth making a connection with an elderly man living on his own on the moon, was a total tearjerker, and reminded many to show someone outside their immediate circle that they’re loved during the Christmas period. 

  • English For Beginners – Allegro (2016)

    In this heartwarming video, an old Polish man spends his days learning English, practicing pretty much everywhere he goes (including the bathtub). Come the end, we get to see the moment he’s been studying up for. And, yeah, it will have you in tears.

  • Coming Home For Christmas – Heathrow (2016)

    Another ad guaranteed to warm your cockles, this gem follows two elderly bears as they land at Heathrow, go through passport control and walk through arrivals, anxiously waiting for someone to claim them.

  • Kevin – Aldi (2017)

    Kevin the Carrot has made it his business to steal the nation’s hearts via Aldi’s Christmas adverts. In this 2017 video, though, he also steals the heart of someone else…

  • The Big Night – Sainsbury’s (2018)

    Everything about this is perfect, but the cherry on top of the cake (or the holly on top of the fiery Christmas pud) is that child dressed as a plug.

  • Reindeer Ready – McDonald’s (2019)

    This animated classic is all about adorable Ellie and Archie the reindeer, as well as the power of imagination (and chicken nuggets, we guess).

  • From Our Family To Yours – Disney (2020)

    One of the best 2020 adverts to date, this Disney short film highlights the importance of maintaining and fostering family traditions as it follows the relationship between a Filipino grandmother and her granddaughter.

  • Give Something Only You Can Give – Coca Cola (2020)

    Oscar-winning director, writer, and actor Taika Waititi is the mastermind behind this searing story, all about a father’s quest to deliver his daughter’s letter to Santa. And, yeah, we are 100% behind that tagline: “This Christmas, give something only you can give”

Main image: Courtesy of Sainsbury’s.

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