It’s that time of year: The time to weep over the annual flood of spirited and wildly creative holiday ads that evoke all the feelings—laughter, tears, a resolve to be a better person when the calendar flips. Our list of the best holiday commercials this year includes bouncing animals, heartfelt reunions and top-notch cinematography.
The Christmas adverts from department store chain John Lewis are a bonafide British tradition—they’re pretty much experts in the category. And this year, the company did not disappoint—in fact, this one, the story of a girl named Bridget who loves to bounced, has jumped right to the top of YouTube’s Christmas ad chart. You’ll soon see why.
This one from Allegro, a Polish auction website, had us tearing up. An elderly man teaches himself how to speak English, and you may not be able to keep it together when you see why. (Warning: he drops the F-bomb in the cutest way possible.)
A Balloon for Ben was recently released by Cineplex, and it’s no surprise that it already has 84K views—Lily & the Snowman from last year was just precious. It’s a short, animated film that asks Canadians to “See The Big Picture” and shows us how film continuously brings loved ones together. Much like Ben and his father, it also reminds us to make time for what (and who) we love.
In an attempt to break down gender stereotypes, Système U (a supermarket chain in France) created a Christmas catalog with universal toys for boys and girls without a gender divide. This adorable commercial serves as a reminder to let kids be kids in a world “where there are no toys for girls or for boys–just toys.” Let’s get #GenderFreeChristmas trending!
Here’s another adorable ad from Heathrow Airport—the Brits again—featuring two cute bears coming home for Christmas.
Family reunions: An enduring theme in holiday ads. Here’s another one from Toys R Us about getting “exactly what you wish for.” Bonus points for the handsome, cupcake-making dad.
Haven’t had enough yet? This one from Food City will make the tears keep flowing and remind you to hug your loved ones close this holiday season.
This next one from Apple stars an unrecognizable Brad Garrett (remember Everybody Loves Raymond?) as Frankie—a lonely, lumbering Frankenstein-Scrooge mashup. The tagline reads “Open your heart to everyone.” And that’s what the holidays are all about, right?
Speaking of acceptance, this Lowe’s “Ginger Deer” commercial is about accepting the quirks that make people—and even cookies—unique. We never met a cookie we didn’t love.
The most stylish of the lot is hands down H&M’s Wes Anderson-directed “Come Together” ad. Starring Adrien Brody as a resourceful train conductor, this mini movie has all the usual Anderson flair: vintage styling, a palette of pastels and a cast of disparate characters.
Behind every good Santa is a remarkable Mrs. Claus who makes sure that no one is left behind. This M&S (Marks & Spencer) commercial delivers Christmas with love from Lady Christmas.
Macy’s advert reminds us that the special bond between #OldFriends might be all someone needs at Christmas time.
This one from Sainsbury’s supermarket in the UK is another chart-topper for Christmas ads, coming in second after John Lewis’ ad. James Corden (of Carpool Karaoke fame) lends his vocals to this stop-motion animated short featuring Dave, a frantic father who learns that the best gift he can give to his family is himself.
What would happen if Santa Claus forgot how to deliver presents? This super-sad animated ad from AlzheimersResearch UK touches on dementia and the importance of believing that research may cure it once and for all.
OK, time for something upbeat. This one from Mercedes Benz is just the cutest. It’s about a young boy who, even in the middle of a blizzard, is determined to make his snow date.
And last, but not least, the Coca Cola Christmas ad—what kind of list would this be without it? The Italian “#UnNataleSpeciale” version delivers a super sweet message. A boy spreads Christmas cheer by sneaking bottles of Coke into the hands of those who are flagging under all the holiday pressure.
Which holiday commercial is your favourite?