It’s time for EW’s highly anticipated annual holiday commercial countdown.
Yes, ’tis the season when leaving the room during the commercial break could mean missing the must-see moment of that evening’s viewing. Sure, we might not always realize what the companies are promoting, but it’s more about the warm feeling we’re left with than the need to spend big bucks.
This year’s list sees entries from all around the globe, ranging from the classic sentimental tear-jerkers to the festively funny, to those that get the salivary glands working. Bring snacks and tissues; you’ll need both.
And so, without further ado, we present our compilation of this year’s best holiday commercials. If you don’t cry or crack up at least once, you gotta work on that Christmas spirit!
The online book (and, let’s face it, everything) seller puts a smile on its packages’ faces — and ours — as the parcels join in a merry singalong on the way to their destinations. We’re sure plenty holiday shoppers will be giving a little bit of their love to amazon this festive period.
Never give up on your childhood dreams, folks! You might just get a Merc for Christmas one year. The real bonus is the man in the ad gets the car when he’s actually old enough to drive it, instead of when he’s, like, 7.
Australia’s largest department store has a decent entry this year with a cute (if a little highly strung) elf going on an adventure to find some friends who share his appreciation for classy Christmas decorations. He ends up back home with his OG friends by the end, so the moral of the story is pretty much to appreciate what you’ve got. Oh, and don’t forget about the tinsel!
Santa’s workshop sure got high-tech! The British catalog retailer version of the North Pole has rockets and super-determined elves galore. “Christmas: ready for takeoff,” indeed.
Honestly, the British supermarket pretty much makes the list just for the hilarious moment where the kid falls over backwards after pulling a cracker at 0:38, but it also does a good job in evoking turkey cravings, and the rendition of “Merry Christmas, Everyone” is quite lovely.
Another U.K. grocery store, another heartwarming display of family affection. This ad brings the cheer and all the feels with a big brother looking out for his lil’ sis on every occasion — even in those gluten-free moments! Watch it again, go on.
20. David Jones
The Aussies strike again! This time, department store David Jones brings us the tale of a traveling gingerbread man who picks up pressies for his family back home at every stop — that is, until he goes to pieces, literally. Don’t worry, it’s all things sugar and spice by the end!
Snow? Check. Cute kid? Check. Dancing puppets? Double check. HP pretty much nailed the recipe to Christmas commercial success with this entry. Wouldn’t it be lovely if instead of making noise and stealing your mail, your friendly neighbors put on a fun Christmas show instead? Maybe I’ll buy an HP and see what happens…
You might remember this little chap from last year’s Aldi ad, and if you saw Murder on the Orient Express this fall, his surrounding might also seem somewhat similar. One cold Christmas eve, a carrot awoke… and, it’s hard to talk about, okay, but a gingerbread man ends up murdered. Spoiler alert: It ends in a carrot-y kiss.
17. House of Fraser
Spending time with family is what the holidays are all about, and this ad showcases some sweet sisterly moments at their sparkliest. From donning glittery wigs to play dress-up as kids to donning glittery dresses to party as adults, the two sisters in the commercial for British department store Frasers sure have plenty of Christmas spirit. (Can you tell I miss my sister?)
When has being trapped in a pub ever been a bad thing? Well, fine, maybe if it’s Christmas Eve and you’ve got to get home and serve a huge meal, but the lovely folks in this Waitrose commercial are so good at making the best of a bad situation that they’re actually a little irritated when they’re
interrupted rescued. The main takeaway here is: So long as there’s plenty food and drink (from U.K. supermarket Waitrose), everything will be okay.
So, a yellow M&M saving Christmas isn’t exactly the most reassuring thought, but when Santa takes a bump to the head, someone has to step up. Things get a little, um, nuts for a second when the yellow M&M delivers gifts to the wrong houses, but in the end, people are brought together as they exchange their items for the correct ones. It’s sweet — like chocolate.
14. John Lewis
Always a strong contender in any ranking of holidays ads, the British department store lost a few fans this year when it ditched its usual illustrated animals for Moz the Monster. Admittedly, the story line is a little confusing, but the kid is super cute, so bah humbug to the haters!
Living in a lighthouse is a little lonely — especially during the holidays, and even more so after the death of a loved one (sob, sob). Luckily for the little girl and her dad in this Macy’s commercial, the kid across the water knows morse code and invites her to Christmas dinner via his nightstand lamp, lightening spirits for all!
Who wouldn’t want to celebrate Christmas with the inimitable and classy Julie Andrews? The lady in this Sky entry has the right idea as she sits down with her daughter every Christmas to watch The Sound of Music. You know you cried at the last scene, don’t deny it.
Imagine you’re just sitting waiting for a train watching It’s a Wonderful Life on your phone and Martin Freeman strikes up conversation with you! A Christmas miracle for sure, and the lucky lady in the ad doesn’t have any crazy streaming charges since she’s on the Vodafone network. Head here to find out what happens next.
We’re into the top 10, festive friends! Santa may be known for his round belly, but when you’ve got to fit down a narrow chimney, being festively plump becomes problematic. In this French commercial, one little boy takes it upon himself to
fat shame put Papa Noël on a diet and learns a thing or two about healthy eating himself along the way. A rare Christmas message, but an important one.
Yay for inclusiveness! Samsung is here to celebrate every religion and all holidays in this sweet 2017 offering. The real miracle is that the lovely doorman finally gets a new phone after what must’ve been 15 years — he couldn’t be more deserving, but I hope they gave him a nice cash bonus too.
8. Marks & Spencer
British superstore Marks & Spencer always has a good entry, and this year is no exception. When Paddington Bear intercepts a burglar and mistakes him for Santa Claus, the unlikely duo set out to deliver presents together — the well-meaning little bear is unaware they’re actually returning the items the thief has pinched. In the end, it’s the burglar’s heart that’s stolen as he rediscovers the meaning of Christmas. Weirdly, I’m not left with a marmalade craving, though.
Guys! McDonald’s sells carrots! Okay, so there’s more to this commercial than that revelation. An adorable little girl carries around her last McDonald’s carrot all day in order to save it as a snack for one of Santa’s reindeer. The father-daughter relationship is truly heartwarming, but it’s too bad dad misses out on a burger at the end.
Fancy an iDance? This couple do when they maximize the “pauses when it falls out of your ear” function of the Apple Airpods and enjoy a snowy dance off to the dulcet tones of Sam Smith’s “Palace.”
Who doesn’t love a Cinderella story with a modern social media twist? Debenhams really brings the magic with their 2017 holiday commercial. It’s romantic, the
missing shoe is actors are highly attractive, and the concept is downright charming. Add in Ewan McGregor as narrator/orchestrater of love and “you shall find your fairytale Christmas.”
Okay, so it’s not quite last year’s entry from Allegro with the old man learning English to visit his grandson in the U.K. (what do you mean you don’t still watch it once a week?), but it’s adorable and tear-inducing nonetheless. A little boy lands a nifty talisman that brings him luck in even the most unlikely of situations, but in the end gives it up to a homeless man (Santa?) who’s more down on his luck than he is. Okay, fine, I’m crying this year too. Dammit, Allegro.
3. BBC One
I mean did we really expect anything less from the British Broadcasting Corporation? The BBC’s Christmas ad makes you want to dance, laugh, and cry (and probably call your dad too). Really, the dance moves speak for themselves, so I’ll just let you screen/shimmy/sob in peace.
2. Air New Zealand
I love an overly sentimental Christmas commercial as much as the next person, but the truly funny ones are always something to behold. Air New Zealand flies high with their 2017 edition in which Santa, though fluent in Chinese, can’t understand any of his New Zealand callers’ Christmas wishes due to their thick accents. “An ear plane for Windy?” Um, close enough. Luckily, a couple of flight attendants from Air New Zealand are on hand to help him understand the Kiwi droll. It’s hilarious. Mirry Christmus, Air NZ!
If you don’t already have the Kleenex out, you clearly haven’t read/watched this full list! We’ll forgive you, but grab them now. Two adorable little teddy bears in love never fail to meet one another at Heathrow airport when flying in and out of London over the years… need I go on? That lump you feel forming in your throat will still be there, even on the 17th viewing.