Ranked: Every single John Lewis Christmas advert from worst to best
Which is truly the most festive?
It’s November, there’s a chill in the air and it means one thing and one thing only – the John Lewis Christmas advert has arrived.
This year’s edition tells the story of a boy called Nathan who discovers an alien and their broken down spaceship in the woods behind his house. He teaches them the magic and traditions of Christmas before their spaceship is fixed and they go on their merry way.
It’s a pretty decent advert, full of Christmas cheer and subtle nods to John Lewis’s products. However it isn’t necessarily the most festive of all the John Lewis adverts.
Each year the store attempts to outdo themselves with the best Christmas advert and every time there is a sense of national anticipation to see just how emotional the advert is going to be. Once those tears start going at the sight of the advert, you know it’s Christmas time.
But since the adverts began in 2007 which has been the one full of the most Christmas cheer? We’ve ranked all 15 adverts from worst to best to see which are Grinch worthy and which is the true spirit of Christmas.
15. Clues – 2008
I think I fell asleep watching this advert. It’s literally just clips of people and then cutting to what dream gift they want. Snooze fest.
14. Shadows – 2007
Yes this really is the first John Lewis Christmas advert and honestly we have come a long way.
It seems like the beginning of a Pixar movie when in reality it soon becomes about people stacking up gifts in order to create a shadow silhouette.
It’s short and effective but not exactly full of yuletide greetings.
13. The Boy and The Piano – 2018
This is not a John Lewis advert but a Christmas themed Elton John music video.
I understand the video is all about the power one gift can have and the clip of the little boy opening the piano was very sweet.
But it just didn’t scream Christmas or John Lewis, it screamed Elton.
12. The Feeling – 2009
This was clearly still in John Lewis’ era when they were just pushing the products as centre stage for the advert.
However this is one of the better earlier ones as it does actually sum up the feeling of being a child on Christmas morning and opening something you really want. Even if that is a Toshiba laptop.
11. Moz The Monster – 2017
This advert about a boy and the monster under his bed is very sweet and would be great for a toy company. However I watch a John Lewis advert for the Christmas vibes and to sustain me with Christmas spirit until the end of December.
But Moz the Monster has no indication of Christmas until near the end. Would a few twinkling lights or drops of snow hurt? No it wouldn’t.
The song, a cover of The Beatles’ “Golden Slumbers”, is ok but not moving. It’s a nice advert but not exactly a wow.
10. A Tribute To Givers – 2010
This was the first time Elton John’s Your Song was used in a John Lewis advert and is a far more fitting use of the song, especially as its sung by Ellie Goulding.
The advert features a variety of people just wrapping up gifts for the people they love. There’s no mad special effects or unidentifiable CGI creatures – just a lot of love and gifts.
9. The Journey – 2012
Let’s start with the best bit of this advert which is easily Gabrielle Aplin’s cover of The Power Of Love. It’s haunting, beautiful and will literally send shivers down your spine.
The rest of the advert is a bit meh in my opinion. First of all I’m jealous because there is never that much snow in the UK and secondly I’m just not invested in the snowman’s arduous journey to get his snow wife a pair of gloves. I get it obviously but it wasn’t exactly tugging at my heart strings.
However the Christmasy scenes throughout the two minutes do get me all warm and fuzzy inside so props for that.
8. Edgar The Dragon – 2019
I won’t lie the whole small child and their mythical creature friend really hit it’s peak here. I think it’s time for a new format John Lewis.
Edgar is very cute and I appreciated the whole Game of Thrones vibe to the advert. However the gift at the end was a bit underwhelming and the song had zero Christmas energy to it.
7. Buster The Boxer – 2016
This advert was a bit of a departure from the usual sadness of John Lewis adverts and you know what it really works. The story of Buster The Boxer wanting to jump on the trampoline is a bit bizarre but I believe it. The advert captures the excitement of Christmas Eve and finally getting the present you really want.
It’s funny, lighthearted and probably the most cheerful of all the John Lewis adverts. I’m not exactly sold on the song of “One Day I’ll Fly Away” which is the main reason it’s only made it halfway.
6. Unexpected Guest – 2021
Aliens are hardly festive but the story of 14 year old Nathan teaching an alien the traditions of Christmas will melt even the Grinch’s heart.
This year’s advert is full of classic Christmas traditions, the song is pretty decent and even though it ends on a bittersweet note it won’t have you crying your eyes out which is a refreshing change for John Lewis.
5. Monty The Penguin – 2014
If you take this advert at face value then it’s actually pretty strange. A young boy has a pet penguin who gets depressed because he’s not in love, so the boy acts as his matchmaker and buys him a mate.
However if you’re just focusing on the emotions it evokes then it’s a pretty powerful advert about how we all just want to be in love at Christmas.
The advert definitely wouldn’t have hit as deep in the feels as it did if Tom Odell’s cover of Real Love wasn’t the song for it.
4. The Bear and The Hare – 2013
This was like a Disney movie ready and waiting to happen. The story of the friendship between the bear and the hare is incredibly wholesome. It’s not exactly the most traditional of Christmases but it will definitely transport you into that magical childhood world.
And of course I think we can collectively agree that Lily Allen’s cover of “Somewhere Only We Know” is the best ever John Lewis Christmas advert song.
3. Man on The Moon – 2015
Want to watch an adult cry in less than two minutes? Stick on the 2015 John Lewis advert.
It tells the story of a little girl on Earth who just wants to get a gift to a lonely old man living on the Moon. Whilst her life is full of fun Christmas cheer, he is left alone on a bench.
She manages to get a gift up to him so he can wave back to her. It will honestly break your heart and that is why it cannot have the top spot. Being broken hearted is not very festive.
2. Give A Little Love – 2020
Last year’s John Lewis advert was easily one of my favourites. It felt like the first time it included a multitude of characters rather than focusing on just one small child and their imaginary animal friend.
It summed up the mood of 2020 by highlighting the importance of little acts of love, the original song by Celeste were incredible and the advert featured work from eight different independent artists.
The advert was cheerful, warming and not totally depressing.
1. The Long Wait – 2011
Right so I won’t lie I do not remember this advert at all which is maybe why it hit me so deep. It’s all about a little boy who is counting down the minutes until Christmas.
At first I thought it was so he could get all his presents like any normal child would, but no on Christmas morning he ran past his own presents to give his parents a gift. And honestly my heart broke a little bit, and a small tear trickled down my eye.
In short it’s the perfect John Lewis Christmas advert. It has enough emotional blackmail to make you feel something but not enough to have you reaching for the tissues. It’s sweet, poignant, full of Christmas scenes and no unnecessary gimmicks.