They say Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year. Well, for brands and marketers, it’s also one of the most lucrative.
In the United States alone, retailers spend over $3 billion on Christmas advertising. But if you’re going to splash all that money on media spend and really want to enjoy a Merry Christmas, you better be sure that your creative is up to scratch.
To inspire your next campaign, here’s our roundup of the best Christmas ads from the last few decades. And, if you need a fast way to get your Christmas commercials approved before the holidays, check out Filestage’s content review platform.
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1. John Lewis – The Long Wait (2011)
John Lewis is renowned for creating magical Christmas adverts that capture the attention of people all over the world. And this one is the best of the bunch!
Created by the advertising agency Adam & Eve/DDB, The Long Wait is a heartwarming Christmas advert. The story revolves around a young boy eagerly counting down the days until Christmas, but his anticipation isn’t driven by his own gifts. Instead, he’s excited to give a special present to his parents. On Christmas morning.
This Christmas commercial beautifully captures the holiday spirit of selflessness and the joy of giving during the holidays. It resonates with viewers as it emphasizes the importance of thoughtful gestures, family, and the warm feeling of making loved ones happy.
2. Coca-Cola – Holidays Are Coming
Coca-Cola’s Holidays Are Coming, brought to life by the advertising agency Wieden+Kennedy, is one of those Christmas traditions that everyone loves.
The ad has evolved slightly over the years, but the magic of the Coca-Cola truck, those twinkling lights, and the familiar jingle of Christmas bells has always remained. What makes this ad so enchanting is its ability to evoke a sense of nostalgia and Christmas magic, reminding us of the joy and anticipation that the holiday season brings.
The sight of the Coca-Cola truck and those iconic Christmas decorations has become a cherished symbol of the season, igniting the spirit of togetherness, happiness, and holiday traditions.
Check out our full list of the best Coca-Cola commercials.
3. Apple – Frankie’s Holiday (2016)
Frankie’s Holiday by Apple, created by TBWA\Media Arts Lab, is a wonderfully inventive Christmas advert.
It portrays Frankenstein’s Monster living in isolation, practicing a holiday message through a simple act of kindness. The monster unexpectedly finds a connection with the townspeople when he starts playing “There’s No Place Like Home” on a harmonica.
The advert beautifully conveys the themes of acceptance, unity, and the idea that the holiday season is about embracing the differences that make us unique. The heartwarming storyline, combined with the magical musical performance, kindles the Christmas spirit by celebrating goodwill, inclusion, and the joy of togetherness.
Apple isn’t just famous for its Christmas marketing. Take a look at our full roundup of brilliant Apple ads.
4. Sainsbury’s – Mog’s Christmas Calamity (2015)
Sainsbury’s Mog’s Christmas Calamity, created by the renowned advertising agency AMV BBDO, tells the story of Mog, a lovable but accident-prone cat.
The calamity begins when Mog accidentally ruins the Christmas festivities, resulting in chaos. But, in an unexpected twist, the community rallies together, reminding us that the true spirit of Christmas is about coming together and helping one another during challenging times.
This charming narrative, based on the beloved children’s book character Mog, encapsulates the idea that even when things go wrong, the holidays are a time for unity, kindness, and sharing. It’s a story that warms hearts and inspires the Christmas spirit.
5. Marks & Spencer – Christmas with Love from Mrs. Claus (2016)
You can’t talk about the best Christmas adverts without talking about Marks & Spencer.
Christmas with Love from Mrs. Claus, crafted by RKCR/Y&R, is a delightful Christmas ad for Marks & Spencer. It tells the story of Mrs. Claus, who secretly embarks on a mission to help a young boy’s Christmas wish come true, while Santa is busy delivering presents.
Her acts of kindness and resourcefulness resonate with the joy of giving during the holiday season. What’s special about this ad is its focus on the quieter, behind-the-scenes acts of love and the role that everyone can play in making the holidays magical.
It reminds us that the true Christmas spirit lies in selflessness, generosity, and the warmth of family bonds.
6. Aldi – Kevin the Carrot (2017)
In the UK, competition is fierce to be the supermarket of choice for Christmas shopping. Traditionally, this space was dominated by Sainsbury’s and Marks & Spencer, but then Aldi came along!
Aldi’s Kevin the Carrot, created by McCann UK, has become a beloved and recurring Christmas character. The ad features Kevin, an adventurous carrot, in various holiday-themed scenarios.
What makes this campaign charming is its delightful mix of humor and storytelling, reminiscent of classic Christmas tales. Kevin’s escapades and his family’s love for him evoke a sense of togetherness and joy.
The playful and endearing character of Kevin, along with the anticipation of his holiday adventures, make it easy to get into the Christmas spirit. The advert celebrates the simple pleasures and shared moments that make the season special.
7. Heathrow Airport – Coming Home for Christmas (2016)
Heathrow Airport’s Coming Home for Christmas, created by Havas London, is a heartwarming and relatable Christmas ad.
The story follows two elderly teddy bears, Mr. and Mrs. Bair, who arrive at Heathrow Airport. They endure a journey filled with mishaps as they make their way through the bustling airport to meet their family.
The advert beautifully captures the anticipation and excitement of reuniting with loved ones during the holiday season. The bears’ journey reflects the real experiences of travelers and families coming together, emphasizing the significance of reconnections, joy, and the enduring spirit of the Christmas season.
8. Edeka – Time to Come Home (2016)
Edeka’s Time to Come Home, created by German agency Jung von Matt, is a touching and emotional Christmas ad.
The story revolves around an elderly man who fakes his own death to bring his scattered family back home for the holidays. As his family gathers, he reveals himself, and the ad emphasizes the importance of family reunions during the holiday season.
The heartfelt message, combined with the powerful narrative, stirs emotions and embodies the notion that Christmas is a time to be with those we love. It’s a reminder of the warmth, love, and unity that the holiday season represents, making it a poignant catalyst for the Christmas spirit.
9. Amazon – Give A Little Bit (2017)
Amazon’s Give A Little Bit, made with the advertising agency Lucky Generals, is a playful Christmas advert that features a choir of singing cardboard boxes. The boxes come to life and perform an uplifting rendition of “Give a Little Bit” by Supertramp, spreading holiday cheer to a neighborhood.
The ad encapsulates the magic of the season and the joy of gift-giving, as the boxes collaborate to create a memorable holiday experience. The sight of these inanimate objects bursting into song, united in their mission to deliver joy, perfectly captures the spirit of Christmas, where even the simplest acts of kindness and connection can make the season brighter and more festive.
10. H&M – Come Together (2016)
H&M’s Come Together, created by Wes Anderson in collaboration with Adam & Eve/DDB, is a heartwarming Christmas ad set on a train. Passengers are facing the disappointment of delayed travel on Christmas Day.
The conductor, portrayed by actor Adrien Brody, orchestrates a makeshift holiday celebration for those on board. Despite their unexpected circumstances, the passengers come together to share moments of joy, kindness, and unity, reminding us that the holiday season is about building connections, even in unexpected places.
Wes Anderson’s signature storytelling style, combined with the spirit of community and celebration, makes it an enchanting catalyst for the Christmas spirit.
11. Sainsbury’s – The Greatest Gift (2016)
Sainsbury’s The Greatest Gift, crafted by AMV BBDO, is a memorable Christmas ad that features a dad juggling work and family life during the festive season.
The ad’s catchy original song, “The Greatest Gift,” plays in the background as it follows the father’s quest to be in two places at once. The commercial illustrates the joy of giving and spending time with loved ones, emphasizing that the most precious gift is the presence of family.
Its heartfelt message, coupled with a toe-tapping tune, makes it a charming catalyst for the Christmas spirit, reminding us of the significance of togetherness during the holidays.
12. TK Maxx – The Goat (2020)
TK Maxx’s brings a dose of whimsy to Christmas, created by Wieden+Kennedy. The ad features a stylish goat strutting and sliding through the snow in a flashy get-up.
Its quirky and lighthearted humor, combined with the unexpected nature of the scenario, creates a unique and entertaining Christmas atmosphere. It gets you into the Christmas spirit by emphasizing the playful side of the season and the joy that can be found in the unexpected.
The goat’s cool fashion show appearance offer a refreshing break from traditional holiday tropes, making it a fun and memorable addition to the festive lineup.
13. McDonald’s – Reindeer Ready (2019)
McDonald’s Reindeer Ready, created by Leo Burnett London, is a heartwarming Christmas ad that tells the story of a young girl who – without giving too much away – loves playing with her reindeer.
The commercial captures the importance of family at Christmas by showing that, even if you’re too old for it, it’s important to keep the magic alive for the youngsters.
Want to see more great ads from the creator of the Big Mac? Browse our full list of the best McDonald’s campaigns.
14. Amazon – Everybody Needs Somebody (2019)
Everybody Needs Somebody, created by Lucky Generals, shows a little girl who plays the song “Everybody needs somebody” on the piano then some magical boxes start to sing and bring a smile to people’s faces.
The commercial underlines the role of Amazon in making holiday shopping convenient, even during this stressful time. It gets you into the Christmas spirit by highlighting the importance of community, adaptability, and the support of traditions, demonstrating how the spirit of the season can shine through unexpected situations.
15. Lidl – A Christmas You Can Believe In (2020)
Created by TBWA\Berlin, A Christmas You Can Believe In is a lighthearted Christmas ad that captures the essence of authentic, everyday holiday moments. The advert showcases people finding joy in simple traditions like decorating their Christmas trees, wrapping gifts, and sharing meals with loved ones.
It’s about real, relatable experiences, emphasizing that the true magic of Christmas is in the small, heartfelt moments. The ad evokes the Christmas spirit by celebrating the warmth, authenticity, and simplicity of the season, making it relatable to everyone and reminding us that it’s the cherished moments with family and friends that truly make Christmas special.
16. Marks & Spencer – Paddington and the Christmas Visitor (2017)
Paddington and the Christmas Visitor by Grey London is a whimsical Christmas ad that features the beloved character Paddington Bear.
In this enchanting story, Paddington stumbles upon a burglar dressed as Santa Claus on Christmas Eve. He mistakes the burglar for Santa and helps him return the stolen gifts to their rightful owners.
The advert beautifully captures the spirit of kindness, understanding, and the magic of Christmas. Paddington’s innocence and good intentions evoke a sense of goodwill, reminding us of the importance of empathy and the joy of giving during the holiday season, making it a delightful catalyst for the Christmas spirit.
17. Sainsbury’s – Nicholas the Sweep (2019)
Sainsbury’s Nicholas the Sweep, created by Wieden+Kennedy, is a Dickensian-themed Christmas ad featuring a young chimney sweep named Nicholas.
After getting falsely accused as a thief, Nicholas gets banished from town and sent out into the snow. Luckily, a Good Samaritan sees everything and, knowing he’s innocent, decides to save him. She hands Nicholas a big bag of oranges to perk him up but, rather than choosing to eat them himself, he decides to spread the joy by sharing them with his friends.
18. Apple – Share Your Gifts (2018)
Apple’s Share Your Gifts, created by TBWA\Media Arts Lab, is a lovely Christmas ad that encourages people to share their creative talents during the holiday season.
It follows a young woman who is hesitant to share her creative work with others, hiding it away from the world. Recognizing her talent, her dog forces the window open, sending her work out into the world and spreading her creativity throughout the community.
The ad highlights the value of personal expression and connection. It inspires the Christmas spirit by reminding us that sharing our unique gifts and passions can brighten the lives of those around us during the holiday season.
19. Argos – Book of Dreams (2019)
Argos’s Book of Dreams, created by The&Partnership, takes a nostalgic trip through the Argos catalog’s iconic “Book of Dreams.”
The Christmas campaign shows a father at the kitchen table, leafing through this catalog in which his daughter has circled a drum set. Suddenly the musical instrument is right in front of him and he starts drumming until his daughter, surprised by the noise and the wafts of mist wafting out of the fridge, wakes up and joins in the private concert. What makes this ad special is its ability to evoke cherished memories of Christmases past, as many viewers can relate to the excitement of circling desired gifts in a catalog.
The sentimentality, combined with the promise of fulfilling wishes, encourages a warm and nostalgic feeling, making it a delightful catalyst for the Christmas spirit, reminiscent of the joy of holiday surprises and gift-giving.