Year upon year, the arrival of the festive period is accompanied by a number of annual traditions, such as the switching on of Christmas lights and the increased consumption of copious mince pies.
The annual release of heartwarming adverts has undoubtedly become one of the greatest customs of all, with each brand vying to be dubbed the most sentimental.
Who can forget the 2011 John Lewis advert that saw a young boy eagerly waiting for Christmas so that he can present his parents with a gift, or the 2014 Sainsbury’s advert that depicts the World War I Christmas Truce of 1914?
Here are 12 of the most emotionally stirring Christmas adverts to have ever been released:
1. ‘The Long Wait’
The John Lewis advert begins with a young boy frustratingly watching the seconds tick away on the clock as he waits for Christmas to arrive.
While he initially seems like a typical child desperate for a day of numerous presents, all is not as it seems.
On Christmas morning, the boy rushes out of bed, ignoring the presents on his bedroom floor so that he can retrieve the gift that he’s been sweetly storing for his parents at the back of his wardrobe.
In 1914 on Christmas day, British and German soldiers on the Western Front forged a truce, which involved approximately 100,000 troops taking part in unofficial ceasefires and socialising with one another in celebration of the festive period.
In 2014, 100 years since the truce, Sainsbury’s released its advert depicting the event in partnership with The Royal British Legion.
All profits made from the sale of a £1 chocolate bar following the release of the advert were given to the charity to provide support for members and veterans of the British armed forces and their families.
3. ‘The Man on The Moon’
Nearly a million of older people in the country experience loneliness during the festive season, according to Age UK.
This was highlighted in the 2015 John Lewis advert, which shows a young girl on earth making a connection with an elderly man residing on the moon.
4. ‘Mog’s Christmas Calamity’
For Mog the calamitous cat, nothing appears to go her way in the 2015 Sainsbury’s advert.
Having smashed the crockery on the kitchen table, crushed the presents with a cabinet and disintegrated the Christmas tree, it seems as though her family’s Christmas Day is ruined.
That is, until their neighbours band together to help clean up their home and put on a spectacular meal for all to enjoy.
5. ‘Coming Home’
This advert by German brand Edeka went viral in 2015 for telling the tale of an elderly man who can’t get his family to visit him for the festive period.
All of his children receive a message to say that their father has passed away, prompting them all to return to their family home as soon as possible.
As soon as they arrive, they’re shocked with a huge Christmas surprise that will surely make even the coldest of hearts shed a tear.
6. ‘Monty The Penguin’
This John Lewis advert from 2014 depicts the friendship between a young boy and a penguin called Monty.
While their friendship is as strong as ever, the boy realises that something is missing from Monty’s life, with the penguin exhibiting signs of loneliness.
He therefore makes the decision to make Monty’s Christmas extra special with the gift of love.
7. ‘English for beginners’
A couple of years ago, Polish company Allegro released an advert that shows an older man taking an English for beginners course.
The man works very hard to improve his English, placing sticky labels with English words around his home and listening to his language tapes while on the bus.
His motivation for learning English isn’t made clear until the end of the video, when he visits family in the UK for Christmas, meeting his young granddaughter in person for the very first time.
8. ‘The Journey’
Six years ago, this John Lewis Christmas advert stirred the hearts of the nation as people watched a snowman strive to buy a perfect gift for his love.
Set to Gabrielle Aplin’s version of ‘The Power of Love’, this advert was transformed into a children’s picture book soon after its first screening.
9. ‘The Bear and The Hare’
No one should have to miss out on Christmas, not even a hibernating bear.
Thanks to the gift of an alarm clock given to him by a hare, this advert portrays the bear waking up in time to join the rest of the woodland creatures under the Christmas tree.
10. ‘The Snowman’
In 2006, Irn Bru released its popular Christmas advert ‘The Snowman’, paying homage to and gently mocking the 1982 short film of the same name.
The advert has remained a classic ever since, showing the boy squabbling with the snowman over a can of the Scottish soft drink.
11. ‘Holidays are Coming’
The classic Coca-Cola ‘Holidays Are Coming’ Christmas advert has been around for numerous years, showing a young boy ringing a bell to signal that the Coca-Cola Christmas trucks are making their way to town.
It’s undeniably cheesy, but it wouldn’t be Christmas without this aged advert gracing the TV screen.
12. ‘Christmas with love from Mrs Claus’
Why does all the attention fall on Santa Claus when Christmas comes around?
In this 2016 Marks & Spencer advert, we’re shown just what Mrs Claus gets up to behind the scenes, delivering presents in a red helicopter and making it back in time for her husband to arrive home from his long night of work.