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John Lewis Christmas adverts ranked: from Monty to Moz

It's the most John Lewis-y time of the time, but which is their best advert of all time?

John Lewis Christmas advert
Published: Wednesday, 3rd November 2021 at 5:06 pm

Like clockwork, you can guarantee many will be in floods of tears the second the new John Lewis Christmas advert 2021 drops.

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It's that time of the year when retailers put out their festive ads and as we eagerly await the new John Lewis advert, we thought it was high time we ranked everything that's been - all 14 of them.

So, without further ado, here's the definitive list of all the John Lewis Christmas adverts. Ranked.

14. Shadows (2007)

john lewis shadows

Cast your minds back 14 years and you might just remember Shadows. A sweet and snappy advert which showcased plenty of John Lewis' gift range in the form of silhouetting. Who would have thought a coffee machine and a feather boa could make a pretty convincing dog? Well, maybe Britain's Got Talent winners, Attraction... A far cry from the tear-jerking emotion-fests we're used to, but pretty punchy nevertheless.

13. The Feeling (2009)

john lewis ad

In at number 13, this is really the advert that started them all. This was the first to feature a dramatic cover while a cute sentimental scene played out on screen. This time, to the tune of Sweet Child o' Mine, kids open presents typically given to adults, prompting us all to "remember how Christmas used to feel". Ahh.

12. Clues (2008)

Another one from the-before-times in at 12, with Clues, a cutesy advert with puns at the heart of it. With a cover of The Beatles' From Me to You at the heart of the advert, we met different characters and got a snapshot of their perfect presents - a tired man wanted a coffee machine, and so on. If only gifting really was that simple, eh?

11. Buster the Boxer (2016)

john lewis buster

Happy boxer dog, Buster, just wants to play. When he sees foxes and a badger among the myriad of animals playing on a young girl's trampoline she isn't allowed until Christmas Day, Buster has one thing on his mind. As she runs out to play on her new toy, she's beaten by the pup, who just wanted a bounce. Vaults provided a cover of One Day I'll Fly Away for this pretty cute advert. The only problem – not really the most festive, was it? And the poor girl had to wait even longer for her present.

10. The Boy & The Piano (2018)

john lewis elton

Look, we love Elton John as much as everyone else, so it was a real treat to see him appear on John Lewis' 2018 Christmas advert. But again, like our Buster above, it felt like more of an advert for Elt's autobiography (which is great, would recommend) or his latest single, than a festive ad. A cool advert with some really swish effect, just needed more Christmas, to be honest.

9. Give a Little Love (2020)

After a tough year with the COVID pandemic, John Lewis brought an honest and thought-provoking message to screens, prompting everyone to "give a little love" with small acts of kindness. Celeste performed A Little Love on this sweet and understated advert, which was a true reflection of the time we were living in. John Lewis worked with many charities in the UK so profits from the tie-in range were spent wisely, and in-keeping with the lovely tone of the advert.

8. Moz the Monster (2017)

john lewis moz

Elbow sing a beautiful version of The Beatles' Golden Slumbers for adorable Moz the Monster, which would most certainly win if we were ranking the songs. Big and bumbling Moz lives under a little boy's bed - he's afraid of the dark, but this friendly giant tells him exactly why he shouldn't be. While they have fun playing at night, it's not sustainable for the poor lad who just wants to kip during the day. Thinking of what's best for him, Moz gifts a nightlight to his new friend, and says goodbye, letting him get on with his life. Completely adorable, and a John Lewis classic, even if some did find Moz a bit scary.

7. A Tribute to Givers (2010)

john lewis gift

The one you'll all remember - at least for the song. Ellie Goulding's cover of Elton John rocketed up the charts when A Tribute to Givers was released, marking a whole new wave of touching John Lewis adverts. In this cute video, people prepare to give gifts to their loved ones, often struggling with wrapping tricky objects or conceal a rocking horse from two kids (Santa clearly couldn't carry that one...). This one reminded us all of the lengths we go to to give the perfect present - and the next advert on the list highlights just how special that feeling is.

6. The Long Wait (2011)

john lewis the long wait

As a follow on from A Tribute to Givers comes The Long Wait. You know the feeling - you've got your loved one the most perfect present, but you have to wait ages to give it to them. That's what happens to the little boy in this truly lovely advert which features Slow Moving Millie's cover of Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want. All the way through the ad, you think this is a little boy just waiting for Santa to come, but BAM! You get an emotional gut punch when it's revealed all he was really excited for was giving his hand-wrapped present to his parents. TOO. CUTE.

5. Excitable Edgar (2019)

John Lewis Christmas Ad 2019 (Screenshot)

Set in Ye Olde times, Edgar just can't wait for Christmas, but the only issue is he blows flames when he's happy. The advert, set to Bastille's cover of Can't Fight This Feeling, shows the village fed up with the adorable dragon who's always (accidentally) ruining the fun until his little friend Ava finds the perfect gift that always needs a flame - a Christmas pudding. Funny, witty and downright sickly sweet, this is one to remember.

4. The Bear and the Hare (2013)

We guarantee with just the title alone you know exactly which advert I'm talking about. Set to Lily Allen's famous cover of Keane's Somewhere Only We Know, The Bear and the Hare tells the tale of winter wildlife in charming 2D animation. A bear heads on hibernation, missing all the festive fun, until a thoughtful rabbit buys him an alarm clock, so he can enjoy Christmas with all his friends from the forest. Simple, beautifully-made, and catchy, The Bear and the Hare set the precedent for Christmas adverts across the land - but none have ever matched this masterpiece.

3. The Journey (2012)

john lewis journey

Gabrielle Aplin covered The Power of Love and was actually the first of the retailer's soundtrack songs to head to number one in the UK charts. The premise was glorious and ambitious: a snowman travelled across mountains, rivers and UK high streets to find his snow(wo)man the perfect gift - a hat and scarf set. Now, we're not sure personally how helpful the gift was, but you can't blame a man for trying. Nevertheless, this certainly got the nation talking as we all wished our partners were as good at buying gifts as a – *checks notes* – snowman.

2. The Man on the Moon (2015)

Norwegian singer Aurora covered Oasis hit Half the World Away for this emotional and powerful offering. A young girl spots an old man living on the moon by himself and tries her best to get his attention. She eventually wins by sending him a telescope via balloons so he can watch Christmas from his home. John Lewis teamed up with Age UK to raise awareness of loneliness at Christmas among the elderly, while also raising much needed funds for the charity. This was - and still is - a true tearjerker with the most important Christmas message at the heart of it: "Show someone they're loved this Christmas."

1. Monty the Penguin (2014)

I dare you not to melt completely after watching Monty the Penguin. Little boy Sam and his penguin pal Monty do everything together, but the latter feels there's something missing, especially when it hits Christmas time. He just wants a lover. Sam surprises him on Christmas morning with a girlfriend as Tom Odell hits the crescendo of Real Love, but the actual twist comes just moments later as you realise Monty and his new lover are just Sam's toys and that's the real love. (We're not crying, you are.)

The advert was so successful it spawned a thousand memes (many of which are simply too rude to share here) and turned Monty the Penguin into a household name, starting the beginning of John Lewis' popular character-based offerings. Truly one of a kind and so innovative, it was always going to be number one.

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