The best Christmas adverts for 2021: from John Lewis and M&S to Disney

From tear-jerkers to heart-warmers and everything in between, here are 2021's best festive offerings

A scene from John Lewis's 2021 Christmas advertising campaign 'Unexpected Guest'. Photo: John Lewis
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It may feel like the festive season is still a way off, but shops around the world are gearing up and that means it’s time for the annual onslaught of Christmas adverts.

From tear-jerkers to heart-warmers and everything in between, here are the best of the year so far.

John Lewis

Watch the wonderfully heartwarming 2021 John Lewis Christmas advert

Watch the wonderfully heartwarming 2021 John Lewis Christmas advert

Let’s start with the Christmas advert veterans over at John Lewis. This year, its commercial stays true to the British department store’s usual festive form, with the story of an unlikely friendship, a stripped-back version of a well-known song, and no attempts to try and sell anything.

The advert tells the story of a young space girl whose ship crash-lands in an English forest. She is discovered by a young boy, who becomes infatuated with her and teaches her about Christmas trees and lights. His heart is then broken as she fixes her ship and heads back to her planet, but not before she gives him a Christmas kiss on the cheek. Heart-warming? Sure, but it doesn’t carry the same emotional weight as John Lewis adverts gone by.


Entering the Christmas advert scene in a big way for 2021 is Boots, with a three-minute-long offering featuring Doctor Who star Jenna Coleman, whose grandmother gives her a Mary Poppins-esque Boots bag that is filled with endless presents. Coleman then takes the bag with her to visit friends and family, finding a present for everyone hidden within and spreading Christmas joy to all. Sure, it’s more commercial than the John Lewis advert, but it’s heavy on the Christmas spirit.

Marks & Spencer

You can always count on Marks & Spencer for a heart-warming, mouth-watering Christmas advert, and this year, you’ll also get a chuckle, too, courtesy of Vicar of Dibley star Dawn French and Spider-Man actor Tom Holland.

An unlikely duo, but it works. French stars as the fairy on top of a Christmas tree who accidentally drops her magic wand on a present box below, and unwittingly brings a Percy Pig toy (voiced by Holland) to life. Cue an animated pig running through the aisles of the M&S food hall, excitable about the store’s festive offerings, just like everyone watching.


The veteran UK department store’s festive offering is a 39-second clip that mimics a 1980s game show, as a talking Christmas tree manages to find a gift for everyone from an eco-conscious sister-in-law to a neighbour’s lockdown dog. It’s retro, chaotic and filled with glamorous items. While it may not be the most Christmassy of the bunch, it will certainly raise a smile.


Coming through with the tear-jerker Christmas advert for 2021 is Disney. In a three-a-half minute-long animated mini-film titled The Stepdad, Disney tells the story of a family trying to adapt to a new dynamic after a mother’s new partner moves in with her and her two children. The stepdad and his dog try to win over the children by building a Christmas gingerbread house, but it doesn’t quite go to plan. However, he manages to bring a smile back to their faces, and a tear to the viewers’ eyes. There’s also plenty of recognisable Disney, Pixar and Marvel references thrown in.

Updated: November 09, 2021, 6:06 AM