This year’s batch of Christmas commercials are hot out of the oven, with ad agencies on both sides of the Atlantic baking up treats for all of us this holiday season. And we really do mean “all of us”—many of the TV spots this yuletide put the spotlight on inclusivity.
From a same-sex, chimney-side romance to a new type of “holiday ball,” here are the ads we’re loving this year.
Posten Norge, “When Harry Met Santa”
Norway’s postal service is winning fans around the world with this 4-minute short film, which depicts a tender romance between a lonely man and the Man in Red. The ad celebrates the country’s 50th anniversary of the decriminalization of homosexuality, and Posten Norge told NBC News that its goal was to “show love has no limits” and that the ad has been received with an “overwhelming” response in Norway so far.
Etsy, “Our Santa”
Speaking of better representation, Etsy’s 30-second spot highlights how Santa Claus has been depicted as a white man from time immemorial. So with the help of a certain online marketplace for crafts, a grandson gives his grandfather a gift that upends that tradition.
John Lewis, “Unexpected Guest”
Unexpected guest, indeed! John Lewis, a British department store chain, always delivers cinematic Christmas ads, and this one is no exception, showing a teen introducing yuletide traditions to an alien visitor. “We know our customers are more excited than ever for Christmas, craving joyful moments, togetherness and escapism as so many were unable to celebrate with loved ones last year,” the retailer explained in a statement.
TK Maxx, “Christmas to the Maxx”
Here in the States, we get TJ Maxx ads urging us to become “Maxxinistas,” whatever that means. But across the pond, the department store’s British counterpart has delivered this tale of a school recital that gets a jolt of hard-rock holiday spirit, thanks to one teen’s shimmering pair of boots.
Boots, “Bags of Joy”
Jenna Coleman of The Serpent and Victoria fame stars in this commercial directed by Oscar-winning filmmaker Tom Hooper (who’s perhaps trying to atone for his film adaptation of Cats). In the 3-minute commercial, Coleman’s character gets a magical handbag from her “Nan”—by way of Boots, a U.K. retailer—and finds the perfect gift for every occasion inside.
Amazon, “Kindness, the Greatest Gift”
The e-retail mega-corporation reminds us that kindness is the greatest gift—as long as it comes in the form of an Amazon purchase, of course. But seriously, this 2-and-a-half-minute film, set to Adele’s new song “Hold On,” tells a touching story of a woman easing her younger neighbor’s pandemic-era anxieties. “The past 18 months have been challenging for people across the globe, including many young adults. Our time together cannot be taken for granted,” Ed Smith, EU GM of Integrated Marketing at Amazon, said in a statement. “So this year, whilst the world will not be totally back to normal, opportunities for kindness and connection will take on a newfound importance.”
Disney UK, “The Stepdad”
Remember Disney UK’s Christmas commercial from last year? The protagonist of that ad, Nicole, returns in this new spot, which focuses on her new husband as he moves in around Christmastime and forges a bond with her kids—with a little help from Disney characters, of course.
George at Asda, “Slay It”
The category is: Christmas in the ballroom! In this commercial for George, the clothing line at British supermarket chain Asda, performer Jabarii makes a stodgy pub en vogue for the holidays. Even better, George at Asda is also donating £100,000 to Diversity Role Models, its partner for the ad, to help end bullying of LGBTQ+ youth. We give that collaboration 10, 10, 10s across the board!