Need a little extra holiday spirit and a light compulsion to shop? We’re here to help.
Yes, it’s the time of year when big and small corporations alike go all out to encourage you to buy their products and, in the process, serve you a nice warm dollop of festive feeling. Whether it’s British supermarkets continuing the tale of a rogue vegetable or tech companies wowing us with the power of a strong internet connection and handheld device, we can all agree that ads are just better at this time of year.
And so, without further ado, EW presents the best holiday commercials of 2019, which left us laughing, crying, and just generally peckish:
Gather round, gather round, and witness the miracle ham! Be honest, you’d travel Down Under to buy a never-ending leg of ham, wouldn’t you? Apparently they’re readily available at Aussie supermarket Aldi — worth the price of an plane ticket, we’d say!
24. Marks & Spencer’s
If only becoming a great dancer was a simple as shrugging on a new sweater! Well, if you buy your jumper from British retailer M&S, it might just be.
23. Hobby Lobby
A teenage boy doing laundry and decorating the tree for his overworked mother? As believable a Christmas miracle as any!
Never doubt Santa. Even when you’re camping in the Australian outback, the man in the red suit will make it to you with gifts… if you have an attentive parent who’s crafty with lights and can create an impromptu runway pointing him right to your tent flap. We like to think he would’ve made it there anyway, but Myer sells holiday lights so it had to incorporate them somehow.
The Polish retailer will never match its 2016 entry, but it’s still going hard on the grandparent content. This year’s edition proves common interests can be found in even the most unlikely of places when a granddaughter and her grandmother connect over car racing and the former buys the latter an electronic steering wheel so they can play videogames together. Still feeling good about that bubblebath set you got your grandma?
It would be so fairy nice to be able to decorate for the holidays with the same ease Wallace does in this Joules commercial. Sure, being buried in an avalanche of presents doesn’t seem ideal, but it’s still an avalanche OF PRESENTS!
Elves, they’re like us! And just like us, they enjoy Oreos and milk, and hanging out in gas stations, and flying around in Santa’s sleigh and… ah, never mind, but at least one of those things appears in the human/elf interests Venn diagram.
18. New York Lottery
Wow, if we ever lose a lottery ticket we hope it’s while we’re out in some snowy woods in upstate New York with a bunch of helpful animals on hand to return it. Winning isn’t important, but working together is — or so we’re led to believe by these helpful rabbits, birds, and deer.
Ah, the wonders of technology. Not only can we connect with people all around the world, but we can also enjoy the instant translation of foreign languages — even Reindeerish, if this Microsoft commercial is to be believed. Gruuuhnahaaaauuu — it’s “merry Christmas” in Reindeer. Just ask Microsoft if you don’t believe us.
The singing boxes are back. The book/everything seller adds some cute kids, old couples, and tap dancing into the mix to ensure its holiday commercial really delivers this year.
Here’s the thing, Boots ain’t wrong about it being hard to think of Christmas presents for certain people in your life, but if we don’t have Boots here in the U.S. then WHAT ARE WE SUPPOSED TO DO?! A fun ad nonetheless.
Are you reindeer-ready? McDonald’s is, with the recent discovery that Santa’s pets of choice also enjoy the occasional McNugget. We don’t know about you, but this commercial made us feel equal parts McFestive and McHungry.
Proving that Macy’s is more than just your mom’s department store of choice, the retailer is here to show girls can do anything they want — including growing up to be Santa with a little belief and the help of some super-generous parents.
Come on, be honest, on at least one occasion you’ve done a fake drum solo in your kitchen, imagining you were playing to a crowd of thousands. Personally, we think someone should invest some time in developing that cabinets-that-convert-into-speakers idea.
iPads solve everything. Kids bickering in the car? Give them an iPad. Need a distraction on a flight? Grab an iPad. Need to make a truly heartfelt photo collage to help a grieving grandfather? Give them a… wait, what? Maybe iPads do solve everything! Need a tissue? Yeah, us too.
Never one to shy away from a high-profile celeb spot, Pepsi has enlisted the help of Cardi B to prove you can be both naughty and nice and still get/give gifts. As a modern take on Santa, Cardi is here to make it rein, deer.
What the Dickens is going on here? British supermarket Tesco takes us back in time this festive period when a food delivery truck driver gets tangled up in some Christmas lights and finds himself in Victorian-era England, surprising folks with “food from the future.” He then traverses through War World II times and a ’90s rave, among other periods, before having a run-in with Santa and heading home to his present-day family. And we thought our holiday travel plans were excessive!
We love to see a familiar face on this count down: Welcome back, Kevin the Carrot, for the fourth consecutive year. This time the sprouts are out to get him, upset that they’re no longer the most popular vegetable side dish at Christmas dinner. But ask yourself this: Were they ever? If you answered yes, we’ll just assume you’ve never heard of potatoes.
7. John Lewis & Partners and Waitrose & Partners
The holidays are a time for looking beyond our differences, whether that be religion, tradition, or your dragon friend’s fiery tendencies. But the real message here is there’s no grievance a well-timed (and baked) Christmas pudding can’t solve.
A hoodie is for life, not just for Christmas! The all-American retailer is going back to its roots with a 2019 holiday commercial starring its classic hoodie. This one will pull at the heartstrings, and not just because of the warming mother-son relationship, but also because — don’t lie — you totally got a Gap hoodie as a Christmas present one year and you totally wore it to death like the kid in this ad too.
A “snack table spread that is fit for a king” is certainly on our wish list this holiday season, and apparently Anna Kendrick’s too, as she sings a festive rendition of “My Favorite Things.” Look, we could get into an argument about the Sound of Music classic not really being a holiday tune — so we’re clear, it is not — or we could just enjoy the concept of building a gingerbread house adorned with Cheetos.
Take a moment to feel grateful for a full belly this holiday season — and also the fact that oranges are no longer considered “exotic delicacies.” This Saint Nicholas origin story sees a young orphan falsely accused of stealing (an orange, natch) and then rescued by a kind food vendor, who inspires him to do something special for everyone at Christmas for evermore. Imagine an orange being responsible for so many happy kids on Christmas morning all these years! In the words of Sainsbury’s, “and that is a totally true story.”
Fans of the ’80s classic E.T. will get a kick out of this one, which brings our long-fingered extraterrestrial friend back to Earth to reconnect with human buddy Elliot — and even features original cast member Henry Thomas. After they get over the shock of encountering an alien in their yard, Elliot’s kids embrace their new otherworldly pal and teach him about modern wonders (?) like the internet. Ultimately though, E.T. decides to go home, because as much as the holidays are about strong internet connections to stream all our favorite shows and movies, it’s also about family, and E.T. has a wife and kids now!
2. Walkers Crisps
We all know by now that no one does the holidays like Christmas Queen Mariah Carey, and this year British chip makers Walkers has caught on and employed her to convince everyone all we want for Christmas is a bag of potato chips. Not only does Carey looks dazzling in red sparkles, she also has a unique glass-shattering skill for securing the last bag of chips. If only she could teach us.
1. Hafod Hardware
Big corporations with bottomless budgets might dominate this list, but sometimes it’s the homemade gifts that have the most appeal. Over in the Wales, a local hardware store owner named Tom Jones put together his own Christmas ad starring his 2-year-old son, Arthur, to promote his a family-owned business this festive period. The commercial features four generations of the Jones family at the store, proving that the holidays really are all about hardware — um, sorry, family!