This year’s advert has just been released. Let’s face it: nothing says Christmas like the department store’s annual festive campaign.

There are certain non-religious signifiers that herald the start of Christmas – Starbucks’s red cups, for example, or I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day blaring from speakers up and down the high street. But the greatest of these is the moment when John Lewis releases its Christmas advert.

The department store’s annual tradition of corking Christmas adverts began in 2007. Ever since then, John Lewis has hired big names – including Lily Allen, Tom Odell and Paloma Faith – to cover existing songs as the background music to a typically heart-wrenching, often nostalgic, storyline.

This year’s John Lewis Christmas advert, entitled The Boy & the Piano, features none other than the great Sir Elton John himself, tinkling the ivories as he sings Your Song.

The advert takes us through genuine footage of Sir Elton performing and on tour. By the end, a gorgeous little boy in striped pyjamas (portraying a young Elton) delightedly receives a beautiful piano for Christmas. We’ve got to say: it’s pretty great.

Sir Elton has said: “The John Lewis Christmas campaign has so many warm memories for me and my family.

“It’s been a lovely opportunity for me to reflect on my life in music and the incredible journey I have been on, and how first playing my grandmother’s piano marks the moment when music came into my life.”

Here, to celebrate the launch of this year’s advert, we look back on John Lewis’s best ones ever.

The Boy & the Piano, 2018

Proudly showcasing Sir Elton John and his musical history, this epic advert reportedly cost millions of pounds and took nine months to make.

The Long Wait, 2011

Dare we say that this one has the best music of all? It features The Smiths’ Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want sung gorgeously by Slow Moving Millie. All the way through, we watch a little boy wait impatiently for Christmas. We’re lead to believe that he’s desperate to receive his presents – but all he wants, it turns out, is to give his parents a gift. Cute.

The Journey, 2012

An excellent start sees children building a couple of snowmen to the strains of a glorious soundtrack (Gabrielle Aplin’s pretty version of The Power of Love). Panic sets in when the snowmen come to life and the male one takes off on a long and arduous journey to the city. He eventually returns having painstakingly bought a hat, some gloves and a scarf for his ladylove. Yes, snowmen can be romantic – we promise.

The Bear and the Hare, 2013

Lily Allen covers Keane’s Somewhere Only We Know in this enchanting, Disney-style cartoon. It features a bear who’d never seen Christmas (due, of course, to his annual hibernation) until his friend, the hare, set an alarm clock in order that he could. Pure bliss to watch – and rewatch.

The Man on the Moon, 2015

There really is a (rather old, lonely and isolated) man on the moon in this touching advert. A cool little girl tries every method she can think of to communicate with him. Eventually, she manages – on Christmas Day – to send him a telescope, through which he can see the world happily at play. He cheers up because he knows that he is loved. Too much.

November 2018