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Feeling festive Top seven Christmas adverts to make you laugh and cry

ONE of the great gifts of modern television is the ability to fast forward the adverts. 

For the better part of the year most families come together in joy as they zoom past ducks flogging cars or rugby players in convenience shops.

But once a year, with Christmas on the horizon, our commercial hearts begin to melt and fill with festive cheer as companies fight it out for our sentiment euro.

Whether it is a small child taking a corn-flake from Santa or the Budweiser Clydesdales cantering through the snow, there is just something magical about a traditional festive advert.

So here are the top seven most heart-warming Christmas adverts guaranteed to make you laugh and cry.

Going home

Would it really be Christmas in Ireland without stalking Ireland Am’s Alan Hughes as he heads home from college?

This one-minute TV spot is crammed full of nostalgia and is the perfect snap shot of eighties Ireland and is, by a country mile, the ESB’s moment in the spotlight.

Millennials will think we are mad for tearing up at what looks like an advert for the Calor Housewife of the Year.

But everyone over 35 will well up at the opening few bars of this Christmas classic.

Monty the penguin

This John Lewis advert from 2014 depicts the friendship between a young boy and a penguin called Monty.

While their friendship is as strong as ever, the boy realises that something is missing from Monty's life, with the penguin exhibiting signs of loneliness.

He therefore makes the decision to make Monty's Christmas extra special with the gift of love and splashes out for a teddy mate.

Someone hand me the tissues.

Rang Tan

In 2018 Iceland’s Christmas campaign was been pulled from TV because it was deemed to have been in breach of political advertising rules.

As part of its festive campaign the discount supermarket struck a deal with Greenpeace to rebadge an animated short film featuring an orangutan and the destruction of its rainforest habitat at the hands of palm oil growers.

Rang Tan, the lovable orangutan with eyes like saucers, quickly went viral, partly in thanks to an impassioned voice over from actor Emma Thompson, and has has earned a place on this coveted list.

Snowman Iron Bru

In 2006, Irn Bru released its popular Christmas advert 'The Snowman', paying homage to and gently mocking the 1982 short film of the same name.

The advert has remained a classic ever since, showing the boy squabbling with the snowman over a can of the Scottish soft drink.

Aled Jones may have grown up but this classic ad is here to stay.

Love is a gift

This is the only Christmas ad that has been made by a member of the public and has no commercial message.

This heart-wrenching video was made by English man and videographer Phil Beastall and is a tear-jerker from start to finish.

The video called Love is a Gift shows a man ticking off the days to Christmas, seemingly in anticipation of festivities and presents.

Instead, on the day he opens up a cassette box — an annual tradition — and listens to a tape of his tragic mother’s final Christmas message from beyond the grave.

The only simple message from the video is "love is a gift, that lasts forever".

Buster the Boxer

This is another John Lewis commercial that aims to draw on the heartstrings by bringing household pets into the mix.

In 2016 we met a little girl called Bridget who loves to jump.

Her parents bought her a trampoline for Christmas and hid it in the garden to surprise her with on Christmas Day.

However, after dark, in a magical world observed only by Buster, a cast of wild animals emerges – two foxes, a badger, a squirrel, and a hedgehog – who discovered the trampoline and had fun jumping.

On Christmas morning, Bridget excitedly ran out into the garden to discover her present however, Buster bounded past her and started bouncing on her trampoline - she watched him wide-eyed.

Anyone who does not smile at the end of this spot is, well, dead inside.


There is only one way to end a list like this and it is with the Guinness Christmas commercial.

Normally reserved for Christmas eve this stunningly beautiful video shoots various landmarks around Dublin as the country shuts down ahead of Christmas day.

Keeping the black and white theme, we see the first flecks of snow drift down over St James’ Gate and Molly Malone dappled in fresh flakes.

The slogan "even at the home of the black stuff, they dream of a white one" has been repeated in many a living room as Christmas cheer spreads though the room.

Debuted in 2004, this Guinness ad is Ireland’s answer to John Lewis and really does announce that Santa is on his way.

Online Editors