With COVID-19 having put a downer on most of 2020 for many people, we know that many have been eagerly anticipating the arrival of the festive season. But things are looking very different this year. Most of the country went into tier 2 or tier 3 lockdown at the start of December, meaning that online sales will be the order of the day for a huge number of brands this Christmas.

We’ve seen a distinct change in the tone of this year’s Christmas ads as well, with many brands cutting back on the glitz and glamour of previous years to resonate with the hardship of the year. From the heartwarming to the hard-hitting, here are six of our favourites.

1. Disney

Disney have taken an emotional approach to their Christmas ad this year, with the heartwarming tale of a Filipino grandmother and granddaughter – and Mickey Mouse – spanning several years.

2. John Lewis: Give a little love

Supporting charities FareShare and Home-Start, this year’s John Lewis ad was timed to coincide with World Kindness Day and features that very theme. In the two-minute advert, humans and animals alike support each other with random acts of kindness, showing how such acts can make the world a better place.

3. Papa John’s ‘Giving More This Christmas’

Papa John’s has also gone down the charity route this year, promising part of their marketing budget to the Trussell Trust and Crisis to help the hungry and homeless this Christmas. They’ve shied away from big-budget design, instead using pizza boxes and hand-drawn illustrations to get their message across.

4. Sainsbury’s – Gravy Song

This year’s Sainsbury’s ad has hit the headlines for an unintended reason, with people taking to social media with racist comments after the ad featured a black family celebrating Christmas. The Gravy Song ad is the first in a series of three, and serves to remind us that Christmas is all about being with the people we love.

5. Lego ‘And I Think To Myself…’

Part of their “Rebuild The World” campaign, Lego’s 2020 Christmas ad celebrates the magic of children at Christmas. It shows families coming together to play, building and rebuilding the world using Lego products in a beautifully creative adventure.

6. Coca-Cola – Give Something Only You Can Give

For Coca-Cola, this year’s international Christmas campaign is about creating unity…and the gift of “presence over presents”. Featuring a dad who journeys to the North Pole to hand-deliver his daughter’s Christmas letter that he forgot to post, the twist at the end of the ad is a tearjerker.

What is your favourite Christmas ad of 2020?