It used to be the lights being switched on in the local shopping centre or a Salvation Army band playing carols in the street.
But these days it seems it simply isn’t Christmas until one of the major shopping chains or drinks companies has released their annual festive TV advertising extravaganza.
And as the battle for the best advent advert gets more heated each year, it seems that it’s now more important to produce the most talked about TV commercial than a chart-topping single come the big day, with the annual scrap to win the hearts and wallets of shoppers seeing UK companies spend more than £1.5bn on advertising campaigns.
In recent years one of the most hotly anticipated TV ads of the festive season has been from department store John Lewis, but their combination of catchy tunes and heart-warming story lines looks to have thrown down the gauntlet to their rivals, who have since risen to the challenge with their own carefully crafted Christmas classics.
It’s thought that TV companies will receive over £700m in ad space for big-budget campaigns in November and December, as companies target the millions of viewers drawn to hit shows such as The X Factor and Downton Abbey.
But if you haven’t managed to see all this year’s Christmas adverts yet, here are some of the most talked about adverts on the box this year.
John Lewis “Monty the Penguin”
John Lewis use the story of a young boy’s friendship with a penguin to pull on the heart-strings this Christmas and encourage us to “Give someone the Christmas they’ve been dreaming of.”
Debenhams “Found it”
As a group of excited children are let loose on a Debenhams store to look for their ideal Christmas gift, there is only one thing that this little girl is looking for. Yep, it’s a cuddly toy.
Waitrose “The Gingerbread Stall”
When a reluctant girl is asked to help out on the school gingerbread stall it looks like a disaster in the making. But with a little help from Waitrose and their friendly staff, there’s a happy ending after all.
Marks & Spencer “Follow the Fairies”
Two fairies float above the city using their “magic” powers to find people the ideal Christmas gifts, as well as rescuing lost cats and match-making lonely singletons looking for love.
Aldi “Everyone is Coming to Us”
In their commercial Aldi like to emphasise the importance of spending the festive season with others, from family banquets to on-duty submariners and fireman and even includes a cameo performance from Jools Holland
Boots “Special Because”
Boots go for the philosophy that Christmas is all about giving for their campaign, which sees a family rewarding a hard-working nurse mother who doesn’t finish her shift until Boxing Day. All together no, “Ahhhhh…!”
Halfords “Does anything beat a bike?”
It’s not surprising that Halfords, a company best known for selling bikes, thinks that the best gift idea for Christmas this year is, well, a bike.
Tesco “Lights On”
Featuring a brass band cover of Irene Cara’s iconic song “Flashdance,” Tesco’s Every Little Helps Make Christmas campaign sees one of its stores illuminated by a million LED lightbulbs in a stunt organised by the same team that worked on the London 2012 Olympics.
Coca-Cola “Happy Hoildays”
It could be said that it’s only really Christmas when the “Holidays are Coming” advert appears on TV. This year, the beverage giant has released another feel-good advert featuring the song “Make Someone Happy.”