All Of Britain Has Waited An Entire Year So It Can Burst Into Tears In Front Of This One TV Commercial

If you’re not British, the words “John Lewis Christmas ad” won’t mean much to you.

But in the U.K., the arrival of the department store chain’s annual Christmas commercial marks the unofficial beginning of the holiday season — and John Lewis usually delivers an epic, and epically expensive, emotional rollercoaster of a spot that frequently leaves the nation choking back tears.

The new one was given a premier in London’s West End, as if it were a movie.

Just try watching Lewis’s 2011 ad, and not crying. It’s a counter-intuitive tale of an apparently selfish young boy counting down the days to Xmas, set to a mournful song by The Smiths. Or the 2012 ad, which showed a snowman’s gruelling, lonely journey to give his snow-girlfriend a gift of a pair of red gloves.

I know, it sounds stupid.

But the Brits — some of them at least — will again be quietly weeping at their desks in front of YouTube and in their living rooms for the next few days over this year’s story.

Lewis hired Disney animators who took six months to make the ad, an animated feature that shows a bear and a hare wordlessly weathering a winter in the woods before … well, I won’t spoil it for you.

The ad features a terrifically sad song by Lily Allen.

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