Like seeing The Coca-Cola Truck tour the country or the tree going up in your nan’s house, a few things signal the arrival of Christmas in the UK. The release of John Lewis’ annual Christmas advert has become a national event. From dragons to penguins, what they involve is always a mystery, but they’re guaranteed to be a real tear-jerker.
Last year’s advert featured a slowed-down ballad rendition of Blink 182’s All The Small Things, as a family takes in a child from the care system; 2021 was about a friendship between a young boy and an alien. But in this year’s John Lewis ad, things get a little weird…
Snapper: The Perfect Tree starts simple enough: A young boy finds a ‘Grown Your Own Perfect Christmas Tree’ at a market, set to gentle piano music. Slowly watching the ‘tree’ grow into a Venus flytrap, the music builds into a rock-musical romp. It’s all very Little Shop of Horrors.
It doesn’t exactly scream Christmas at first, but the one thing that connects every John Lewis advert is family connection. Becoming fast friends, the boy spends the festive season playing with his singing/dancing/fast-growing venue flytrap, while the family grows frustrated after it tries to eat the dog.
After growing into a monstrous 7ft tall, multiheaded monster the Venus flytrap is eventually tossed outside and replaced with a real Christmas tree. Here’s where the tears come (sort of, I just can’t feel sorry for this ugly-looking plant). As it watches the family celebrate Christmas out in the cold, before sulking off, the young boy grabs a present and… well, you can probably guess the rest.
A fun singalong time, and on the surface a bold move from John Lewis, but it follows a simple formula: A child makes an odd friend, they’re separated, then reconnect through the celebration of the season. It’s a nice reminder that, whoever you are, everyone belongs at Christmastime.