It might be tough to get into the Christmas spirit this year when the festive season is likely going to feel very different.
Yet, there’s one thing we can rely on to make Christmas seem more normal - the release of the annual John Lewis advert.
The retail giant’s yearly campaigns have become somewhat of a cultural phenomenon, and, for some, the highly-anticipated short films signal the beginning of the holiday season.
Viewers have learned to expect stories which are emotional and heart-warming, reducing people to tears while simultaneously spreading Christmas cheer.
The annual adverts are rumoured to cost around £7 million to produce.
So what is the John Lewis Christmas advert this year, and when will it be released?
What is the 2020 John Lewis Christmas advert?
The retailer has announced this year’s campaign will mirror the unprecedented events of this year and will be inspired by the “spirit and thoughtfulness” of people and communities during the coronavirus crisis.
While we don’t yet know exactly what the advert’s story will be, a spokesperson for the company has said it will be “like no other, for a year like no other”.
Alongside the release of the advert, John Lewis plans to raise £5 million for the families who have been hit hardest by the pandemic.
To do this, the retailer has partnered with food poverty charity FairShare and parental support charity Home-Start, and the campaign will aim to help at least 100,000 vulnerable and struggling families with food, comfort and emotional support.
Customers will be encouraged to support their local communities during the Christmas season - so community kindness could be a key theme within this year’s advert.
When will this year’s advert be released?
While there is currently no confirmed release date for the advert, the festive films are usually dropped in mid-November - so hopefully those already getting excited won’t have too long to wait.
John Lewis’s 2019 advert, starring the adorable but accident-prone dragon, Edgar, was released on 15 November.
What have the previous John Lewis adverts been about?
The first ever John Lewis advert was released in 2007, and since then the retailer has dropped a slew of iconic short films, with some of the most popular from the last five years.
Excitable Edgar proved a hit with audiences last year, with fans scrambling to purchase the soft toy dragon released by the retailer to coincide with the campaign.
The 2019 advert follows Edgar as he tries to join in his town’s festive activities - only to accidentally set fire to everything he gets excited about.
He becomes an outcast in his village thanks to the chaos he has caused, but all hope is not lost as his friend Ava is determined to include him.
She presents Edgar with a Christmas pudding, which he sets alight to the delight of his neighbours - and he becomes the star of the town.
John Lewis’s first celebrity star made an appearance in 2018’s offering, courtesy of Sir Elton John.
The film, set to Elton’s Your Song, looks back at the singing legend’s life and career, ending with a four-year-old Elton unwrapping his first piano, a gift from his grandmother, on Christmas day.
The advert intended to show how the perfect gift can transform a person’s life.
Not all children are terrified of the monster under the bed, and this year’s advert set out to prove that.
A child develops a close bond with his imaginary - and cuddly - monster, Moz - showing how pure children’s friendships are.
While this advert wasn’t particularly emotional, the underlying message proved popular with viewers.
This advert strayed away from John Lewis’s usual tear-jerkers, featuring a more humorous storyline.
The loveable Buster the Boxer is the star of the show, with the simple story focusing on the excitement the dog feels about trying out his family’s trampoline, aftering seeing all the neighbourhood animals having fun on it before him.
Perhaps one of John Lewis’s most famous adverts is 2015’s emotional offering, which highlighted the prevalence of elderly loneliness at Christmas time.
It shows an old man living on the moon who develops a friendship with a young girl on Earth, proving how companionship is vitally important to older generations.
Fans were reduced to floods of tears when this advert was released - which is perhaps why John Lewis decided to opt for a more light-hearted storyline the following year!