Maybe it’s decorating the tree, wrapping the presents, singing carols, drinking mulled wine, watching tiny people in the nativity at church, or something else? My favourite thing at Christmas is a bit weird.

I love the TV adverts.

In recent years big corporations and brands have spent more and more money on creating Christmas adverts to advertise their products. Some of them are silly and funny, but others are heart warming, moving, and thought provoking. The big budgets mean that some of these adverts are little movies in themselves, perfect for that Christmas assembly or carol service clip that us youth workers or children and family workers often need at this time of year.

So sit back, grab a mince pie and relax, as I talk you through five of my favourite Christmas adverts, and suggest some ways in which you might be able to use them in the work you do this December with children and young people.

John Lewis – The Man in the Moon

You’ve probably seen it, and if not you’ll definitely have heard people talking about it. John Lewis go big with their Christmas adverts, and this year’s effort is no exception. The great thing about this advert is it’s link to Age UK’s campaign to highlight how many elderly people will be spending Christmas alone this year. It’s a great thing to get young people involved in, and you can find out more about it here: http://www.ageuk.org.uk/

2) TK Max – Love Your Neighbour

Yes that’s right, ‘Love Your Neighbour’ is the tagline for this year’s TK Maxx advert. That’s in the bible and everything! It’s a short, sweet little advert reminding us of our immediate neighbours. Why not encourage young people to become more aware of who their neighbours are, and even drop them a random gift to say hi? You could do it as a group, wrap them all together and head out to deliver gifts to your nearest, even if they’re not your dearest.

Harrods – The Land of Make Believe

Another high production film telling the story of a little mouse who’s a bit different from everyone else. This one is perhaps aimed at slightly younger audiences, so it’d be great for a primary school assembly or all age carol service.

Boots – Full of Surprises

An interesting take on the bad boy hooded teenager who storms out of the house…to buy presents for everyone from his teacher to the nurse who looked after his nan. Lovely.

5) John Lewis – Gifts you Can’t Wait to Give

This one made me sob like the tiny baby Jesus. A beautifully made, perfectly cast and sound-tracked story of a little boy who just couldn’t wait for Christmas, for a reason you just don’t expect.

There is so much in this – from drawing out the giving and generosity side of Christmas, to the amazing picture of God as a child, desperately excited to give us the greatest gift the world has ever known.

Jo Dolby is a Youth and Community Work Lecturer for Bristol CYM.

You can find her on Twitter: @jodolby