John Lewis's Christmas ad shows a foster dad learning to skateboard

John Lewis’s heartwarming Christmas advert revealed: Retailer’s traditional tearjerker sees a father learning to skateboard to put his foster daughter at ease during the festive season

  • British retailer John Lewis & Partners has released yet another tearjerking Christmas advert today  
  • The festive offering tells the story of a foster father learning to skateboard in the run up to the holidays  
  • Viewers discover he is learning the skill for foster kid Ellie who is spending Christmas with him and his wife

John Lewis has unveiled its hotly-anticipated Christmas advert – with the British retailer returning to the festive tearjerker viewers expect.

The heartwarming festive offering, which will debut during I’m a Celeb later today, is titled ‘The Beginner’ and follows a foster father who learns to skateboard in the run up to Christmas. 

In spite of often falling off the board, collecting bruises and scratches along the way, the middle-aged man perseveres – even going so far as to watch staking tutorials at work. 

Eventually, on Christmas Day, it’s revealed that the character has been training hard because he and his wife are fostering a girl named Ellie for the holidays, who is introduced to their home while holding a skateboard close to her chest. The ad is set to a slow rendition of skateboarding anthem Blind 182’s ‘All The Small Things’.

Last year, the retailer’s festive advert divided opinion – after the two-minute film featured a young boy introducing an alien to Christmas traditions, before she emotionally departs back to her home planet. However, some said the offering lacked ‘any Christmas emotion’. 

John Lewis has unveiled its hotly-anticipated Christmas advert – with the British retailer returning to the festive tearjerker viewers expect. The heartwarming festive offering, which will debut during I’m a Celeb later today, is titled ‘The Beginner’ and follows a foster father (pictured) who learns to skateboard in the run up to Christmas

Eventually, on Christmas Day, it’s revealed that the character has been training hard because he and his wife are fostering a girl named Ellie for the holidays, who is introduced to their home while holding a skateboard close to her chest. The ad is set to a slow rendition of skateboarding anthem Blind 182’s ‘All The Small Things’ 

 In spite of often falling off the board, collecting bruises and scratches along the way, the middle-aged man perseveres – even going so far as to watch staking tutorials at work

John Lewis created the heartfelt advert in tandem with its ‘Building Happier Futures’ programme from the John Lewis Partnership, a long-term commitment to help young people who have experienced the care system in a number of ways. 

The advert begins with the middle-aged man in the kitchen with his wife, while she is heard on the phone saying ‘we are very excited.’ 

Viewers then see him train relentlessly in the run up to Christmas, trying – and failing – to learn several skateboarding tricks. 

In parallel to this, the man and his wife can be seen preparing for the holidays by getting their Christmas tree and decorating their house. 

As his training continues, the man faces more scratches and falls, and can regal his friends with his skateboarding tales during the festive parties him and his wife attend. 

John Lewis created the heartfelt advert (pictured) in tandem with its ‘Building Happier Futures’ programme from the John Lewis Partnership, a long-term commitment to help young people who have experienced the care system in a number of ways 

In parallel to his skateboard training, the man is also shown preparing for Christmas with his wife, and decorates their house 

Eventually, one morning, a social worker knocks on the couple’s door, and is following by Ellie, who is clutching her board, but relaxes when she sees that the man who will be fostering her for the holidays also has a skateboard of his own. 

The sweet advert aims to showcase the importance of actions over words, while bringing attention to the more than 100,000 children who will spend Christmas in care this year. 

The advert highlights the importance to connect with these children, who can often feel isolated and be forgotten while in care.  The advert was created by John Lewis and partner charities Action for Children and Who Cares? Scotland. 

It is part of the brand’s Building Happier Future programme, which supports projects in the care sector. 

This year, John Lewis will invite children in the care system to its stores’ Santa’s grottos and will decorate communal spaces of selected residences run by Action for Children with electronics, decorations and furnishings donated by the public. 

While a cover of ‘All The Small Things’ by Blind 182 plays in the background, the man is shown falling over and over 

While his co-workers are hard at work, the father is shown watching skating tutorials from his office (pictured)

John Lewis is also selling their £30 Lewis Bear and other items, including pyjamas, tote bags, baubles, and of course, a skateboard, this year, with 25 per cent of the sales going to their charity partners. 

Meanwhile, Waitrose customers will also have the occasion to buy the store’ charity Christmas Yule Log and donate in their stores’ giving tree. 

Claire Pointon, John Lewis Director of Customer, said of the advert: ‘We are fortunate to have a truly unique platform in our Christmas ad, which sparks a national conversation. As a purpose-led brand, making a genuine difference in our communities is important.

‘At John Lewis we care deeply about families, and recognise that they come in many different forms. For our biggest moment of the year, we decided to focus on one kind of family that is often overlooked.

‘We are also very aware that not all care experience outcomes are as positive as Ellie’s. The home Ellie enters is filled with kindness, and the foster father’s actions demonstrate that ultimately, it’s what you do that matters most.’

He even uses his skateboard to wheel his Christmas tree into his house, to the amusement of his neighbours 

The advert features the Lewis bear, which is for sale at John Lewis this Christmas. Twenty-five per cent of Lewis Bear sales and other related products will go to John Lewis’ partner charities 

Imran Hussain, Director of Policy & Campaigns at Action for Children, added: ‘At Action for Children we want every child to have a safe and happy childhood.  Every year, we work with over 40,000 children and young people in, or with experience of, the care system, and we know the challenges and poor outcomes they may face.

‘We are delighted to be working with the John Lewis Partnership on its iconic Christmas advert and applaud the company for its work and long-term commitment to shining a light on the issues facing some of the most vulnerable children in the country.

‘We believe this partnership will enable us to support and empower more children and young people as they make the transition from care into the adult world,’ he said. 

Meanwhile, Charlotte Lock, Pan-Partnership Customer Director, said: ‘Turbulent times worsen social inequalities, and Christmas is a time when this can be most keenly felt. It’s more important than ever for our business to stand up and use our voice to make a difference where we can. 

‘Our Christmas campaign is an important step in our long-term plans to become the employer of choice for young people leaving the care system, and to provide lasting change and hope for children like Ellie,’ she added. 

Towards the end of the advert, it looks like the father has finally mastered the basics of skateboarding 

The man is seen leading Ellie inside the house and the two connect over skateboarding in front of the tree

Louise Hunter, CEO of Who Cares? Scotland, who worked with John Lewis on the ad, said: ‘We know that Christmas can be difficult for lots of people, and that’s particularly true for our Care Experienced community who may not have family to spend it with.

‘As the national membership body for Care Experienced people, we know that the Christmas period can bring loneliness, isolation and a sense of being different from others who enjoy a more traditional Christmas Day,’ she went on. 

‘We’re delighted that the John Lewis Christmas advert will feature a different kind of family, one which will resonate with the many thousands of people across the UK, with experience of care.

‘At Who Cares? Scotland, our vision is a lifetime of equality, respect and love for all Care Experienced people and we are excited to have the support of the John Lewis Partnership in making that a reality,’ she added. 

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