John Lewis & Partners launches the 2021 Christmas advert ‘Unexpected Guest’, celebrating the magical moments of Christmas experienced for the first time

Thursday 4 November 2021

Today at 6.30am, John Lewis launches its 2021 Christmas advertising campaign. The two minute advert, entitled ‘Unexpected Guest’, is a joyful story of friendship, which celebrates the magic of Christmas moments experienced for the first time. We know our customers are more excited than ever for Christmas, craving joyful moments, togetherness and escapism as so many were unable to celebrate with loved ones last year.

We take viewers on a magical Christmas journey, all through the eyes of the lead characters, a young boy called Nathan and the space traveller, Skye. Nathan discovers and befriends Skye, who has landed in the woods beside his home. Their friendship develops as Nathan introduces Skye to many of his family’s festive traditions and brings them to life for her in the woods. They decorate the tree with fairy lights, celebrate the tradition of eating and hosting together, as he encourages her to try her first mince pie, and he also introduces her to the joy of thoughtful gifting by giving her his Christmas jumper. Through these shared moments, we see the magic of Christmas through the eyes of someone who has never experienced it before.  

This year’s soundtrack to the advert is performed by Lola Young, a 20 year old singer-songwriter from South London. The track ‘Together in Electric Dreams’, originally released by Philip Oakey and Giorgio Moroder in 1984, was chosen as a celestial compliment to the advert. Lola is a brilliant up and coming British talent, she was chosen for her rich and unique sound which brings to life the magic of the advert and the friendship that develops on screen.

The ‘Unexpected Guest’ Story

Created in partnership with adam&eveDDB, this year’s ad follows the story of Nathan, a 14 year old boy on his way home from school who spots a flashing light in the distance and chases it to the woods beside his home; it is here that he encounters 14 year old space traveller, Skye and her ship from another galaxy. The ice is broken as Nathan adapts his own Christmas jumper by adding a star and twinkly lights - just like Skye’s. The pair spark a friendship and we watch as Nathan helps her to discover the magic of her first Christmas. 

We then see Nathan introduce her to some of his favourite Christmas moments, bringing her fairy lights from his family’s tree, amazingly she is able to power them herself with her super powers. After a festive meal with family and friends, Nathan brings Skye a mince pie, and she delights at trying this for the first time. Together, their friendship grows while watching Christmas films and playing in the snow. 

The time comes when Skye has fixed her ship and must return to her home planet and the pair are to be separated. It is a bittersweet, heartwarming moment where Nathan gifts her his Christmas jumper, the same one he was wearing when they first met, and the pair say goodbye just before she boards her ship. As Skye leaves, she disappears into the night sky and leaves a twinkling star on a Christmas tree in the distance. Watching all through her eyes reminds us of the magic of a first Christmas, and the moments that matter. 

Premiering on ITV this evening

This year, 3.7m My John Lewis members will see the advert via their exclusive email access from 6.30am before it launches on our website and social media channels at 8am. The ad will first air on TV this evening at 8.15pm on ITV, in a special premiere during The Pride of Britain Awards. 

Claire Pointon, Director of Customer says, “There is nothing more magical than discovering the joy of Christmas for the first time and enjoying your favourite festive moments with loved ones. After the last 18 months, we wanted our advert to really celebrate this as we look forward to a brighter future. We know our customers are excited for this festive season more than ever, as they reconnect with family and friends. Through the story of Skye and Nathan we celebrate friendship and  are reminded of the joy of experiencing Christmas for the first time.”

Lola Young, Singer says “I feel super honoured to be a part of this, growing up I always watched the John Lewis Christmas adverts, they’re iconic and so it kinda feels surreal getting asked to be in one. It also means a lot as an up and coming artist to be a part of something this special.  Together In Electric Dreams is a very beautiful song. I love that era of music and I think Philip Oakey & Giorgio Moroder are incredible. The lyric and soul within the song is something inspirational, fitting to the story within the ad. I feel so excited to be covering it and working with John Lewis.”

Experience the advert in shops, through our app, website and on Snapchat

This year, the story of our advert will be brought to life for customers in our ten Christmas Emporiums, where they will be able to get up close to Skye’s ship and create and share an interactive gif on social media. To celebrate the ad, there will be two Snapchat lenses available on the day of launch; the first, a selfie lens, which lets you become a space-traveller like Skye and the second is an outward facing lens, which lets the users play with Skye’s spaceship in their very own world. 

A version of Nathan’s Christmas jumper that he gifts to Skye will be available in our shops and on in mens, womens and childrens sizes (£14-£29); we will donate 10% of the profits for each jumper sold equally to our Give a Little Love charities FareShare and Home-Start UK. The advert will also be easy to explore and shop on our website, all the products featured in the advert are from John Lewis,  customers will be able to shop key scenes and make purchases directly from them.

As a first for us this year, My John Lewis Members* will also be able to interact with the advert, they will have exclusive access to a virtual experience on the app and website, ‘Unexpected Guest: The Experience’. Members will be able to take on the character of Nathan and explore the world of the advert through his eyes, discovering AR characters and downloadable prizes for children such as printable toys and activities. There will also be hidden characters from our previous adverts waiting to be found. We’ll be dropping new and exclusive content within the game on a weekly basis such as behind the scenes footage not seen anywhere else.


Link to imagery here

*my John Lewis: my John Lewis is more than just a membership card. Customers receive exclusive offers, vouchers and events throughout the year. It’s all online, so customers can easily access their membership card and rewards from the John Lewis & Partners app or website. It takes a few minutes to sign up and customers can do so online:


The jumper that Nathan is wearing is available to purchase*. We will donate 10% of the profits for each jumper sold equally to our Give a Little Love charities FareShare (Reg. charity no.: 1100051) and Home-Start UK. The jumper is available in mens (£29), womens (£29) and childrens sizes (£14, £16, £18). *The jumper comes without the star and fairy lights that Nathan adds on to to mimic the star on Skye’s outfit as we want the jumpers we sell to be easy to wash and to last a long time.

Creative Agency


Media Planning & Buying Agency


Team behind the advert

Production company: Smuggler
Producer: Ewen Brown
Production Manager: Marketa Husecka
Director: Mark Molloy
D.O.P: Greig Fraser
Production Designer: Nathan Parker
Costume Designer: Rosa Dias
Hair & Makeup Artist: Michele Baylis
Casting: Ali Fearnley

Bios of lead actors

Raffi who plays Skye 14, won her first movie role when she was 5 years old as Lucy Hawking in Working Title’s The Theory of Everything alongside Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones directed by James Marsh. She played Claire Densmore in Tim Burton’s Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children for Twentieth Century Fox. Roles swiftly followed in BBC Film’s Homebound, The Have-nots, ITV’s Trauma and BBC/HBO’s His Dark Materials. Raffiella plays Jinya in Antoine Fuqua’s Infinite for Paramount starring Mark Wahlberg and Chiwetel Ejiofor and recently completed filming on her breakthrough lead role of Vesper in Vesper Seeds directed by Kristina Buozyte and Bruno Samper, starring alongside Eddie Marsan.

Jordan who plays Nathan 14, is a British actor, song-writer, dancer, and music producer on the rise. Jordan began acting at the age of 5. He is better known for his lead role as the iconic Peter Pan in the live action, feature film fantasy drama Come Away, in which he stars opposite Angelina Jolie and David Oyelowo. Other recent work includes playing the lead role of Terry in the hit BBC/Netflix drama, Call the Midwife, and having a guest appearance on the Fox/Sky comedy Breeders opposite Martin Freeman. Jordan has also starred in the hit Disney blockbuster, Aladdin, playing Omar.

Bio of Lola Young

Lola Young, is an up and coming 20 year old singer-songwriter from South London. She has all the potential to become the UK’s next biggest star.

Fiercely independent and exceptionally talented, she has an undeniable creative focus. As a live performer she is captivating and uncompromising - clearly showing the potential, spirit and individuality that makes her one of the UK’s most exciting new talents.

Her work to date includes the powerful single ‘Woman’, her debut collection of tracks ‘Intro’ and second release the ‘Renaissance’ EP which all received impressive critical acclaim; garnering radio support from the likes of Annie Mac, Clara Amfo, Benji B, Giles Peterson, Jo Wiley, Mistajam and DJ Target; as well as support across the board from the likes of British Vogue, Evening Standard, The i, Dork, The Sun and CLASH Magazine.

Since the middle of 2020 she has been in the studio writing with acclaimed producer Paul Epworth, working on a new collection of tracks that will form part of her output for 2021. Lola has had the opportunity to step back, reflect and create during the past 12 months, something that has set her up and given her the opportunity to make music that fans can delve into - getting to know Lola as the honest and soul-bearing artist she is.

About the John Lewis Partnership

The John Lewis Partnership owns and operates two of Britain's best-loved retail brands - John Lewis and Waitrose. Started as a radical idea nearly a century ago, the Partnership is the largest employee-owned business in the UK and amongst the largest in the world, with approximately 80,000 employees who are all Partners in the business. For all intents and purposes, the Partnership is a social enterprise; the profits made are reinvested into the business - for customers and Partners. John Lewis operates 34 shops plus one outlet across the UK as well as Waitrose has 331 shops in England, Scotland, Wales and the Channel Islands, including 59 convenience branches, and another 27 shops at Welcome Break locations. Our omnichannel business includes the online grocery service,, as well as specialist online shops, including for wine and for plants and flowers.



John Lewis & Partners

Hannah Doran

Partner & Communications Manager
Tel: 01344 825080
Mandy Pursey
Partner & Communications Manager
Tel: 07813 696637
Emma Moran
Partner & Senior Communications Manager
Tel: 0207 592 6058