'Nobody wants to be alone at Christmas': Man creates tear-jerking John Lewis-style advert with his grandma

Marie Claire Dorking
·4 mins read
Man creates alternative John Lewis Christmas advert starring his grandma
Zach Margolin created a weepy John Lewis-style Christmas advert starring his grandma, Josie Singer

A man enlisted the help of his grandma to create a heartwarming video that echoes the sentiments of the renowned John Lewis Christmas adverts - and it perfectly captures all our 2020 emotions.

With an emotive theme-tune and heart-tugging story, the iconic John Lewis Christmas adverts have become something of a festive tradition - one which is guaranteed to have us bawling into the Baileys every single ad break.

This year, what with the uncertainty surrounding the festive period thanks to the coronavirus restrictions, we know we’re going to be in for a total blubfest.

But while we wait to see this year’s offering from the high street store, one man has decided to create his own version, starring his grandma and it totally sums up our feelings about this year.

Read more: When is the best time to start your Christmas shopping?

Screen writer and actor, Zach Margolin, posted his festive ad to video-sharing platform TikTok and it is quickly clocking up likes, with 1.5million views and 337K users already having shown the clip their love.

“I’ve got this year’s Christmas advert figured out,” he captioned the video.

Set to the heartbreakingly beautiful All I Want by Alex Porat (we literally welled up within the first three seconds), the video sees Margolin’s real life grandma, Josie Singer, gradually ticking off the days on her calendar until Christmas.

Read more: M&S bring back Christmas snow globe gin

It goes on to portray her shaking her head sadly at the latest news about the coronavirus pandemic, and features her putting up Christmas cards and eating dinner alone, as she battles with the loneliness this year has no doubt exacerbated.

The real tearjerking moment comes as she wipes away a tear while looking at an image of the family she’s not able to see.

Watch: Here’s why we love Christmas adverts

But, in keeping with the John Lewis-style, there is of course an uplifting ending, which comes via the gift of a laptop, beautifully wrapped and addressed to grandma.

After curiously opening the laptop, Singer is thrilled to see all her family waving at her.

“Show someone they’re loved this Christmas,” the tagline reads at the end of the heartbreaking clip.

Margolin says he came up with the idea for the video after thinking about how he would help his grandma cope if she had to spend Christmas alone this year.

“As a comedy writer, I usually focus on trying to make people laugh. However, after hearing the Christmas talk start, and thinking about my Grandma Josie who lives alone, I thought I’d give something else a try,” he tells Yahoo UK.

“Me and my Grandma are very close. I called her one morning and said, ‘How do you feel about starring in my latest video?’. She was delighted. I knew all the shots I wanted to get and the story I wanted to tell, so it was just a case of directing her. She’s a natural.”

Since Margolin shared the video last week, fans have been praising him for perfectly capturing the rollercoaster of emotions that 2020 has presented.

“Someone explain why I’m full on bawling. This is everything,” one TikTok user wrote.

“I did not expect to be crying at this time of the morning but here I am,” another added.

“Gave me chills, this is better than any previous advert,” a third commented.

Read more: Mum puts Christmas decorations up early to cheer up children

Margolin believes the video has touched a chord with so many as thoughts turn to how Christmas will look this year because of coronavirus restrictions.

“I think a lot of people relate to it,” he says. “Lockdown was extremely difficult for everyone, particularly the elderly who were isolated away from their families.

“Unfortunately, my Grandpa Gerry passed away last year and that made things very difficult for my Grandma who was all alone.

“Nobody wants to be alone for Christmas and I think it’s the reality that this could be the case for some this year that made the video so real.

“It’s been a difficult year for everyone, and having a supportive family has proved more important than ever – that is what makes this so touching.”

Speaking about the reaction to the video, Margolin’s grandma, Josie Singer, who stars in the clips says: “I am amazed! I could never have imaged 1.5 million people would watch a video of me.

“My late husband Gerry Singer was a comedian and a real star - he would have loved all this attention. Since he passed, it has been lonely – particularly with this nasty virus.

“It is so difficult when you can’t give a hug or a kiss to your family, and it is that connection that you miss. I hope everyone supports each other and does their bit to help kill this virus.

“I don’t want anyone to spend Christmas alone.”

Not sure about you but we’ve totally got something in our eye.

Watch: Last year’s John Lewis Christmas advert featuring Excitable Edgar

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