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The Power of a Friend: John Lewis Christmas Advert 2017

Uses the John Lewis Christmas advert 2017 to reflect on the power of friendship

by Claire Law

Suitable for Whole School (Sec)


To reflect on the positive power of friendship.

Preparation and materials

  • Have available the song ‘Elbow – Golden Slumbers (John Lewis Advert 2017) and the means to play it during the assembly. It is 2.25 minutes long and is available at:

  • Have available the video ‘John Lewis Christmas Ad 2017 - #MozTheMonster’ and the means to show it during the assembly. It is 2.10 minutes long and is available at:


  1. Play the song ‘Elbow – Golden Slumbers (John Lewis Advert 2017)’ as the students enter.

    Point out that it is that time of year again: Christmas adverts have started to appear on TV. In the UK, the John Lewis Christmas advert is one of the most eagerly anticipated of them all. This year’s advert has cost an estimated £7 million to make.

  2. Play the video ‘John Lewis Christmas Ad 2017 - #MozTheMonster’.

  3. Explain that the advert tells the story of Joe and his relationship with an imaginary monster called Moz. It begins by showing Joe in bed, dozing off, only to be woken by the snoring of a large monster under his bed. At first, Joe seems scared of Moz and he makes a ‘No monsters allowed’ sign for his door. As time goes on, though, Joe and Moz become friends and play games together at night, such as giving each other piggybacks and playing with racing cars.

    Gradually, however, staying awake to play with Moz catches up with Joe. He begins to fall asleep at inopportune times during the day, such as when he is getting his hair cut and when he is playing in goal for his football team. Moz sadly comes to the realization that Joe needs his sleep and that he needs to do something about the situation. On Christmas morning, a clumsily wrapped present is waiting for Joe under the tree. He unwraps it to discover a John Lewis night light, which means that he will be able to sleep peacefully from now on. When Joe lies in bed that night, it seems that Moz is no longer under Joes bed, so we are led to believe that the night light has made Moz disappear. However, at the very end of the advert, a noise from under the bed suggests that Joe can bring back his imaginary friend whenever he wants to.

  4. John Lewis adverts are famous for focusing on specific themes. This year, the theme is friendship.

    In the advert, Moz seems an unlikely friend – after all, he is a monster hiding under a bed! However, the advert shows us that friendships can develop in the unlikeliest of places. For that to happen, though, we need to be open to the possibility of friendship. We need to be on the lookout for friendships to happen. At first, Joe was afraid of Moz, but once he had overcome his initial fear, a firm friendship was established.

  5. This years John Lewis advert challenges us to look beyond initial impressions and to be open to new possibilities of friendships in unexpected places. It also emphasizes that friendships are made stronger by shared activities. As Joe and Moz play together, their laughter increases and their friendship deepens.

  6. Ask the students, What do we enjoy doing with our friends?

    Challenge the students to think about the activities that their friends enjoy and try them out, even if they find them difficult or assume that they won’t enjoy them. Sharing experiences deepens friendships and strengthens the bonds between people.

  7. The advert also reminds us that although there is a lot of happiness in friendships, there can be sadness and sacrifice, too. As time goes on, Moz realizes that too many late nights are taking their toll on his friend. Moz knows that he must sacrifice the fun that he has playing with Joe so that Joe can get enough sleep. This is why he gives his friend a present that will help him to sleep: it is an act of sacrifice and kindness.

  8. Remind the students that sometimes, we will face the choice of putting our own wants before the needs of a friend. Sometimes, we might be faced with the prospect of making a sacrifice for the good of someone else. In the course of our friendships, we will face choices over what is ultimately best for our friends.

Time for reflection

Let’s take a moment to think about the power of friendship and consider the following questions.

Are we good friends to others?

Pause to allow time for thought.

A good friendship is one in which we find fun, laughter, shared experience and a desire to do what is best for the other person.

Do we ever put the needs of others before our own needs?

Pause to allow time for thought.

A good friend thinks about the needs of others.

Who are our friends and how do we show them that we care?

Pause to allow time for thought.

Are we willing to allow people into our friendship groups? Do we leave other people out?

Pause to allow time for thought.

During the Christmas season, there will be many people who face Christmas alone, or who will feel lonely.

Let’s aim to help the lonely this Christmas.

Let’s seek to make this Christmas a time when we are open to the possibility of new friendships.

Let’s also take the time to be grateful for friends and family.

Dear God,
As we see the signs of Christmas appearing in the shops and in adverts all around us,
Help us to remember the real meaning of Christmas.
Help us to remember the birth of Jesus.
Help us to remember the wonder of love.
Help us to be grateful for friendships.
Help us to think about the lonely.
Help us to be good friends to others.


‘Golden slumbers’ by Elbow, available at: (2.25 minutes long)

Publication date: November 2017   (Vol.19 No.11)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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