In Apple’s poignant holiday ad, an iPad offers a family far more than distraction


When it comes to ads about holiday travel, most skip past all the messy and frustrating bits, jumping instead right to the perfectly inviting family home waiting at the other end of the journey.

Apple takes a different—and far more realistic—approach in its 2019 holiday ad, “The Surprise.” Filmed in a real home (not a soundstage) and starring real sisters, the 3-minute spot tells the story of family’s visit to a grandfather who recently lost his wife.

This year’s ad is focused on the iPad, which plays a central role in the family’s holiday experience. But what begins as a convenient distraction becomes something far more powerful in the hands of the two young girls.

Great backstory on Apple’s latest holiday spot.