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Apple’s New Animated Christmas Ad Features Incredible Handmade Sets

The Pixar-like animation is super gorgeous, too

Photos: Apple / YouTube

Remember that Christmas ad that Apple released back in 2013? The one where a teenage boy buries himself in his iPhone, seemingly disengaged from his family’s holiday celebrations, until Christmas Day, when he reveals he’s been paying attention all along, filming a superbly edited video of their activities?

Whether it made you cringe or wipe a tear, we think it’s going to be bumped from its spot as the most-loved Apple holiday ad, by this year’s beautiful animated “Share Your Gifts.”


At just under three minutes, “Share Your Gifts” is a heartwarming tale set in a snowy land. While an original song by Billie Eilish plays in the background, we follow young Sofia, who’s always working away at something on her laptop – MacBook Pro, of course. We never get to see what it is she’s creating, which makes her reluctance to share her project all the more apparent. It also makes the moral of the ad much more pleasantly subtle than 2013’s “Misunderstood.”

In the end, it’s her adorable shaggy dog who gives a little push to get her work out there.

Besides showing us that our pets know us so well, the commercial encourages everyone to share your creative talents with the world, even if it terrifies you. A tale a lot of us can relate to, and a reminder a lot of us need.

We can also say that Apple’s animation house, Buck Design, really puts the message about creativity into action. After many years of using actors to shoot live-action ads, Apple decided to go the digital animation route. And boy, are we glad they did!

From the wide interior and exterior shots, to the close-ups of Sofia, the art is beautiful and pretty realistic. Check out the details:

If the art reminds you of Pixar, you’re not alone in thinking so. Steve Jobs was one of the founders of the animation studios, after all, so perhaps it was a nod of sorts to the late CEO?

But the “making of” video Apple released reveals that the ad was not all CGI. Most of the set pieces were handmade!


The design team made, by hand, the storefronts we see in the ad:

And the bakery that Sofia works at, including all the miniature breads and ovens:

Our mind boggles just thinking of all the hard work that went into making all the intricate details. And the budget must be through the roof!

Although we think Apple probably got quite a hefty sum for the product placements in the ad. Maybe you spotted the laptop decals for Supreme, DFA Records, and MOCA (the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles). But what about the Nike OG Cortez sneakers Sofia sports in the shot below?

If all the easter eggs escaped your notice, it’s all the more credit to the excellent work of the creative team, pulling you into the heartwarming story that blends seamlessly with the stunning visuals.