By David T. Valentin
Every year around the holidays, a slew of holiday commercials pop up. Whether they’re funny, endearing, motivational or melancholy, there are always a few that stand out to people and linger in the minds of viewers.
This year has started off no different, with Norway putting up a four-minute Christmas ad with a gay Santa Claus to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the country decriminalizing homosexuality.
The ad features a gay man living alone and seems to be a tad bit lonely. One night, he comes down to his kitchen for a glass of water when he sees Santa standing in his living room. The rest of the commercial follows the man around throughout various Christmas festivities like church choir, family dinners and firework shows. One night the man sleeps downstairs on his couch and finds Santa sitting on his couch, who presents a gift to the man. Throughout the holiday season, Santa visits the man, bringing him joy and smiles. When the holiday season ends, Santa must return to the North Pole, until next year when he returns to spend this year with the man because he’s used the postal system to send out gifts. At the end, the two embrace each other in a kiss.
While the commercial seems strange at first, I couldn’t help but think of Santa as more of a symbol of Christmas than a literal man. For many of the LGBTQ+ community, the holiday seasons are a rough reminder of memories of rejection from family and friends and time spent alone without any sense of belonging.
And as we watch countless amount of cheesy Hallmark movies centered around mostly straight couples, we can’t help but think we’re undeserving of the same holiday spirit.
For the man in the video, a middle-aged gentleman who lives alone in his home, when he’s not with his family spends his time alone in a big house filled with so much empty space. I couldn’t help but think of older queer people who have either spent their entire life in the closet, alone and ashamed, or came out at an older age but haven’t bothered finding love or seeking a larger LGBTQ+ community outside the life they’ve always lived.
For this man, Santa visits despite his sexuality. Captivated by the Christmas magic after catching Santa in his house, he finds himself chasing the joy that Santa brings him that night and finally finds it when he wakes on the couch and finds Santa sitting across from him, waiting.
Santa shares the night, and many other nights of the holiday season, with the man, sharing with him the joy and magic of Christmas. While during the night we see a man full of joy and expression, during the day he seems reserved, quiet, and melancholy. But he begins to open up to his family, sharing laughs around the dinner table and at church.
But Christmas passes and Santa must go. The man feels as though he won’t ever experience that joy again, a rare once in a lifetime moment. A year passes and Christmas comes again. After the man returns from his front porch picking up gifts, he finds Santa in his living room. Santa Claus tells him, “Well, I arranged some help this year...” showing us LGBTQ+ viewers that if you give us a little time, patience, and love we love all the same as the rest of everybody.