The holidays are filled with obligation. We maneuver an avalanche of presents and cards and good tidings, but the weight of our emptiness can be crushing.
Meanwhile, the best gift of all is a simple sense of belonging.
Many members of the LGBTQ+ family feel bereft this season. We may have been shunned by our biological brood, or perhaps we were merely tolerated with icy grins and patient glares until we shuffled back to our isolation to subsist alone for another 364 days until the spirit of inertia binds us together once again. Indeed, queer people are like Santa. We toil in silence until making a flamboyant appearance, only to be ignored for the bulk of the calendar.
This dynamic has inspired us to look back at a viral sensation from last Christmas. It is the story of a rugged St. Nick who can only be with his beloved beau for one glorious night per year.
Posten Norge, the postal service for the nation of Norway, created a 2021 commercial that plucked the heartstrings like a holiday goose. The ad was called When Harry Met Santa and it explores the alienation of gay life in a profoundly poignant way.
We open on a shirtless single man tiptoeing into his living room, where Kris Kringle trims his tree, so to speak. They share a meaningful yet brief glimpse of shared desire, but Santa must leave to finish his route. The narrative repeats annually for Harry. He trudges through a mundane existence as the cool gay uncle who wants a real family, a real purpose, a real passion. But alas, his jolly lover breezes through his life but once a year.
Harry sobs openly when Santa inevitably vanishes each yuletide evening. It is a devastating tragedy that culminates in proactive hope.
One holiday season, our lovelorn hero finally writes a letter to Santa declaring, “All I want for Christmas is you.” Despite conjuring the ubiquitous ghost of Mariah Carey, the sentiment is pure joy. And surprise! Harry gets his wish. Santa summons aid from the Norwegian postal service (it is a commercial, after all) to help him with his tinsel-y tasks so that he and Harry can finally be together.
The ad ends with a flurry of feels, announcing “In 2022, Norway marks 50 years of being able to love whoever we want. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! From: All of us. To: All of us.”
We’ve never been so grateful to come home for the holidays. Thank you, Posten Norge. Inclusion is just what we wanted this Christmas.
Last modified: December 23, 2022