A Norwegian advertisement in which Father Christmas is seen kissing a man waiting for him at home on Christmas Eve has become a surprise hit, highlighting a big shift in society, according to BBC.
In the four-minute ad, titled “When Harry Met Santa,” the man is seen writing Father Christmas a letter to the North Pole with the message, “All I want for Christmas is you,” and he gets his wish.
The ad, created by Norway’s state-run Posten Norgen postal service, has been watched more than two million times online.
Monica Solberg, Marketing Director at Posten Norge, said, “We wanted to celebrate the 50-year anniversary since the abolition of a law prohibiting same-sex relationships. The magnitude of response took us a bit by surprise. We expected a reaction, but not to such an extent.”
There have been mixed reviews, but the ad has prompted some serious discussion. Some criticized by claiming that it sexualized Father Christmas or that it showed Santa cheating on Mrs. Claus.
In most parts of the world, the idea of a gay Santa would be controversial. For instance, a survey suggested that most people in the UK considered a gay Father Christmas “unacceptable.”
However, in the Nordic region, the ad has been viewed as a heart-warming Christmas story, which reflects Norway’s progressive approach to LGBT rights.
In Norway, homosexuality was a criminal offense until 1972. However, one Norwegian gay rights and human rights activist changed things.
Kim Friele, real name Karen Christine Friele, was famous for being the first Norwegian to publicly acknowledge and advocate for her sexuality, in June 1965. She was given a state funeral attended by members of Norway’s royal family when she died aged 86 on November 22, 2021.
Friele had once told Norwegian public broadcaster NRK how same-sex couples had to meet in secret underground clubs and how they were judged by society in the 1960s.
She had once said, “We would lecture them, we would tell them about our lives. We would not sit there and listen to all their textbook lessons. I would explain what kind of people we are.”
Jonas Gahr Støre, Prime Minister of Norway, spoke at the service of “a warm, friendly, brave and powerful human who changed history.” He emphasized how Friele had articulated the “unfairness that free people could not love who they wanted.” He even thanked her for making Norway more diverse.