I Saw Harry Kissing Santa

by Sabine Waldeck
December 9th, 2021

With Christmas soon approaching the holiday commercials have begun rolling out. However, one specific advertisement from the Norwegian Postal Service got homophobic people in a frenzy.

The ad titled: When Harry Met Santa, a play on the movie title When Harry Met Sally, depicts a man, Harry, coming down into his living room on christmas night and runs into Santa Claus, or as they say in Norway, Julenissen.

After the man’s shock of encountering Santa, Santa scurries up the chimney. The commercial then fast forwards to Harry, the main character, going about his holiday festivities every year. One of these holiday traditions is getting visited by Santa every Christmas night. The two begin to bond,forming a relationship.. Harry seems to be saddened by only being visited once a year so Santa arranges for Posten, the Norwegian Postal Service, to aid him in his present deliveries so he can spend more time with Harry. The ad ends with the two sharing a kiss and a title screen that says “In 2022, Norway marks 50 years of being able to love whoever we want.”

This sweet love story has stirred up quite the response from homophobic people across the world. The idea that in this alternate reality, Santa is gay, has caused people to accuse Posten of s sexualizing Santa within the commercial.

Why is it that homosexual relationships are always criticized as hypersexualized compared to heterosexual relationships when seen in the media?

For the viewers complaining, Christmas has been sexualized and they believe it shouldn’t be. Christmas has become a holiday for children receiving gifts and spending time with family. This is what it should remain to be about to these viewers.

But think about other Christmas pop cultural references. For example the tween/ teen classic movie, Mean Girls. The dance that Cady, Regina, Gretchen, and Karen do is sexual. While that is the point, they were not the first to do it. Sexy Santa costumes have been donned for many Halloweens.

Let's not forget about the song that has been criticized for its glamourization of nonconsensual advances entitled, “Baby It's Cold Outside” originally from Neptune's Daughter in 1949. This song has been sung through generations, by artists such as the King of Christmas, Michael Bublé. This song is about a man pressuring a woman into staying with him for longer and alludes to him spiking her drink.

Another throwback example is in 1952 when Jimmy Bond released, “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus.” This is not an explicitly sexual song, but there are defintely undertones, especially when the song is sung by adults. The edition of the song done by its original artist has two million streams on Spotify, not including all the covers that have been done.

This ad is more romantic than those songs. It actually depicts a relationship between two men, not just kissing and tickling, as sung in the lyrics of “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus.” Yet this ad has received a negative response for it’s apparent “sexualization of Christmas” solely because there are two men kissing.

There are no sexual innuendos. No sex. Nothing remotely of the sort. Just a love story between two men, one who happens to be Santa. A commercial celebrating Norway's 50 years of homosexuality being de-criminalized in 2022 should be recorded as the milestone it is, not a representation of how much the world needs to stop sexualizing and hating gay men.