The 375-year-old Norwegian postal service Posten Norge this week released a festive ad ahead of the holiday season featuring Santa Claus who has a boyfriend.
The popular image of Ms Claus helping at the North Pole has been dropped to show a more inclusive perspective this year.
The four-minute clip titled “When Harry Met Santa Claus” – a slight reference to the 1989 film “When Harry Met Sally” – has well-known Scandinavian actors Johan Ehn and Terje Stromdahl, respectively, playing the lead roles.
The couple meet when Harry sees Santa Claus delivering presents to his house. They look at each other before Santa Claus disappears into the fireplace. The clip continues to show the couple’s annual reunions as Santa delivers more gifts. Before each short-lived visit, Harry carefully selects his outfits and sprinkles himself with cologne.
Finally, Harry is seen writing a letter to Santa Claus saying, “All I want for Christmas is you.” In the final scene, the couple kiss in a loving embrace.
The ad was produced to mark 50 years since the decriminalization of homosexuality in Norway. The country has some of the most progressive LGBTQ laws in Europe, with the Gay Travel Index consistently ranking Norway as one of the most gay-friendly places in the world. Civilian partnerships have been legal since 1993, and LGBTQ people have been able to serve openly in the military since 1979.
The clip quickly gained international attention with Canadian MP Randall Garrison, Tweeter he was breaking his “no Christmas until December” rule to thank Norwegian Post for its “strong and moving message of inclusion”. The YouTube ad was viewed over 600,000 times in just three days.
The Norwegian Post told NBC News its aim was to “show that love has no limits” and that the reaction in Norway has so far been “overwhelming”. No decision has yet been made on whether there will be a sequel to Santa’s love story next year.