WARNING: Grab your tissues.
A tear-jerking Christmas advert that highlights the cost of living crisis has struck a chord among the millions of people who are currently struggling as a result of the economic downturn.
Festive ads have become a huge part of international culture, with major retailers in the UK (and US) spending millions with the hopes of converting consumer emotions into record sales.
However, the short film that has bought an entire nation to tears hasn’t been produced by John Lewis, the British department store that hits global headlines every year for its big-budget festive productions.
Instead, the clip – titled, “The magic of Christmas is made” – has been created by a small business in Yorkshire, northern England, to show the dark reality of life in Britain at the moment.
Sam Teale Productions releases a Christmas video each year inspired by events of the year. This year, the three minute 41 second ad released on December 1 has already been viewed over 12 million times as people brand it “gut-wrenching”.
The video centres on a father who is raising his child alone following the death of his wife. Although struggling financially, the dad wants his son to have a magical Christmas.
At the start of the video, his young son is seen getting a haircut where he’s asked by the barber what he’ll be getting for Christmas.
When he responds saying, “Santa’s poorly this year” – a British term for being sick – his dad is seen looking emotional.
The dad is later seen cooking a meal for his son and only has a glass of water himself.
He’s also shown keeping warm in just coat – having switched the heating and lights off after his son has gone to bed.
A particularly difficult moment sees the young boy at school taking part in a task that sees the kids writing a letter to Santa.
As the other kids ask for toys; he simply wants Santa to “get well soon”.
Thankfully, the “heartbreaking” ad does take an uplifting turn, after a visit to his wife’s grave provides him with some inspiration for a Christmas present.
The dad is reminded of a time when they used to play on makeshift go-carts with his wife when they were kids – and decides to make one for their boy.
He’s shown working on the project in his spare time using old wooden crates and presents the go-kart to his son on Christmas morning as his son excitedly opens the gift and a card from ‘Santa’.
The advert ends with the pair visiting the graveyard with the little boy on the go-kart. He says upon reaching his late mother’s grave: “Merry Christmas, Mummy.”
If you’ve made it this far and not burst into tears, good for you, because the news.com.au team is a blubbering mess – and judging from the reaction on social media, we’re not alone.
“That tops every Christmas advert I’ve seen. So close to home and a true inspiration,” one wrote.
“Oof, right in the feels. This became our reality this year too,” another said.
A third wrote: “This is the Christmas advert of the year this year. Absolutely beautiful. I’m sobbing! Well done to everyone involved.”
Filmmaker Sam Teale, the man behind the video, said he created the clip to help remind struggling families that the “best part of Christmas is families being together”.
“The magic of Christmas is made, not bought,” he told BBC Radio 5 Live recently.
“Christmas is more of a feeling than anything else; it’s not the Christmas trees, its not the food, it’s being in the same room as your family.”
“I think the last shot in the video shows that, it’s the kid on the go-kart that his dad’s just made for him and he’s saying ‘Merry Christmas Mummy’ to the gravestone,” he continued.
“In that one shot you can see how much the little kid would rather be sat with his mummy – he’d trade that go-kart, he’d trade anything, to have more time.”
Sam went on to say he hopes the video is seen as a “metaphor for life”, adding: “We can get people amazing gifts and everything, but the best part of Christmas is family being together.”
Twitter has also blown up as people share their thoughts on the “alternative ad”, many praising Sam’s efforts.
Several retailers in the UK toned down the usual elaborate Christmas ads this year in response to the current climate.
This year’s John Lewis Christmas ad took a more grounded approach than usual, as the company looks to reflect the hard times many Brits are facing, however it still cost a reported £7 million ($A12.7 million) to produce including payment for TV and online slots.
The UK officially moved into a recession last month with the country’s finance minister Jeremy Hunt issuing a gloomy financial statement that said the Office for Budget Responsibility had judged that the UK’s economy was shrinking.
Mr Hunt told the House of Commons that the UK’s GDP was expected to fall by 1.4 per cent next year, before returning to growth in 2024.
He added that inflation was expected to hit 9.1 per cent this year, and drop to 7.4 per cent next year.
Unemployment is forecast to rise from 3.6 per cent to 4.9 per cent in 2024.
One of the biggest issues among the public is the rising cost of utilities which have “exploded” in the last six months, leaving many people having to choose between heating their homes during the current winter season or buying food.
Australia is also suffering as a result of the cost of living crisis, with utility and grocery prices on the rise as well as sparking a terrifying housing problem affecting homeowners and those in rental properties.
Story Credit: news.com.au