It is commonly assumed that Christmas-time is a time for family, but one holiday commercial this year may have gone too far in pushing the extents of this tradition. A commercial sponsored by the German supermarket EDEKA took an extreme angle on the idea of coming home for Christmas to be with family. Some believe it was too harsh.

The commercial begins with an elderly man eating dinner by himself on Christmas. He is shown doing this every year, for many years. And every year, his family calls him to tell him they will not be able to make it for dinner. The man continues to set a lonely place for himself at the table. After many sad and lonely Christmases, the man passes away. This year, his family finally makes the time to go back home.

They attend the funeral and go to their father's house afterward, only to find that the house is fully decorated for Christmas, the table set for their whole family. The elderly man appears from the kitchen. His family, after traveling all this way thinking he had passed away, is shocked to see him still alive. He tells his family that he faked his death because it was the only way to get them to come for Christmas dinner. The commercial ends with them all eating as a happy family, exchanging stories and laughing.

Many find this commercial to be disturbing and depressing, believing it was too dramatic. Although the commercial was not your typical cheery holiday advertisement, families gathering together is important for a lot of people, and is a serious enough topic to be approached the way it was.

As college students, this time of year becomes more and more busy, and it can be difficult to find enough time for family during the holidays. Suddenly, I realize that I can closely relate to the commercial, as this is the first year that I won't be with my family until a week before Christmas.

With Valpo’s unusually short winter break, it’s difficult for international students and those who live farther away to make it home for the holidays. During the holidays, it is important for us to keep in mind the importance of family, and appreciate the time we do get to spend with them.

The producers of the commercial approached the topic harshly because it is just that: a harsh reality for many families that have to spend Christmas apart. The commercial may have taken a risk, but it isn’t the first to do this in order to gain consumer attention. It used a death in the family to bring them all together, but it was shown in an honest and inoffensive way. The general audience for Christmas commercials expect sales ads with smiling children and low prices, which is why this commercial steps out of the comfort zone for so many. It tackles a much more important topic than Christmas wish lists.

The EDEKA commercial was trying to sell their products by associating the importance of family during the holiday season. It does a great job of showing viewers that the holidays are no time for excuses; even your family will eventually be gone, and you will regret not making time for them while they were still around. Cheerful toy commercials have their place in the season, and are appropriate for their audience and end goal. The EDEKA company took a sad truth and made it work for their holiday marketing.

The views expressed are those of the writer and not necessarily those of The Torch. Contact Quinn Stearns at

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