The ad that stole Christmas

There’s an ad on TV for a hardware store chain that makes me grit my teeth, a little.  It shows a man – a very blokey kind of fella – driving up to a ‘drive-through’-style speakerphone, and saying into it: “I need some presents.”  He rattles off a list of family members he’ll be needing gifts for: something for a small boy, twin girls, his wife, “…and whatever it is that you get for your mother.” 

A female voice responds, suggesting suitable gifts for each – and even a gift for himself (one of those big steel barbeques).  The man agrees to all the gift ideas and the items are instantly plonked down onto his trailer by an unseen hoist; he drives away beaming, towing a jam-packed trailer.  His whole Christmas present shopping has just been taken care of in moments.

Of course, the ad is tongue-in-cheek – the hardware chain is not seriously suggesting it operates a drive-in service, just that their stores are a great one-stop shop at Christmastime. 

But the ad’s cavalier attitude towards Christmas gifts nonetheless irks me, as if its premise is some sort of male fantasy (and perhaps it is): “Imagine if you could get all your Christmas gifts without any effort, just as easily as you can buy a cheeseburger!”

I particularly dislike that last part of the man’s order, where he says, “…and whatever it is you get for your mother” as if all mothers are boring and interchangeable and can be easily fobbed off with some generic gift like a potted plant chosen by someone else (which is indeed the gift idea that is suggested and accepted).

‘Scuse me for being a Christmas grouch.  I just think the ad rather cheapens the idea of Christmas gifts, suggesting that they’re random objects which should be chosen with the most minuscule amout of time and effort.  To which I say: Humbug!


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