This Year, Posten's Christmas Ad Goes Back to Enchanted Basics

Delivering festive relief in weird times

For the fifth year, Norway's postal service Posten drops a Christmas film with a new iteration of Santa. Directed by Morten Tyldum (who gave us The Imitation Game), 2023's offering is titled "The True Spirit of Christmas." It follows a child who stows away in a postal van—destined for you-know-where!—with her Saint Bernard.

What we've always loved about these films is the delicacy with which agency Pol presents its subject matter and gauges the larger mood of its audience. Getting the latter right has been a sticky wicket for many holiday contenders this year. (Truly, it's just been so weird.)

To Posten's credit, it doesn't overshoot. Zora Neale Hurston once wrote, "There are years that ask questions and years that answer." In keeping, there are years when there's something cathartic, even delicious, about Santa—this immortal, laden with so much symbolism—meeting us where we are. At such times, we demand that he step out of the realm of faerie and allow modernity into his narrative.

Let's call those the questioning years. The last couple were like that. In 2021 we saw Santa fall in love. Cheekily titled "When Harry Met Santa," the tale was mature and complex—a story for adults, particularly men, moving through the lonely autumn of midlife.

In 2022, Posten gave us "Father Christmas and Mother Earth." This version saw Santa in a contentious relationship with Mother Earth, who felt smothered by the success of his profession. It's a classic story of how things fall apart, but it also encapsulates the conflict of "holiday spirit." You want to show love by being generous. But in capital-driven logic, generosity is synonymous with not being stingy. That means dishing out, even when you're not sure giving people More! New! Stuff! is the best move.

This year, as demonstrated by the Marks + Spencer debacle, the mood is different. In 2023, the masses seek reassurance. It is a year perhaps not so much for an answer, but for a story we already know.

We don't want Santa to meet us where we are. We'd rather blow this popsicle stand and go where he is: Into fantasy space, the womb of the imagination. Under a dancing Aurora Borealis, we find a gingerbread home frosted by snow. It's lit with floating candles, and the feasting table is always set. A roaring fire tells us what we already know: Here, we are warm, and safe.

This is where the child finds herself when she wakes to see where the postman's brought them. It's a tender cross between the movies Elf and The Polar Express. In scenes that follow—Santa finds them, and is comically "attacked" by the doggo—she'll have hot chocolate and watch him read letters. Eventually, he finds hers.

Things are not great at home. You can imagine there's a reason she stowed away. "I just want mom and dad to be happy," she has written.

The ad descends to its close with a magical sleigh ride. Santa takes her home, just in time to cross the same postal worker whose van she dived into the night prior. On his way out, he hands her a gift for her parents.

The aforementioned have set aside their issues and are freaked out about where their kid is. So when she and the dog show up, bearing a framed family portrait, they're more than happy to take the hint: Bury the hatchet, you two! At least until the cold spell's over, or this one—nudge-nudge—goes to college.

"The greatest gift is love. We can deliver the rest of the presents," the ad ends. 

This spot doesn't pack the same punch as previous years, but that's why it works. We don't want to be punched right now. What we get instead is an escapist tuck-in. And that's perfect, frankly.

"Christmas is the most important time of the year for us, so it is in our interest to not only stand out and get attention, but to also give something back, especially in these demanding times," says Monica Solberg, Posten's marketing director. "We have an opportunity to use our advertising to mirror what we do in the real world, spread the Christmas spirit to homes everywhere, and contribute to a better holiday season for as many people as possible."

In press materials, Posten acknowledged its intent to "go back to the roots of the Christmas spirit" this year. A steady constant remains, though, in these tales of many Santas: Posten's employees always act as quiet emissaries between our world and his, passing far more than presents (or children) back and forth.


Pol (Creative Agency)
Rikke Sofie Jacobsen – Copywriter
Pia Emilie Lystad – Art Director
Simon Karlsson – Planner
Kristin E.B. Scheele – Account Manager
Marius Eriksen – Account Director
Ole Jacob Boe Skattum – Design / Motion
Benjamin Rodgers – Design

Einar Film (Production Company)
Director: Morten Tyldum
DOP: Daniel Voldheim
Executive Producer: Guri Neby
Producer: Rut Solli
Producer: Steffi Van den Branden
AD: Katinka Lotherington
Head of Production: Teodor Boe
Production Design: Astrid Astrup
Gaffer: HP Sydsaeter
Producer - Post Production: Madicken Langvad
Producer - Post Production: Henriette Loeberg Andersen
Casting: Another Casting Company – Saskia Skeel Fahlsten

Shortcut Oslo (Post Production)
Producer: Maren Nordgard og Ida Fiskerud
Editor: Magnus Evensen
Sound Edit: Bard Harazi Farbu
Online: Christian Vaardal
Tech: Ole-Andre Hestetun og Pål Svennevig

Grade: Steffan Perry / Company 3
VFX: Gimpville
Music: Atli Örvarsson

Angela Natividad
Angela Natividad is the European markets editor at Muse by Clio. She also writes about gaming and fashion, and whatever else she's interested in, really. She's based in Paris and North Italy, so if you're local, say hi. She might eat all your food.

Advertise With Us

Featured Clio Award Winner



The best in creativity delivered to your inbox every morning.