Apple wishes you happy holidays, with a message of death and destruction

Perhaps we all feel the fragility of our existences right now, but does that really need to be reflected in a holiday ad?
Written by Chris Matyszczyk, Contributing Writer on

We can rebuild him. We have the technology.

Screenshot by ZDNet

Why do companies want to send you warm messages this time of year?

Well, because they're desperate for you to spend more money with them. And, of course, because they want you to love them just a little bit more. 

Companies have a lot of Sally Field in them.

Some, though, believe that the best way to send seasonal messages is to show that they understand you and your most intimate feelings.

One can only conclude, therefore, that Apple thinks you're worried about your very existence. You see, the company's new holiday ad is a tale of love, caring, devotion, and, well, death.

Here we have a little girl who's deeply committed to the snowman in her garden. This commitment rises as she sees her dreadful big brother enjoying a little snowman destruction. Because that's what boys do. They wreck things. (History books tend to support this view.)

Our protagonist rushes out to save the snowman, who's called Simon.

Let's not, for a single moment, imagine that this little girl is the apogee of niceness and politesse.

She tosses everything out of the freezer, onto the floor, and doesn't care if someone cleans up the mess or not. Her only interest lies in finding room for Simon. Which is single-minded, if singly rude.

Do her parents get angry? Lord, no. These are modern parents who know that one must never, ever scold children, lest they grow up and don't spend half their money on keeping mom and dad alive.

Naturally, our little girl looks after Simon all year. She checks up on him regularly. She even duct tapes the freezer door so that no careless parent leaves it open and melts her precious snowman.

Winter comes around again. Simon is still alive. So our little girl puts him back into his natural habitat, the snowy front garden. It's not easy to live a whole year next to a plastic bag of frozen burritos.

Simon is so happy. For two seconds. Because he's immediately run over by a careless cyclist.

We don't see whether the cyclist is male or female, but we can offer a very good guess.

Simon is crushed. Dead. Gone. All that's left of him is a yellow scarf.

Why has Apple dribbled such pain upon our Christmas cheer? Why is the company making us consider the callous cruelty of our world?

Oh, but this is a message of hope. (Hope you buy a new iPhone and MacBook Pro, that is.)

Our little girl's brother has grown up. Yes, in just a year. He stoops to help her recreate Simon. Mom and dad bend down to help. We can rebuild Simon. We have the technology.

And then Apple offers this heartfelt message: "To the ones we've waited all year to be with."

Amateur philosophers might offer: The ones who have died and been recreated? The ones we've kept in a freezer?

Oh, this is muddled art. Yes, there are many we've missed because of COVID. Many have suffered. Some have died.

But while some will see this as a message of hope, others might find it a touch glib to think we can simply put everything back together again.

Humans are, after all, far better at destruction than its reverse. Somehow, getting things together is so much harder.

Isn't that really what we've learned (yet again) in the last few years?

First look: 16-inch M1 Pro MacBook Pro

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