As we get closer to Christmas your humble blogger finds himself, from time to time, strolling down a gingerbread scented Memory Lane where The Carpenters Christmas album plays and I unwrap Lite Brite and Stretch Armstrong on a shag carpet in the rec room.
Yes, I’m remembering Christmas in the 70s.
For the next few weeks The Gay Groom will be looking back at Christmas in the 1970s with a series of blogs. This week I was thinking of a wonderful old television commercial that ran every Christmas throughout the seventies (and into the eighties). The commercial begins with one bright candle shining through the darkness as a choir begins to sing. Next, we see a happy, overly hopeful-looking girl holding a white candle and singing:
I’d like to buy the world a home
And furnish it with love
Grow apple trees and honey bees
And snow white turtle doves…
Suddenly, young men and women of all different races, creeds, colors (and fashions) surround the young girl and join in singing the song. Finally, as the camera pulls back, we see that the candles being held create the image of a huge human Christmas tree (the original commercial would end with the words: “Season’s Greetings from your bottler of Coca-Cola”).
Apparently, world peace was possible – if we would just buy each other a Coke.
Leaving issues of marketing, consumption and commercialism aside for the moment, for me, that shining Coca-Cola Christmas tree made up of beautiful young people (I suppose there is no ugly people in the Coca-Cola Utopia) was an iconic image of Christmas. And that sappy song can still cause a lump in my throat (also try and put aside for the moment how most of the girls in the commercial seem to resemble Patricia Krenwinkel and Leslie Louise Van Houten).
But there was something so sweet and innocent about this idea that generosity (and soda, apple trees, honey bees et al) could bring people together in harmony – and, being a young idealist gay boy, I believed it. For in that Coca-Cola tree I saw the white guy in football jerseys sitting beside the Asian in a kimono who is sitting beside the Native American in beads and braided hair (OK, try and put aside the stereotypes presented in the commercial as well).
And being a little gay boy in the 70s, I did have my favourites – just take a look at the handsome blonde guy wearing the cowboy hat. I really wanted to share a Coke with him.
So was this commercial just another example of a silly 70s naivety? Perhaps. But, I think the idea was (and still is) admirable.
Seasons Greetings from me (and your bottler of Coca-Cola).
Jeffrey, The Gay Groom