The German Christmas commercial that's bringing people to tears around the world

In a holiday season where we can't gather the way we normally would, pretty much any family-oriented Christmas commercial is bound to evoke some emotion. But a German ad company has succeeded in taking it to another level.

People are calling it the "world's best Christmas ad" and it has gone incredibly viral with more than 13 million views on YouTube alone—a bit of a surprise for a company few people outside of Northern Europe have ever heard of. But when you start with a mystery and lead viewers to a sweet conclusion that would make even the Grinchiest of hearts grow a few sizes, it's hard not to gain a wide audience.



According to TODAY, the German ad agency Jung von Matt created the 2-minute spot for Dutch pharma company DocMorris. The storyline itself doesn't really have anything to do with pharmaceuticals, but that's the beauty of it.

The ad opens with a scene of an elderly gentlemen looking at photos on his wall, then noticing someone hauling a Christmas tree. He appears to have an epiphany, then goes to pull a kettle bell out of his dusty garage. He can barely lift the kettle bell at first, but as the season changes from fall to winter, we see him get up each morning and engage in a newfound fitness routine. He seems fiercely determined as he lifts the heavy weight a bit higher each time before dropping it. He keeps putting a framed picture in front of him when he does his routine, giving viewers a clue that he's doing all of this for someone, though we don't know who.

Neighbors notice him grunting through his lifts and seem a bit concerned. Someone calls his daughter, who shows up, says the only word spoken throughout the commercial—"Papa?"— then turns around and leaves after seeing what he was doing.

Finally, we see the old man all dressed up and arriving at the same daughter's house for Christmas...and get an answer to the question of what he's been working up to.

DocMorris Weihnachtsfilm #Herzensangelegenheit www.youtube.com


Aw dang, right? All of that to build a Christmas memory with his granddaughter—one she'll probably remember long after he's gone.

If you're wondering what the words say at the end, they translate to "So that you can take care of what really matters in life" and "Discover your health." Those phrases may have seemed cliche a year ago, but with the whole world reeling from a global pandemic—one that is particularly lethal to our elders—they are a good reminder that health enables us to fully engage in life. And now that our health is collectively intertwined, it's also a good reminder of who and what we are protecting by practicing public health measures and working toward ending the pandemic.

Ads like this that resonate around the globe are the best, as they clearly touch on universal emotions and experiences. Even if you don't celebrate Christmas, the significance of creating a meaningful moment between multiple generations in a family is something we all can appreciate. And since millions of families will be missing out on such moments this year—with the hope that missing out on them now will ensure more of them in the future—seeing this story play out is just incredibly moving.

Danke schön, Jung von Matt.

Images courtesy of Mark Storhaug & Kaiya Bates

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The experiences we have at school tend to stay with us throughout our lives. It's an impactful time where small acts of kindness, encouragement, and inspiration go a long way.

Schools, classrooms, and teachers that are welcoming and inclusive support students' development and help set them up for a positive and engaging path in life.

Here are three of our favorite everyday actions that are spreading kindness on campus in a big way:

Image courtesy of Mark Storhaug

1. Pickleball to Get Fifth Graders Moving

Mark Storhaug is a 5th grade teacher at Kingsley Elementary in Los Angeles, who wants to use pickleball to get his students "moving on the playground again after 15 months of being Zombies learning at home."

Pickleball is a paddle ball sport that mixes elements of badminton, table tennis, and tennis, where two or four players use solid paddles to hit a perforated plastic ball over a net. It's as simple as that.

Kingsley Elementary is in a low-income neighborhood where outdoor spaces where kids can move around are minimal. Mark's goal is to get two or three pickleball courts set up in the schoolyard and have kids join in on what's quickly becoming a national craze. Mark hopes that pickleball will promote movement and teamwork for all his students. He aims to take advantage of the 20-minute physical education time allotted each day to introduce the game to his students.

Help Mark get his students outside, exercising, learning to cooperate, and having fun by donating to his GoFundMe.

Image courtesy of Kaiya Bates

2. Staying C.A.L.M: Regulation Kits for Kids

According to the WHO around 280 million people worldwide suffer from depression. In the US, 1 in 5 adults experience mental illness and 1 in 20 experience severe mental illness, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

Kaiya Bates, who was recently crowned Miss Tri-Cities Outstanding Teen for 2022, is one of those people, and has endured severe anxiety, depression, and selective mutism for most of her life.

Through her GoFundMe, Kaiya aims to use her "knowledge to inspire and help others through their mental health journey and to spread positive and factual awareness."

She's put together regulation kits (that she's used herself) for teachers to use with students who are experiencing stress and anxiety. Each "CALM-ing" kit includes a two-minute timer, fidget toolboxes, storage crates, breathing spheres, art supplies and more.

Kaiya's GoFundMe goal is to send a kit to every teacher in every school in the Pasco School District in Washington where she lives.

To help Kaiya achieve her goal, visit Staying C.A.L.M: Regulation Kits for Kids.

Image courtesy of Julie Tarman

3. Library for a high school heritage Spanish class

Julie Tarman is a high school Spanish teacher in Sacramento, California, who hopes to raise enough money to create a Spanish language class library.

The school is in a low-income area, and although her students come from Spanish-speaking homes, they need help building their fluency, confidence, and vocabulary through reading Spanish language books that will actually interest them.

Julie believes that creating a library that affirms her students' cultural heritage will allow them to discover the joy of reading, learn new things about the world, and be supported in their academic futures.

To support Julie's GoFundMe, visit Library for a high school heritage Spanish class.

Do YOU have an idea for a fundraiser that could make a difference? Upworthy and GoFundMe are celebrating ideas that make the world a better, kinder place. Visit upworthy.com/kindness to join the largest collaboration for human kindness in history and start your own GoFundMe.

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4 minutes of silence can boost your empathy for others. Watch as refugees try it out.

We could all benefit from breaking down some of the walls in our lives.

Images via Amnesty Poland

This article originally appeared on 05.26.16


You'd be hard-pressed to find a place on Earth with more wall-based symbolism than Berlin, Germany.

But there, in the heart of Germany's capital city, strangers sat across from one another, staring into each other's eyes. To the uninitiated, it may look as though you've witnessed some sort of icy standoff. The truth, however, couldn't be more different.

This was about tearing down walls between people.

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When a pet is admitted to a shelter it can be a traumatizing experience. Many are afraid of their new surroundings and are far from comfortable showing off their unique personalities. The problem is that's when many of them have their photos taken to appear in online searches.

Chewy, the pet retailer who has dedicated themselves to supporting shelters and rescues throughout the country, recognized the important work of a couple in Tampa, FL who have been taking professional photos of shelter pets to help get them adopted.

"If it's a photo of a scared animal, most people, subconsciously or even consciously, are going to skip over it," pet photographer Adam Goldberg says. "They can't visualize that dog in their home."

Adam realized the importance of quality shelter photos while working as a social media specialist for the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"The photos were taken top-down so you couldn't see the size of the pet, and the flash would create these red eyes," he recalls. "Sometimes [volunteers] would shoot the photos through the chain-link fences."

That's why Adam and his wife, Mary, have spent much of their free time over the past five years photographing over 1,200 shelter animals to show off their unique personalities to potential adoptive families. The Goldbergs' wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Shelter Pet Photographer."