CORRECTION, Nov. 28, 2023: An eight-track tape player is seen in the commercial. An earlier version of this article said it was a different type of device.
Every Christmas, it seems the world gets more determined to do away with the traditions that held us together as a nation.
But one car company has consistently rejected that push, putting out ads that remind us of the strength and goodness of the generations that went before us.
As one of the country’s most enduring automakers, Chevrolet has become indelibly tied to American history and culture over the past century. Founded in 1911, the company is now over 110 years old. Chevy Bel Airs, pickup trucks, and others have rolled across nearly every small town and highway that expanded alongside 20th-century America, and the sight of them elicits nostalgia for “the good old days” of industry and freedom of the open road.
Unlike other brands that have embraced “wokeness” in their advertising, Chevy clothes itself in its history.
In 2021, Chevy put out a much-loved commercial about a daughter who helps restore her mother’s Chevy to help her widowed father overcome his grief at her loss.
Anyone who needs Christmas fuzzies, watch my friend @graingerhines in this beautiful ad. RT @chevrolet: It’s more than a #Chevy, it’s a connection to what we love. Watch the warmth of the holidays unfold in our new story. https://t.co/fz60g1CEVl pic.twitter.com/YjFtr8md6Y
— Taylor Loeb (@tLoebLookout) December 23, 2021
In 2022, the commercial featured a war widow who helps out a young neighborhood boy and his pregnant wife in her Chevy and is, in return, helped by him many years later in his newer model Chevy.
This year’s Christmas commercial shows the story of an older woman lost in the fog of Alzheimer’s and a young granddaughter who cares enough to give her one more Christmas by taking her on a ride down memory lane in her old Chevy Suburban.
With John Denver’s “Sunshine on My Shoulders” playing on the old eight-track player, they drive past the house where the older woman was born, the high school where she met her husband and the drive-in theater where they had their first kiss. Slowly, the old woman remembers and returns to the real world back into the arms of her waiting husband and family.
The comments on Chevy’s YouTube reveal how much people connected with this commercial, not just with the nostalgia, but with the real sorrow of losing a parent or grandparent and the pain of seeing someone taken by the ravages of Alzheimer’s or dementia.
“A couple of days ago I held my Grandmother’s hand as she passed away. We are both huge John Denver fans and this is my favorite song of his. I played this song for her as I held her. This felt like such a clear sign, it feels like a warm [hug] and I am crying bittersweet tears,” one YouTube comment read.
“I haven’t sobbed like that since my mom passed away 3.5 years ago. She loved John Denver. This may be advertisement/marketing, but superbly done. So many families are living in this reality, and cherish the days where their loved ones are ‘there,” another comment said.
This year’s commercial also meaningfully incorporated Alzheimer’s disease into this year’s Christmas ad storyline. As Alzheimer’s increasingly impacts American families — currently afflicting over 6 million individuals nationwide — the automaker’s decision mirrors a growing reality that many Americans can relate to.
“My mom passed away three years ago after living with Alzheimer’s for 13 years. A very real and emotional commercial. People living with Alzheimer’s are still alive and do have good days and bad, but we need to still treat each one like the granddaughter did. There are memories still inside and when we take time to be with them and share those memories, good days come out. Thank you, Chevrolet. I need some Kleenex!” one YouTube commenter wrote.
By thoughtfully addressing Alzheimer’s in its storyline, Chevrolet reaffirmed its commitment to being a steadfast companion on the roads ahead, however uncertain.
But the heartwarming commercial also reminded us that love and family, like God’s grace and mercy, do not end.
Although our life is fragile and passes like an instant — if we do the journey right — we leave a legacy of love and memories in the lives of those we leave behind.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.