In a powerful remembrance to the true meaning of Christmas British chocolate maker Sainsbury’s has teamed up with the Royal British Legion for this year’s advertisement, and it’s enough to restore your faith in humanity (and maybe even ad executives). In 1914, during the darkest days of the Great War (now usually referred to as World War I), German and English soldiers tentatively emerged from their trenches, meeting in the middle of battlefields to exchange Christmas gifts and handshakes. This 3-minute video reminds us that, even when we fight, our shared humanity still has the power to bring us together – and that is a noble message.
If that didn’t move you to tears, well, you’re a tougher person than we are. But what really got us was this companion video, which explains the history behind the truce. All up and down the front line, German and British soldiers wrote letters home to their family, wondering at this “marvellous” Christmas miracle. These homesick soldiers told of Christmas trees, shared carols, and international gift exchanges of chocolate and tobacco. In some areas, the opposing armies even went head-to-head in holiday games of soccer.
You can hear the story in more detail here:
No matter how dark the hour, it’s events like these that remind us of the true meaning of Christmas. If you want to learn more about these extraordinary events, or are looking for the perfect gift for the veteran in your life, here are some books and movies they’ll love:
Truce: The Day the Soldiers Stopped Fighting, by Jim Murphy
Silent Night: The Story of the World War I Christmas Truce, by Stanley Weintraub
Christmas Truce: The Western Front December 1914 (Pan Grand Strategy Series), by Malcolm Brown and Shirley Seaton (unfortunately out of print, but you can still find used copies online)
Joyeux Noel, starring Diane Kruger and Benno Fürmann, directed by Christian Carion (In French, with subtitles)
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