We’re used to thinking of Santa Claus as the jolly, energetic, loving man who spreads Christmas cheer and fulfills children’s wishes. But what would Christmas be like if jolly old St. Nick wasn’t so jolly?
Created by the organization to show how devastating Alzheimer’s can be, the animation features a little girl named Freya who is saddened to learn the reason Santa is no longer doing his job.
“Christmas wasn’t as magical as it used to be. Someone was missing,” the story goes.
Turns out, Santa has developed Alzheimer’s. He first started mixing up presents and names and then became sad and afraid. Things got worse with each passing Christmas.
The girl goes to Santa’s elves for help, because “If Santa has a disease, research could find a way to fix it.”
While the ad might not be very uplifting this holiday season, it does share an important message.
“Santa is an important cultural figure, but the idea that he too could be affected drives home the point that dementia can strike those most special in our lives,” Hilary Evans, the chief executive of Alzheimer’s Research UK, said in a statement.
With more than 5 million Americans estimated to be living with the memory-robbing disease ― and with it being one of the top causes of death in the U.S. ― it’s a message we all need to hear.