Sobeys came to dominate the Christmas commercial market twenty-nine years ago with the release of their ‘Star Of Christmas’ video. It kicked off the holiday season, always wedging itself firmly between A Garfield Christmas and A Charlie Brown Christmas, and probably again during commercial breaks of Bill Murray’s Scrooged, which we can’t be certain of because we were never allowed to stay up late enough to watch.
It was glorious in all of its sleigh bells, and fake snow, and poinsettias. It more than embodied the season – it represented the whole of the eighties. Poofy sleeves, awkward haircuts, and dorky glasses. Nobody looked cool in the eighties. David Bowie was the high water mark, and even then he was in competition with my mother for world’s largest shoulder pads. But somehow, ‘Star of Christmas’ became a staple of the holiday season in Atlantic Canada – growing what could even be described as a cult following, if that were possible for a commercial. It even made our list of East Coast Christmas Songs.
After it’s original inception in 1987, the jingle went on to become a classic sung by thousands of children across the Maritimes as part of the ‘Star of Christmas’ competition each Fall where they vied for one of the coveted spots on CD released each year. Because there was an annual CD released each year.
And although in the past few years, Sobey’s has opted for a more modern and fresh take on food, pairing up with celebrities like Chef Jamie Oliver and actress Stacey Farber to provide Canadians with a new look on how to prepare and enjoy their food, this year the national grocery chain inserted a sense of tradition back into their marketing with the reinvention of the ‘Star of Christmas’ jingle and commercial.
The new version does justice to the sense of community that Atlantic Canadians cherish this time of year. With bright seasonal colours depicted with produce, gingerbread houses, and décor, the seasonal flair is shining in the remake that passes on the torch to a new generation of post-millennials who will get to look back in thirty years to think, “What the heck was I wearing?” while still holding on to the warm feeling of Christmas, and community, and the inevitable barrage of holiday calories provided by the experience.
For information, please visit the customer service kiosk at your local Sobeys.