WestJet’s 2016 Christmas miracle video featuring Fort McMurray wildfire victims will melt your heart
WestJet is a Canadian airline that creates a special holiday advertisement every year as a part of their Christmas Miracle series. This time, for their fifth annual video, they wanted to do something especially significant for the community; so they decided to center the film on 1,000 Fort McMurray wildfire victims.
Fort McMurray is located in northeast Alberta, in the middle of the Athabasca oil sands, surrounded by boreal forest. In May 2016, a severe wildfire caused widespread damage and led to the evacuation of its residents.
This year, we wanted Christmas to mean just a little bit more for the residents of Fort McMurray. We were at the airport the day the fire hit town, and several WestJetters also lost their homes. This year’s Christmas miracle was an opportunity for WestJet to do what we do best – help connect a community, celebrate the season and bring a smile to peoples faces, said Richard Bartrem, WestJet Vice-President, Marketing Communications.
The short film called Christmas Miracle: Fort McMurray Strong tells the story of how WestJet created a magical experience for those residents still dealing with the trauma of the mass evacuation and fire. The company organized a Snowflake Soirée on November 26th for the afflicted families, at the Fort McMurray’s MacDonald Island Park. After food, photoshoots, and music, employees surprised the guests with personalized gifts. Seven families were even presented with heartwarming presents from WestJet, who heard the families’ stories. These included an heirloom watch from the Second World War, a special snowboard and a childhood book with an encouraging message.