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Every holiday season, Canada's WestJet airlines finds a unique way to bring Christmas cheer to hundreds of unsuspecting families. Past "miracles" have included surprising weary travelers with iPods, fulfilling extravagant Christmas wishes from passengers aboard two late-night flights, and reuniting loved ones living in different countries for the holidays. In 2019, the company decided to let customers determine if they wanted to keep the generous gift being offered to them or donate it to a family in need.
WestJet's 2019 Christmas "miracle" event took place earlier this month inside a massive blue Santa hat-shaped tent set up in a busy holiday market in Toronto, Canada. Upon entering, visitors found a winter wonderland complete with free hot cocoa, a giant snow globe, snow, and Christmas trees. As families were exploring, a blue Santa hologram suddenly appeared on the horizon. After greeting each of them by name, he encouraged them to pick one of the several gift boxes placed under the trees.
As soon as the visitor picked a box, its contents — which ranged from two round trip tickets to Europe to a weeklong beach vacation — were displayed on the screen. Santa then asked the excited recipients if they wished to keep the gifts or donate them to families at the Ronald McDonald House. As visitors pondered over their decision, an animated Ebeniza Scrooge (the lone descendant of Ebenezer Scrooge, according to WestJet) hologram popped up to try to convince them to keep their gift.
Visitors who decided to donate their presents had another surprise in store for them — an invite to spend a day with the children and their families at the local Ronald McDonald House. The special Christmas celebration included, among other things, a generous, real-life blue Santa who insisted they keep the presents he gave them.
Just like in previous years, the company shared a tear-jerking video from the events on YouTube on December 9, 2019. As Richard Bartrem, WestJet vice-president, Marketing Communications, succinctly said, “The conversation around giving and receiving is a powerful one, and this year’s video finds inspiration in both sides of the story. The authentic reactions and emotions made possible through these acts make this year’s Christmas Miracle truly heartwarming."