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How do grocers get into the holiday spirit?

From pop-ups to parties, here's how grocers were spreading holiday cheer

There was no shortage of holiday cheer in Canadian grocery stores this year.

Supermarkets across the country surprised and delighted customers with everything from pop-ups to presents.

Here are just a few campaigns we took note of:

The Overwaitea chain hid gift cards in select Christmas trees at all its Save-On-Foods stores. Each envelope contained two gift cards – one for the shopper, and one for a recipient of their choosing. The B.C.-based chain has been sharing stories about how its customers have paid it forward on its Facebook page. One customer, for example, gave a gift card to a single parent resource centre. Another brought her two sons to downtown Kamloops and gave it to a homeless man.

At Toronto’s Santa Claus Parade last month, Metro displayed a 15-ft “tree” built with layers of canned goods. Attendees could contribute a can to the Sharing Tree along with a holiday message. The Metro Sharing Tree kicked off the retailer’s “Let’s Share the Holidays” campaign which included promotions, in-store and online activations. On the social side, from December 15 to 31, each time Metro’s Sharing Tree video was shared or liked on social media using the hashtag #myholidaysandmymetro, Metro Ontario will donate $1 to a community food program.

Shoppers were treated to a surprise serenade at Farm Boy’s Train Yards store in Ottawa. On Nov. 8, 11 members of the Kenyan Boys’ Choir broke into spontaneous song to the delight of shoppers. The choir came into the store before opening to rehearse, and then situated themselves in the produce and grocery aisles dressed as customers and employees.

Sobeys was all about helping its shoppers in the kitchen this holiday season. The retailer posted dozens of tips and tricks for holiday cooking, including recipes and instructional YouTube videos for hazelnut meringue cookies and cinnamon sugar donuts. A video series dubbed #Roastmas featured celebrity Jamie Oliver taking some novice roasters – Canadian musicians Kathleen Kathleen Edwards, Rich Aucoin, and Hannah Georgas - through a holiday practice run, with roast chicken standing in as a trial turkey.

Loblaw was firing on all cylinders this year when it came to holiday celebrations. First, it opened a pop-up shop in downtown Toronto with four whimsical rooms highlighting products from the new PC Insiders Collection. Secondly, as an extension of its #welovefood campaign from Thansksgiving, Loblaw released a new four-minute video where three daughters plan a surprise meal for their parents. Finally, the store opened a life-sized gingerbread house in its Maple Leaf Gardens’ location. Talk about going all out.

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