What the restaurant chain hopes will inspire viewers with this year’s animated holiday film.
As the hectic holiday season gets underway and families dive into celebrations, the importance of slowing down and spending time together often gets lost.
Chick-fil-A wanted to find a way guests of all ages could enjoy the holidays together while bringing focus to a simple reminder this time of year: enjoy meaningful moments to connect with those around us.
“Our animated film series, The Stories of Evergreen Hills™, was created in the hopes of inspiring others to spend quality time together, reconnect with loved ones and take time to notice the needs of others,” said Dustin Britt, senior director of entertainment at Chick-fil-A, Inc.Platform Pricing Page
Going into its fourth year, the Stories of Evergreen Hills has become a highly anticipated holiday tradition for the company. “While each film has subtle nods to the history of Chick-fil-A that some eagle-eyed fans might notice, these films are about giving the gift of time and sharing messages of kindness and joy with our customers during the holidays,” said Britt.
Each year, the new story has built on the previous one, allowing viewers to get to know the characters more deeply and explore more of the whimsical wonderland of Evergreen Hills.
This year, “The Snow Globe” once again takes viewers on an adventure with the main character, Sam, a curious girl discovering valuable lessons about herself and those around her. “It has been incredible watching Sam grow year after year,” said Britt. “She understands the importance of having empathy for others and being generous with your time and attention.”
Storytelling with a purpose
While Chick-fil-A has always nurtured a strong connection with their guests, they recognized an opportunity to strengthen those relationships outside their restaurants in a fresh way. The idea? Uplifting short films that would engage viewers wherever they are, delivering meaningful messages through entertaining content.
“We have been encouraged and humbled by the response since the series started back in 2019,” said Britt. “Many viewers have reached out to share how the messages of each film have resonated with them.”
Each story has delivered heartfelt messages that are synonymous with helping others and showing kindness to those around us. “At a time when people could really use an extra dose of optimism, it’s been wonderful to see audiences engage with the films and spread some cheer just like our characters,” said Britt.
In response, customers have taken to social media sharing enthusiastic comments and asking for more stories. The experience has also extended beyond the screen with Evergreen-inspired books available in Chick-fil-A kid’s meals and even restaurant participation promoting the film.
While each of the films so far has been two minutes long, this year was worth the wait. “The Snow Globe” is the longest film in the series, running around seven minutes.
“Sam is such a special character and it’s been fun to evolve her story,” said Britt. “There was simply so much of it to tell, and the longer format allows the viewer to spend a little more time in the world of Evergreen Hills. Now, people can get more invested in the story.”
Getting to know Sam
The world first met Sam, the hero and protagonist, back in 2019 in “The Time Shop.” In the animated short, she wants to make a snowman with her family, but they’re busy and distracted. After meeting some adorable cats, she finds an enchanted workshop where she learns the importance of giving the gift of time.
“’The Timekeeper teaches Sam that ‘together time’ is the best kind because it can make memories that last forever — but sometimes people need a little reminder,” said Britt. Chick-fil-A then invited guests to turn the on-screen story into real-life action. People could send a physical “time card” for free to anyone across the country and make a commitment to spend time together, with pledges ranging from baking cinnamon rolls together to going on a fishing trip.Firewall Pricing Page
Next, Sam returned in 2020 for a holiday season like no other in “The Spark.” When things seem a little off at her neighborhood’s tree lighting event, she returns to Evergreen Hills. There she visits a magical shop called SwitchWorks, where a “fliptrician” teaches her how to spark hope in those around her and light up her community.
Last year’s film offered another highly relatable tale called “The Whoopsery.” In it, Sam helps her friend CeCe who accidentally breaks a cherished family ornament. Together, they visit an over-the-top bakery that turns the broken ornament into an even better creation. “The intent of this film was to encourage people to embrace the unexpected and imperfect moments that are inevitable around the holidays, and to turn them into something wonderful,” said Britt.
This year, it was a natural progression of Sam’s character to bring her back and dig into the important relationships around her. “Our favorite character dynamic that has evolved is the sibling relationship between Sam and Zack. He is a very typical big brother —who often teases or ignores her — but this time, there are moments when he reassures and encourages her,” said Britt.
A new adventure begins
In “The Snow Globe,” Sam receives a special snow globe and discovers she has the rare gift of being able to see when people are in need. While the snow globe shows Sam who needs help, it is her compassion, courage and commitment that inspires her to take action. In lending a helping hand, she learns how the little things really do make a big difference.
The power of sharing feel-good stories like this has become a driving force for the company year-round, from restaurant team members appearing in commercials, to the animated world of Evergreen Hills.
“One thing we hope viewers take away is to not underestimate the impact they can have by doing something small, something kind or something selfless for someone else this season,” said Britt. “We hope they enjoy watching this film together — and feel inspired to spread a little kindness this holiday season.”