John Lewis move aside, Cork can do it even better.
This year's sensational Christmas advert from Ballygarvan-based family business The Pavilion garden centre and café will have you wiping your eyes.
The advert tells the heartwarming story of one granny and granddaughter’s Christmas Eve and stars long-time Cork Theatre actor Berna Gordon,presenter Frank Twomey, and Lucy McGuirk, aged 10, from Glasheen.
It’s Lucy’s first time appearing on screen — though she has been studying drama with Shirley McCarthy since she was in senior infants.
The Pavilion’s advert, filmed on location in Douglas by Cork-based Dog Day Media, sees Lucy and her grandmother preparing the house for Christmas. But excited as granny is, there’s one thing missing: her older brother, Frank, whom she has not seen for two years thanks to lockdowns and Covid-19 restrictions.
But Lucy, who is seen helping her granny pick out her outfit, set the table, and get the Christmas lights in order, has another trick up her sleeve… she has secretly planned for Uncle Frank to travel to Cork to spend Christmas with his sister this year.
As family arrives and presents are exchanged, Lucy shares a knowing smile with her granny as the doorbell unexpectedly rings and her brother Frank arrives. The best gift of all.
The star of the advert, Glasheen’s Lucy McGuirk, said her favourite thing about Christmas is when everyone “gets together.” And the advert hit close to home for her as she too was missing loved ones from the Christmas table last year and said she is excited to have her granny, granddad, uncle, and auntie back for dinner this year.
Lucy, who is in fourth class in Gaelscoil Ui Riada in Wilton, said she was waiting until tonight to write her letter to Santa Claus for Christmas as the Toy Show might throw up some ideas.
Lucy’s mum, Dorene, says her daughter landed the gig after Shirley McCarthy notified them of the role.
“She asked Lucy to record a 30-second video about how we didn’t have Christmas last year and how much we’re looking forward to Christmas this year. Shirley sent it to the Pavilion and they selected her... it was probably her facial expressions!”
Lucy’s mum said the family, like many of us, didn’t celebrate Christmas in their usual way last year, and her daughter is "really looking forward to it" this year.
For now, Hollywood’s big lights aren’t calling Lucy’s name as the 10-year-old said the acting is “just for fun". Plus, she’s busy winning gold medals in running, playing camogie, football and tennis too.
Charlie O’Leary of The Pavilion said the business wanted to end the year on a positive note with a message of gratitude and hope: "Gratitude for the people who matter to us and hope that the year ahead will be brighter for us all.
"As a local Cork family business, we feel tremendous gratitude to our customers who supported us while we navigated an unfamiliar path and we sincerely wish all of our customers a very happy, healthy and peaceful family Christmas this year.”