what's new

Thursday, November 23, 2023

The Holiday Season Starts with the Eat'n Park Christmas Star Commercial

It’s that time of year...time for our Christmas Star commercial! Every year, we are moved by the comments we hear about this classic spot. Many of you have told us that it is what gets you in the holiday spirit, and that it reminds you of what the holidays are all about. We’ve even heard the commercial has been referenced in Christmas Eve sermons! 

Retelling the story of the “Christmas Star” has become an annual tradition for us, kind of like reading “The Night Before Christmas” for many families. So just how did this classic come to be? 

It all started in early 1982. Eat’n Park was just beginning to blossom into the family restaurant chain you’re now familiar with, and the company was prospering. Our CEO at the time, Jim Broadhurst, wanted to create a holiday card on video to thank the city of Pittsburgh for their support of Eat’n Park and our Caring for Kids campaign for local children’s hospitals, which at the time, was just a few years old. 

So, Jim tasked Ketchum, our ad agency at the time, with creating a message that would “last for 20 years.” Easy, right? Craig Otto, then a young art director, and Cathy Bowen, a fledgling copywriter at the time, led the project. The pair worked for 3 weeks to generate over 30 ideas, none of which were met with approval. Eventually, they hit upon the idea of an animated commercial, but they still weren’t sure where they were going with it. 

One Sunday shortly thereafter, Craig decided to come into the office. He sketched out a star, a traditional holiday image, and then stopped. “How does the star get to the top of the tree?” He played around with a few ideas until deciding that, of course, the star would need some help from the tree itself. In a fateful coincidence, Cathy had also decided to come into the office that Sunday. So, while Craig worked out the illustrations, Cathy devised a simple, yet perfect sentiment to wrap up the commercial. 

Jim immediately loved the spot, and a timeless classic was born. Even better, the commercial has outlasted his original expectations. The idea of the relationship between the tree and the star illustrates an enduring holiday lesson – by helping one another, you’re making the world a brighter place. 

So, from everyone here at Eat’n Park, here’s hoping the special lift you get this holiday season lasts all year long! 

Read on to see when it will be airing on TV in the Pittsburgh area!   


  • Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade – November 23, 9AM 
  • National Dog Show (Encore) – November 25, 9PM 
  • Christmas at Rockefeller Center – November 29, 8PM 
  • Christmas at Graceland – November 29, 10PM 
  • SNL Christmas Special – December 14, 8PM 
  • Shrek the Halls & Trolls Holiday – December 16, 8PM 
  • It’s a Wonderful Life – December 24, 8PM 


  • Wonderful World of Disney Magical Holiday Celebration – Nov. 26, 8 PM 
  • Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town – December 12, 8PM 
  • Disney Prep & Landing 1 & 2 – December 19, 9PM 
  • Santa Claus is Coming’ to Town – December 21 8:30PM 
  • The Great Christmas Light Fight – December 21, 9PM 
  • Disney Christmas Celebration – December 25, 10AM 


  • Thanksgiving Day Parade – November 23, 9AM 
  • Rudolph – November 24, 9PM 
  • Frosty & Frosty Returns – December 16, 9 PM 
  • A Christmas Proposal – December 24, 9PM 


  • 25 Days of Christmas – Various programming, November 27 – December 24  


  • Countdown to Christmas – Various programming, November 25 – December 24 


  • 24 Hours of A Christmas Story – December 24 & 25 


No comments: