Macleod: Community events are a holiday tradition |

Macleod: Community events are a holiday tradition

Santa visits children at the Annual Fraser Valley Lions Club’s Festival of Trees.
Photo Courtesy of Tyler Macleod |

I’ve been struggling to get into the holiday spirit the past few years.

Prior to moving out west, I grew accustomed to the 23 years of family traditions that made each holiday season so special. Simple things like piling up in the family car to go cut down the perfect Christmas tree or heading out with my mom on Black Friday to cross off a few gifts (but mostly just to enjoy watching the “crazies” as she called them) are now just memories.

Nostalgia has always been a blessing and a curse for me, and in an attempt to battle my Christmas blues, I decided this would be the year I started making my own traditions.

It began last month when I checked out the 18th Annual Holiday Artisan Fair at the Grand Park Community RecreationCenter.

When I was a kid, my mom would always take me and my siblings to the church’s annual Christmas Bazaar (which seemed like a bizarre name for where I’d get to see Santa), so this event had the potential to be a trip down good old memory lane. There were over 50 vendors selling everything from handmade ornaments to custom saddles and cookie recipes to handcrafted bottle openers. There was even someone selling homemade pies – of both the sweet and pot-pie variety.

With so much going on, I took my time moseying around to each table, checking out all there was to offer. I felt like a little kid again as I scoped out a massive spread of candy while the comforting carols of Nat King Cole played over the radio. Even Santa was there to get a head start on the kids’ Christmas lists. It was, as the classic song sings, “beginning to feel a lot like Christmas.”

Charged with a newfound spark of holiday cheer, I made it a point to check out the Fraser Valley Lions Club’s Festival of Trees just two weeks later. Held once again at the Grand Park Community Recreation Center, the annual event showcased over 30 trees, wreaths, menorahs and more in a silent auction to benefit local non-profit organizations.

While I couldn’t participate in sharing a few holiday beverages with everyone (I was also working, after all), it was still great to see so many familiar faces full of holiday enthusiasm. There were plenty of snacks, cookies and work-friendly drinks to fill my stomach, and I even caught another glimpse of jolly old Saint Nick – except this time he also brought Mrs. Claus along. Each tree I saw had its own personal charm and flare, making it extremely hard to pick a favorite from the bunch. It’s safe to say that none of the silent auction winners went home disappointed.

And I certainly didn’t leave disappointed either.

As I finished my shift at the rec center, watching as the Festival of Trees came to a close, I reflected on how comforting it is to be a part of such an inviting, close-knit community.

While I’ve left a number of traditions behind, I’m eager to continue growing into the new traditions I’ve found this year. Hope you all have a wonderful holiday season, and I’ll see you next month!

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