One of the easiest ways to entertain the family is taking them for a drive to see the Christmas lights around the Valley. (Lexi Bainas/Citizen file)

Lexi Bainas Column: It’s time for traditions: celebrate your old holiday favourites and make new ones

Christmas cards, decorated houses, carol singing, and more this week

Do you still send Christmas cards? I haven’t done so for years, and, from the looks of my mailbox, most of my acquaintances have also dropped the practice.

But, I have to admit that something is lost without the excitement of getting mail from my friends at least every other day at this time of year.

I used to spend a lot of time agonizing over which box of cards I should buy: would it be the package featuring a single elegant card so it would be my signature for the year, or a mixed box so I could fit the card to the recipient?

The designs, too. So many choices, so little time. Neat and tidy, screechingly modern or cozily traditional, funny or serious?

I admit I personally like outdoor scenes, with plenty of snow, and even the occasional coach and horses. But what I’ve always enjoyed receiving is something with a little glitter. Decisions, decisions.

My final choice was frequently a big, colourful box featuring Christmas cards of all sizes and types.

Do you know, writing about them has reignited my interest. I think I’ll pick up a boxful on the way home and re-establish an old Christmas tradition.

***

I’ve just received a last-minute note from Eric Monk that his daughter, Kathy White’s Island Highland Dance Academy is celebrating the end of its 40th anniversary year with a Celtic Christmas Show at the Christian Reformed Church on Friday, Dec. 7, starting at 7 p.m.

Special guests are the Cowichan Pipes & Drums!

Tickets are $15 for adults and $12 for seniors and students. Go get ‘em!

***

Phil Newns, one of the Valley’s musical stalwarts, has handed me a note, reminding me that the Fifth Annual Cobble Hill Christmas Variety Show is scheduled for Sunday, Dec. 9, starting at 2 p.m.

What better place for an old fashioned family Christmas event than the historic Cobble Hill Hall, where so many people have shared the warmth of the season over the years?

With entertainment organized by Brenda’s Brats, refreshments, and Santa Claus, it’s hard to beat.

Entry is by donation to the food bank.

***

Pal, Katie Daniel has attached a sprig of holly to her note this month.

“Here’s what coming our way at Imagine That! Island Artisans’ Designs celebrates its 25th year by proudly showcasing the work of selected artists during the holiday shopping season. In our main window, you will see the finest hand-made work from Vancouver Island, and some of our adjacent islands. The craftsmanship, the diversity, the beauty, the practicality — all are hallmarks of the work hosted at Imagine That! in downtown Duncan. Made from the heart!”

It runs from Nov. 30 to Feb. 3, 2019.

“Then, from Dec. 4 to Jan. 4, there’s Artworks from Providence Farm, on Tzouhalem Road near Duncan, provides a variety of innovative programs for individuals with mental health, brain injury, dementia and developmental challenges. Programs include horticultural therapy, art, woodworking, nutrition, gardening, landscaping and textiles. Imagine That! is proud to host work created by their program participants in our boutique window this December.”

***

Just received an amazing note from Eleanor Montour, a ticket volunteer with Chemainus Classical Concerts.

“Just to let you know: the Dec. 16 concert in Chemainus is completely sold out. There are four choirs performing in it, and of course everybody has family and friends who want to attend. I had to pull all the tickets from the outlets a week ago to accommodate the choir members’ requests. These choirs are always popular, but we’ve never had this happen before. Of course we’re happy to have the ticket sales go so well, but do apologize to our loyal audience members who would have liked to come to this concert,” she says.

***

Are you stuck without somewhere to go on a Sunday afternoon? Ryan Oliver’s Organ Trio returns to the Jazz lineup at Pat’s House of Jazz in Crofton on Dec. 9 and divas Maria Manna, Maureen Washington and April Gislason salute The Ladies of Jazz on Dec. 16.

Get your jazz fix at 2 p.m. at Osborne Bay Pub. Call 250-324-2245 for more information.

***

Woody Reimer has just reminded me that it’s almost time for Fairbridge Carols 2018.

On Saturday, Dec. 15 at 2 p.m., you can enjoy the New Life Church Worship Band, directed by Alana Robinson, and the Freedom Gospel Choir, directed by Ann Antonides. Also on the program are: the Fairbridge Kids Christmas Singers, special music by neighbours and friends, and some sing-along carols.

Admission is by donation with proceeds going to the Freedom Gospel Choir and the Fairbridge Chapel Heritage Society but attendees are also asked to bring a non-perishable grocery item for the Cowichan Valley Food Bank. Refreshments following the concert are provided by the Fairbridge strata.

***

And while we’re talking about art and Christmas, many, many local holiday artists are outside these days putting the finishing touches on their decorations.

In the past week or so, I’ve seen lots of ladders out, and lights draped all over trees while eager families decide how they are going to hang them. In my own neighbourhood, one gal had her stuff started just after Halloween. She was the early bird but others stepped up as December approached.

I love driving around at night and seeing the results of all this labour. You can see them in every community.

We want to know about them, too. Be sure to contact editor@cowichanvalleycitizen.com or message us on the Cowichan Valley Citizen Facebook page to tell us about fabulous sights to see or even your over-the-top Christmas displays so we can let everybody know.

There’s no point in putting it all up if no one sees it, after all.



lexi.bainas@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

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