Chirstmas Memories

Members of the Hope community share their best, happiest or funniest holiday memories

Christmas growing up in Nova Scotia was always a magical time. I remember one particular holiday when my brother and I were determined to stay up all night and debunk this Santa theory for real. We had our theories that this burly night visitor didn’t exist but there was still a shred of faith. To keep us up all night w decided to play a card game called war, which if played correctly is never-ending, perfect for an all night christmas eve stakeout. We had the perfect vantage and after a couple of hours sure enough mom drove into the driveway and proceeded to unload christmas presents, which we were sure came from grammies house. Satisfied we tucked into bed ready to open them the next morning. Christmas morning came and we went downstairs to find a present we hadn’t noticed coming from the back of moms car. It was a big box that was shaking which confused us of course. It fell over and out flopped a wonderful full of energy puppy. My brother and I looked at each other in disbelief and we both knew our operation was inconclusive, maybe there was something to this Santa Claus after all.

Nat Baker,

Baker’s Books


My best memories of Christmas are being with family and friends, listening to the various stories and laughter and hugs that resulted from the various festive occasions.

Reminiscing about past Christmas’ and other family and friends stories are also an important part of the season.

So to find “one” Christmas that stands out the most, I can’t, they are all special in their own way.

I would like to wish everyone a “Merry Christmas” or a “Happy Holiday” which ever you prefer; just, be Happy, Healthy and Safe

Terry Raymond

Electoral Area A director


Faith, family, friends and food are the hallmarks of my Christmas memories and traditions.

Our family gathering always includes an original poem, written and read by my Dad in the style of ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas, in which he mentions each family member and something significant that we have experienced during the year. He always gets choked up when he tries to read the verse about my mom.

As Lisa’s family is in the Calgary area, we usually make a road trip to Alberta during the holidays and get to spend some quality time enjoying the snow, great food, and reconnecting with family that we don’t get to see as often as we’d like. ‎It’s always tough to leave.

At our extended Strahl family gathering, my Uncle Gary reads the story of the Birth of Christ from the book of Luke, and we sing Christmas carols together afterwards.

Our Bateman family gatherings are legendary for the abundance and variety of food, especially desserts, and an ever growing group of great grandchildren for my grandparents to feed and love.

I can’t wait to make more memories at our family gatherings this year, and wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Mark Strahl

MP Chilliwack Fraser Canyon


It may be a little cheesy because we work up there, but every Christmas eve since I was a kid, my family has been up at Manning Park to attend the Torchlight Parade. Before I was able to ski, I would watch with my mom from the bottom, and it was such an exciting occasion when I was finally old enough to take part in it.

My family, and the staff from the ski hill, many of them from different parts of the world, all at Manning for the season and away from their families for Christmas for the first time, we all load up the Blue Chair in silent, starry darkness and ride up to the top.

Then we ski down with our bamboo lit with road flares to the cheers of the guests awaiting at the bottom.

My dad sets off the fireworks and my mom cajoles everyone into singing “We Wish You a Merry Christmas.”

Santa makes his appearance, skiing or snowboarding, or depending on his skill level, he rides a skidoo down to greet all the kids and hear their last-minute requests for presents before he heads off to work for the night.

We’ve done it every year since I can remember (minus the year my mom broke her wrist in the parking lot and we spent it in the emerg ward instead) but the specialness of the night never gets old!

I’ve included a picture of how pretty it is, because “road flares” don’t sound as magical as it actually looks!

Robyn Barker

Manning Park Resort


They say “kids say the darnedest things” and that is so very true. Many moments become warm and forever memories when working with our youngest library patrons.

One of my first Christmases at the library, a little guy came in and was mesmerized by the decorations hanging from the ceiling at the desk. He told me that he thought they were pretty … and then he spotted the fire sprinkler. He asked me what it was and I replied that if there was a fire in the library, the sprinkler would squirt out water and make everything wet and that would put out the fire. He looked at me and then the sprinkler and then again at me. You could see him thinking very seriously about this. His mom and I waited. And after a long pause, he said, “You could wear gum boots.”

Deb Ireland, Library Supervisor

Fraser Valley Regional Library – Hope Library


Christmas, such a busy time at the post office. People don’t send as many Christmas cards but more people do their shopping online so we still handle lots and lots of parcels.

There is one thing that remains constant though, children still write letters to Santa at the North Pole HOH OHO. And Santa’s little elves at the post office respond to each and every letter. (hopefully there is a return address). Since 1982 Santa’s elves have responded to 21.8 million letters. (Elaine herself started work at the post office in 1982 as well)

It is always entertaining and delightful to read the words of the young ones. You can’t help but smile and feel the magic of Christmas. One year Santa was so popular that the elves ran out of letters. This created quite a predicament for one local family who were travelling abroad for the Christmas break. Two young girls were going to be devastated if they didn’t receive a response. The elves worked extra hard, and when their supply of letters was replenished two letters travelled overseas and arrived before Santa himself. These girls are grown up now and according to their father, these special letters from Santa are safely tucked away with their favourite things.

Each year there seems to be that one letter that has an impact on the staff.

Many years ago we received a letter from a young girl whose dad had passed away unexpectedly earlier in the year. She asked for nothing other than to ask Santa if her dad was doing okay, and if he could watch out for him. Santa’s elves at the post office do their best to make each letter special, and nobody knew quite what to do with this young girl’s letter.  I phoned the mother and asked her if she knew her daughter had written to Santa. This was news to her, so we read the letter and sought her guidance in what words “Santa” should reply. Santa obliged and the young girl got a special letter  that year. When Christmas Eve came and it was time to leave work, I took the letter and delivered it to her mom. Words weren’t necessary as we gave each other a hug and ignored the tears rolling down our cheeks. They no longer live in Hope, but each year when the Santa letters arrive I cannot help but think of this family and hope they are doing well.

Elaine Lawton

Canada Post employee


My cousin Aaron Volpatti just played his first NHL game for the Vancouver Canucks so I went out and bought Canuck shirts for the entire family and got Aaron’s name and number on the back.  The family was thrilled but my wife was even more excited to find an engagement ring at the bottom of her stocking!

Dave Mawhinney

from the Silver Chalice


I spent much of my childhood anticipating Christmas. We’d saw off a lopsided tree in the bush, which Dad would fix by drilling holes in the trunk with his old hand drill and inserting branches.  There were school parties and a big children’s program at church, followed by long-awaited candy bags – but especially there were presents.  We combed the Eatons and Sears catalogues for months and laid under the blinking lights of the Christmas tree for hours; speculating, shaking packages and trying to read through the wrapping.

Christmas Eve would start with our favourite meal, Kentucky Fried Chicken.  Mom and Dad methodically washed the dishes and tidied up, then read the Christmas story, by which time we were almost mad with excitement.  Finally Mom would hand out the gifts and we all had to watch each one be opened and share their joy, whether feigned or real.

True, we seldom got exactly what we wanted, but it was a magical time nevertheless.  It was about so much more than material things, it was about a secure family, the ideal of the Christ child, the love of parents and a cease-fire between siblings.  It was all very special.

I wish, so much, that every kid in BC this Christmas will enjoy a little of what I did.

Laurie Throness,

MLA, Chilliwack-Hope


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