The art of giving is rarely honed and crafted to such collaborative altruistic tenor, as it is at Christmas. Tis’ a true wonder to behold: this call to action that nourishes a restorative faith in mankind. What invokes this stirring spirit of benevolence? Maybe it’s the spices in our drinks, the extra butter and cream in our foods, or the customary carols that transpose us back to our warmest childhood memories… or maybe it’s simply the feeling of Christmas that inspires us so. The feeling of Christmas, like pollen dispersed by a field of winter roses, is the dander of the very idea, meaning and tradition of Christmas. It covers all things in a blanket of fuzzy tenderness and beauty, under which we are snug, sheltered and loved.
Despite the frostiness of the global economy, people within the community are warming up by supporting local businesses, volunteering, and participating in charitable causes like Toys for Tots to Teens. This year, Toys for Tots, hosted by the Penticton Lakeside Resort, successfully met the growing demand for gifts with the help of non-profit organizations like the Salvation Army and with the assistance of generous businesses like Canadian Tire and contributions from the City of Penticton. Live Christmas music festively filled the air, while children’s choirs from Columbia and Uplands Elementary Schools sang with heartbreaking devote conviction following weeks of preparation. As each child extended themselves to present individual gifts over the Rotary, smiling from ear to ear with budding humility in recognition of good deeds done, an overflow of Christmas spirit pervaded. The scene, in all its munificent splendour, conjured historical sentiments seemingly lost to generations past that embraced an open door philosophy which didn’t require us to lock our doors. It reminded us of a simpler time: when communities centered more on family values, familiarity, reciprocity and friendship rather than enterprise and capitalism. Toys for Tots has become the cardinal event of the year, where the jovially-spoken slogan, “Merry Christmas” is echoed among the crowds with good will and true holiday cheer. This year, the event saw volunteers from all spectrums of our local community, (Starbucks, Quality Greens, Summerland Realty, Critteraid, Kinettes, Penticton Self-Storage, White Kennedy and Penticton Lakeside staff and family) working as hard as Santa’s elves on Christmas Eve, to package and bag gifts in joint jubilee for those less fortunate.
Of course, the season of giving does not stop there. The Penticton Lakeside Resort hosted a complimentary “picture with Santa” this past weekend, which saw handfuls of wide-eyed children lost in rapture, experience the iconic man himself, with the photo to prove it! Set among an authentic backdrop of antiquated tapestries in the Lakeside’s front lobby, Santa Claus, all clad in traditional red and white, sat atop a bona fide Victorian sleigh, alight with glittering Christmas cheer: a true hallmark on the holiday agenda. And now we must turn to the next events that fill the advent calendar: December 18th, the Christmas Community Market and the Artists Lobby Gallery are coming to the Penticton Lakeside Resort, inspiring yet another reason to get dressed up in festive finery and enjoy the delights of the season!
This Christmas, there is so much to cherish, love and experience in Penticton, so get out there and snuggle up together, under that warm Christmas blanket of fuzzy tenderness, beauty and love.